I'm oncall again this week. And as usual, we always have patients in the ICU, typically the post-cardiac surgery ones, but sometimes the occasional DKA.
Walking from the Main Wing to the East Wing of the hospital, I have to walk past the cheerful Starbucks store on the left, after which comes the waiting area for families. This is a modern area with numerous sofas, a couple of family-conference rooms, and is flanked by the neuro/medical ICU and the surgical ICU.
While I find the modern design inspiring, often, like today, walking past this area always tugs at my heartstrings, and reminds me to not complain about work and to be grateful. For, I often walk past hordes of families sitting, many sleeping, in the waiting area. Today, quite a few people were teary-eyed. Many looked exhausted. A woman was wailing while a man was consoling her.
It was pretty clear what was going on. Some critically ill patients. Perhaps some who were on the verge of passing. When there was little hope we doctors could provide anyway.
It tugs on the heartstrings, and even makes me feel a bit guilty, that I'm strolling from one unit to another carrying a mug of coffee, but just a mere few feet away, some families were receiving devastating news. Worlds apart.
And so I remind myself, even on a busy call week when I'm prone to complaining, that I have much to be thankful for.