So I saw a lady last week for a brain goomba. A 3.8 cm x 3.7cm x 3.8 cm pituitary lesion with suprasellar extension and invasion into the cavernous sinus.
She had a transphenoidal partial resection of a nonfunctioning adenoma yesterday, and was to have been dismissed today to follow-up with me in the afternoon (yes, things do move this fast at this crazy place).
Anyways. The neurosurgeons decided to keep her an additional day because she had some nausea still. So I decided to come visit her in the hospital since she couldn't make my appointment.
Met her daughters and her husband (whom I had met earlier). Since I wasn't in a hurry (no social life to boast of despite today being St. Patrick's Day), I had a nice long chat with her husband. Found out things that you otherwise wouldn't, being someone's doctor. Sure, I know her medical history intimately well; I can still clearly see her brain MRI in my head. And I know her cortisol, prolactin and IGF-1 levels. I even remember what medications she takes. But that's nothing.
I'll call her Mary. She had lost her husband years ago. And her current husband, I'll call him Bob, lost his wife to a heart attack 15 years ago. Bob and Mary remarried last year.
They grew up together, and were highschool sweethearts. Dated through school, but somehow drifted apart when they left for college. And, as life often ends up that way, lost touch for decades. Meanwhile, they fell in love with others; Bob had 5 kids of his own, and Mary 3.
After having to live through the agony of their spouses' deaths, they met again. Bob was the class president, and hence organized reunions every 5 years. At at the last one, someone persuaded Mary to come out of her shell, and attend.
Bob had made rhubard pie (one of these days someone's gotta tell me what the heck a rhubarb is) for the night. A few days later, Mary sent him a thank-you card and complimented him on the pie. And before you know it, they started talking on the phone and went out on a few dates.
Old flames, from half a lifetime ago, rekindled.
After 5 months, with the full blessings of their kids, they remarried. Bob said it was a beautiful lakeside wedding. I believe him. I imagine it's as close to heaven as could be.
It's a beautiful story.
It's been a long week. And a long day. It's Friday night, and I was tired. Who would have thought, that I'd find such a powerful source of inspiration and strength in the neurosurgical unit, from the very people we try to help?
I came home energized.
And feeling honored that Bob had shared this wonderful story with me.