Doctoring Reflection

Friday Reflection: A doctor’s antidote

The practice of Medicine has its ups and downs. Little about doctoring could be called steady, or controlled. There are cycles.

Sometimes, the negatives congeal together and even the most upbeat doctor tilts a little low.

But here’s the best part: patients nearly always cheer you up. It’s why I love the job so much.

In the EP lab, it feels good when a tachycardia terminates during a hard fought ablation, or when a pacing wire finally slithers into an impossibly narrow, s-shaped vein in the heart. These are “Yessss” moments.

But even better than these sensations is seeing that laboratory triumphs make real people feel better. The AF-ablation patient who tells me that he hasn’t felt this good in 15 years. The CRT patient (evidenced-based, of course) can now walk his dogs without gasping for air. And, it’s not just patients who have had successful procedures who thank me. That’s the weird part; there are patients who, in real terms, I’ve done nothing for, who still credit me for “saving” them. I guess I’m just their doctor.

Just today, my brightest moment was telling a worried patient that his heart beat strongly, that he didn’t have heart damage. He wanted to hear this, and I could see the relief in his face.

I stand humbled by all this.


It’s the patients that make medicine so great. More often than not, they are my antidote to the “take-the-fun-out-of-medicine” stuff.

Who would have thought that an office day could be so cheery?


4 replies on “Friday Reflection: A doctor’s antidote”

You’re so right.
Of late, I’ve had my doubts about whether I enjoyed being a family physician.
Thankfully, I have good moments each day — you’ve described the feeling perfectly.
Thanks so much!

Great post, Dr. John. I’ve often wondered how doctors make it through the day, dealing with problems – i.e.: everybody who walks through the door is coming with a problem that needs a solution. I would have thought the responsibility would be overwhelming, and so the “job” wouldn’t be that desirable after the idealism wore off.

Now I know there is a bit of a silver lining to the job. Thanks.

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