It happens every once in a while…you meet and take care of a patient who just steals your heart. There’s something about him or her that makes that long shift fly by and your job seem worthwhile. He or she reminds you of why we do what we do. Here are three patients I recently fell in love with…platonically speaking, of course:
The Humble Octogenarian
That patient who says they’re 80+, but they look, act and even feel like they’re in their 60s (or even 50s). They are stoic, independent, have minimal diseases or challenges and have figured out how to stave off Father Time like nobody’s business. They are more active and function at a higher capacity than most of the people you come across in and outside of work. They don’t quite understand how rare and special they are because, according to them, they’re just like everyone else. And the only reason they have come across your path is by pure accident.
The Appreciative One
That patient who not only recognizes your hard work and values the care you are giving, but actually will publicly show their appreciation every chance they get. It’s unfortunately a rare occurrence, but when it happens we blush with embarrassment because we’re just doing our jobs. Secretly, we are having a small party inside because the appreciation is often better than any monetary gift we could ever receive.
The patient who takes an active and aggressive role in their own care. They don’t want to just leave their health in the health care team’s hands–they want to dig in and contribute. Whenever they are given a task that will help them get better, and potentially get better faster, they take that responsibility on with such fervor that it becomes a borderline obsession. They are the poster child for what all patients should strive to emulate.
While these three patients are on the top of my list, there aren’t many patients who don’t steal my heart these days. What about you?