A member of B’s family recently had to undergo heart surgery. It was a very stressful time for the family and a very risky surgery. We went to visit them in the hospital prior to surgery and provide support. Love, donations, well wishes and prayers flooded a support website set up to keep friends and family informed.
On the day of surgery I could barely sit still in my cubicle, constantly checking the family’s support website, anxious for news. But I also couldn’t help but spend a lot of time thinking about surgeon holding the scalpel in the OR. She’s just a woman holding the power of life for the tiny body on the operating table. I know surgeons are equipped for the pressure, that they do this every single day, that it becomes like most other jobs in many ways. But I also know people like this women, know that they are human, they want to do the absolute best job that they can, but also have flaws. I know that patients want to spend time with their surgeons, get to know them. I know that surgeons face some tension with that: they care about their patients, and due to that care, they may prefer to keep a little more distance. So I spent a lot of that morning thinking about Dr. R, sending her good thoughts, hoping that the playlist was right in the OR, sending good energy her way.
Thankfully, the surgery went as planned and the patient is healing as well as one can hope. They will all need plenty of strength and resilience for the days ahead and I think about them all of the time.
Expectations on doctors are so high, and they are that high because we need them to complete gargantuan feats of science and medicine. And they do it every day. But behind those white coats are normal people, with wives and dogs, who take camping trips and love college football. So remember to send good thoughts, meditate, pray, whatever your school of thought, for them too.