This week was a special one for me. Having completed my training, it was the first time I began working for myself, as an independent doctor.
I was asked to come back to my training surgery to run some locum sessions, as most of the GPs were on holiday. I was happy to do these, as I knew it’d give me a taste of what it’d be like to work on my own. And what better place to ease me into it, than a place I’d been before. In the back of my mind I was expecting to be treated like a trainee-but the experience was actually very different! It was almost like I was left to my own devices, a sense of freedom I’d never experienced before. And in addition to providing the patient care which I relish, it was a blissful experience.
A lot of patients were surprised to see me. Before I left, I informed my regular patients that I was leaving but for those I hadn’t, word had already got around- either through the receptionists or through patients’ friends or family. They were so delighted to see me, and it felt so nice to be welcomed back by them. Nobody had ever addressed me on the streets-that took some getting used to!
‘Oh hi Dr Raj! It’s so nice to see you again!’
‘I thought you left!’
The last day of the week was not only the best day of the week, but probably one of the best days of my career.
It involved one of my regular patients, an elderly lady who attended the surgery with her husband. Earlier in the year I diagnosed her with lung cancer, and I regularly followed her up for this. She underwent a biopsy to determine the type of cancer she had, but this occurred just before I left the surgery. I therefore couldn’t follow her up, to find out what happened to her. I was naturally very curious when I saw her name on my list.
Both her and her husband took their seats. Before I could say anything, she straightaway said…
‘I just wanted to let you know that I had my surgery a few days ago’.
She told me that the surgeons removed the tumour and the operation went so well, that she was sent home that week. It appeared that it was found in time, and she was very lucky to be alive. When she told me the good news I just looked at them both. Astonished and in awe, it took me a few seconds to sink it all in.
‘We just wanted to thank you. You were so prompt. Thank you for saving my life’.
Her husband was also constantly thanking me, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Not only was she going to be OK, but I was humbled that they made time out of their busy schedule, to come and personally inform me of the good news and thank me. I couldn’t help but cry a little, I was so happy for them. It was also the most heartfelt and genuine speech of gratitude I’ve ever received.
After further updates, we ended the consultation by exchanging hugs. I think our last words to each other were when I said to them…‘Look after eachother’. They replied…‘You take care sweet heart’.
Moments like that are a rarity, and it’s something that will stick with me forever. It was the reminder that hard work, whether it be during university or the trainee years, was always going to be worth it. It was also a reminder of compassion and humanity that exists in the world, and the importance of cherishing it in our day to day lives.
Have a wonderful bank holiday weekend 🙂