Life for me is a daily struggle between giving enough of myself to my children, my husband, and my patients. These three things are just so important to me and I feel like all of them deserve my everything. But to do that is an impossibility. Therefore, I live in constant guilt.
Occasionally, I get a little glimpse that I've made a correct decision. For example, when I say "screw it" to all the paperwork and charting I have to finish, and just sing and dance like crazy with Little Ninja (2 year old daughter) or just lazily breastfeed Meat Ball all afternoon. Or when I miss out dinner, bath, and bedtime with my kids to stay late with a patient in the hospital just because I get a gut feeling that extra attention needs to be paid.
Today I was seeing a routine postpartum patient who I induced because she just had a very strange presentation near term. She had a strange fever, nonspecific symptoms, and just a bad feeling. I got it too. I found a reason to proceed with the induction and she delivered a healthy baby. The fever spontaneously resolved, and she and her infant did very well and went home normally.
So today, after I completed her postpartum exam, she turned and hugged me. "Thank you so much for listening to me, " she said. "I really felt like something bad was going to happen to me if I didn't deliver that night. I had a feeling that I might die." This patient is extremely sensible, not melodramatic in the least bit. It scared me a little to hear her say that, because I had a similar feeling as her doctor. I can't explain medically what her ailment was exactly, but I just had a strange premonition that if I just sat on her and waited it out, she would have fared poorly. There are a lot of reports of patients who had premonitions of impending doom closely before their deaths. As a medical doctor, the more I practice and study medicine, the more I see a connection between mind and body. It made my shudder to hear her words, since I didn't know it at the time. But it also felt good to know that sometimes sacrificing a little bit yields greater rewards.