Why I do this

Tuesday night was crazy on call - more busy than usual. Then, on Wednesday, I had a 7am hospital meeting, morning office hours, a noon hospital meeting, then afternoon office hours, then back to the hospital to finish my hospital rounds. Sheesh!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It's just the fatigue was more than usual - kind of interesting now that I re-read my post on jetlag. Hmmmmmm...

Wednesday afternoon, I was just totally dragging and could not wait to go home and go to bed. I was not really in that great of a mood - kind of cranky. And, I did not have any tolerance for whining and excuses from my patients or my staff.

I walked into the exam room and saw Russell and his wife. I haven't seen Russell for about two months. Russell usually sees another doc in our practice. In fact, the last time we saw each other we had a spirited disagreement on why I thought tobacco use is unhealthy. So, my first thought was that I really did not want to go through that discussion again - especially today.

In addition to smoking, during our last visit, he reported symptoms of mild chest pain which he attributed to his "chronic bronchitis." After another heated discussion, he was agreeable to a stress test which occured the next week. I was quite surprised by the abnormal result. Russell was immediately referred to our local cardiologist and I kind of lost track of what happened after that.

His wife told me that Russell was seen by the local heart doctor and immediately referred to Huge Legendary University Medical Center where he underwent triple bypass heart surgery about a month ago. He just returned home following some cardiac rehabilitation at Huge Medical Center.

We talked some more. And before the visit ended, Russell's wife said, "You know, they said up there that Russell's heart was right on the edge of something bad happening. I know he can be difficult sometimes, but I'm glad you ordered that stress test. Doc, you probably saved his life and I wanted to thank you."

Russell looked right at me, didn't say anything, but noded his head. At that moment, all of my fatigue disappeared.