This past week was a wild one; somehow the last week before the holiday break always is. I could barely catch my breath, it seemed - the office was veritably hopping with patients, which meant busy patient sessions for me and busy precepting sessions with the residents. Throw in a Joint Commission visit to our hospital and Family Health Centers, and I am most glad this work week has come to a close.
My lifelines during that hectic week came from rather unexpected places. First, one of my resident advisees wrote me a lovely Christmas card thanking me for my support and also gifted me with a bottle of wine.
Then, I received a Christmas card from a patient that I would not have expected such a token from. She frequently misses appointments and, when she does come in, I rarely get a sense of success in collaborating on her complicated medical and social issues.
Finally, I was privileged to attend the faculty development fellows' annual holiday luncheon. I definitely enjoy teaching precepting, health behavior theory, and presentation techniques to the fellows at scattered points throughout the year, but I'm not convinced that I am contributing enough to justify my attendance at this lavish meal.
There is a line from Sondheim's musical "Into the Woods" (which I was lucky enough to be in while in college) - "Every moment is of moment." How many moments with patients, with learners, with colleagues did I experience in this last week?
To have even a few such moments from the past year recognized was incredibly heartwarming. While I never want to fall into the trap of expecting such recognition - and, thereby, making that the focus of my ambition - it does feel good to be acknowledged.
The sincere generosity that these three happenings demonstrate certainly reflect more powerfully on the givers than on me, though. Those kindnesses, those little bright spots of light, made the grind of a hectic, overwhelming week more bearable.
Now I have to wonder - where can I spread a little light?