Friday, November 13, 2009

Reflecting on the week and Life as a Precious Gift.

Memorable moments from this week, (besides the fact that a teddy bear was named after me by Ann!)

Retired general surgeon giving me a real big “thanks” and “addaboy” this morning for being aggressive when he arrived quite sick a couple nights ago to take action to check his back for possibly infected wound hematoma and possibly infected knee. It turned out that he had bad case of pseudogout, and no evidence of infection, but he was grateful that I did something quickly to get him relief without ordering tons of tests which could have been painful and delayed his treatment and eventual recovery. I was really touched by his very sincere, and even forceful recognition of the tough decision-making I had to make, and after his 35+ years as a general surgeon, with me much to his junior, I appreciated his words of affirmation and encouragement.

We’ve been swamped with physician, dentist, nurse practitioner and nurse patients and family members this past few weeks. One evening this week, I had a total of 7 such healthcare professional patient and family members on evening rounds! I had 2 pair of physician-daughter physician combinations and a husband/wife dentist duo for starters. We could start our own clinic! It’s actually been really cool and rewarding to care for this group of people.

My PA Jenny and I were really missing Brittany this week who is at NASS. The workload in clinic, hospital and the operating room is always better spread out over 3 of us rather than 2, but we got through the week with smiles and sharing the load. They whole Hey Clinic staff also pitched in to help things run smoothly to make sure Brittany’s calls were answered, images read, and emails checked.

I also got to see the boy I fixed a few months ago from the Philippines who had the arthrogryposis and scoliosis and severe hypokyphosis or thoracic lordosis which made his chest cavity extremely thin — too thin for growing heart and lungs. He’s doing just great, and his family has decided to move to Arkansas! Best Wishes, JohnPaul!!! JohnPaul plans to be a doctor some day, and may choose to work for Hey Clinic! He’s a driven young man.

I got a lot of very positive feedback on some of my blog writings this week via Facebook and via email. That’s encouraging as well, since I never received great teaching from my public high school English teachers, and went to engineering school for college, where I wrote software and solved engineering problems, but did not grow as a writer.

But every day I feel that I do meet some wonderful people, and am blessed to be a part of the healing and life journeys for many people that makes life powerful, and leads to further learning and joy. It seems right to share some of these special experiences with others. I want to write them down so I don’t forget them, and so I can hopefully be more in tune each day to recognize the small miracles that are always going on, but we often miss.

My wife and I enjoy watching some of the reality tv shows now and then on the Learning Channel (TLC), where families with 18 or 20 kids live out their lives on TV, or “Little People” families share their experiences and challenges. One of my friends Bill Hayes produces these shows, and his company once filmed me and one of my scoliosis patients years ago at Duke for the Discovery Channel show called the “Hospital.” --- That was my big experience on TV, with surgery and clinic being filmed. My wife and I were discussing tonight why these reality shows seem to be so appealing. I think it is because people and life is incredibly interesting, especially when you get to look into a world which is challenging and so much different than your own. I know my daily life is quite a bit different than most. Intense. Rewarding. Stressful. Full of decisions, setbacks, unexpected joys, and always tons more to learn. But what really makes my daily life special is the precious people that cross my path anew, and the precious people I get to live with, love with, work with and learn with every day. Every life is precious. Infinitely precious. Every day we get to spend with other people is also extremely precious. Grab it. Experience it. It’s a gift.

Seeing JohnPaul’s family’s big smiles today in clinic, and a couple of previously severely myelopathic patients walking down the hall with a stable gait makes me just thank God for chance to be here, and to be a part of these people’s lives — trying to help ensure or restore quality of life for many years to come. It’s a gift.

In fact, most mornings before I get out of bed, I thank God for the the new day, and thank Him for another day to be alive and to serve Him and others. I know quite clearly that every day is indeed a gift, because 31 years ago I could have easily died in the street or in the hospital after being hit by a car and being severely injured. God spared my life for a reason, and at least part of that reason is to serve. We always seem to appreciate things more when they are taken away, or almost taken away.

Life and time are both precious gifts often taken for granted that we all need to enjoy and share with others.

Have a great weekend.

Dr. Lloyd Hey
Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery

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