It was a day that started out like many others: group meeting, hurry to the lab, meet my patient before their procedure, review the surgical plan with the staff, perform the surgery, orders, greet the family to discuss the case, electronic note, discharge summary, copies to the referring(s), see a consult, then head off to clinic.
Before leaving, I came down to the cath lab break room to a cacophony of folks milling about and eyeing two monstrous pizza's in the center of the table with a very elderly gentleman with a radiant smile who was surrounded by nurses and technicians and eagerly greeting those that entered. "Was it a drug rep," I thought. "No. Too old for that. And, oh my goodness, is that a plugged tracheostomy tube beneath his collar? What the...????"
And as I turned back toward the door, I saw the cake, beautifully decorated with an EKG and life-like edible heart that would be the envy of even the folks at Street Anatomy:
Click image to enlarge
"Doctor Fisher, we'd like you to meet Mr. Jones (not his real name), he's one of our PARTNER patients whose celebrating his birthday with us today as a way of saying thanks." (For those unfamiliar, the PARTNER Trial is a study for Edwards Lifesciences testing percutaneous aortic valve replacement technology).
"Thank you," he said crushing my hand while standing on his own power, his voice hoarse from the trach. "I can't tell you how great I feel. I couldn't do anything before my procedure."
"But sir, I'm a heart electrician, not a plumber... and I was just passing through..."
"No matter! Glad you're here!" he exclaimed.
Imagine: birthday cake and pizza for our staff provided not by a drug rep or the hospital, but a grateful patient with a heart of gold that took a bit of his precious time to say thanks.
Tell me, does it get any better than that?
Thanks, "Mr. Jones" and may you have the happiest of birthdays!