It's always the same: It's the fifth hour of the procedure. As your ankles ache and the perspiration drips beneath your lead, you stand there wondering why you try so hard to fix this arrhythmia. You realize this is not cost effective. You're tying up the lab. The staff and anesthesiologist are getting restless. The music drones on. You feel you're not getting anywhere. "Then again, maybe if I just try this...," you think. And you try this and it fails. Meanwhile, the fluoroscopy clock ticks, your fight continues.
Then you remember the story: the syncope, the wife, the kids, the vocation. They're depending on you. Not a tech, not an anesthesiologist, not a nurse, not an administrator. You. So you keep going, just a bit longer.
And then, sometimes, miraculously, you win. It's all worth it. You've completely changed that person's life. You are the hero. You are the superstar.
But just as often, you have to quit. Your feet are too sore, the radiation dose too high, and the hour too late to safely continue. You have to face the family, the disappointed looks, the doubt about whether you were the right person to do this procedure, and the sad look on your patient's face when you break the news.
And you find yourself asking once again:
Why do I try so hard?