I was on call yesterday, in the emergency pediatric unit, surrounded by patients with convulsions because for some reason, it is febrile convulsion season in pediatrics, and I was thinking how, these children (not literally, but the load of the work) were going to kill me, when a familiar face walked in.
She greeted me in an excited manner and I responded back, trying to place the face. She said “you can’t remember me, I am-” and that was when I remembered her, she was one of my patient’s mother during my 4th week in pediatrics. Unfortunately, we lost the daughter, but I still remember her name. It is one of the losses I hold close to my heart because unlike many of the parents who bring their children to our emergency units with lackadaisical attitudes, that mother tried her best to ensure we had the things we needed.
I promise, there is a point to this story.
The woman and I exchanged greetings, then I asked, if she brought someone to the hospital, she said no. She just came specifically to visit me, mentioning she came a previous time, but couldn’t meet me and was hoping she would this time around. And as she was leaving, she handed me one of my favorite things as a gift- dates.
Now, it is actually quite common for patients to bring gifts as gestures of appreciation, especially when working in certain units such as, the labor room. For some reason, women in the post natal period are quite generous. But, I have never had someone, whose daughter didn’t make it, tell me thank you. Thank you for trying the best that you could do. It pulled at my heart strings. It reminded me of why I was doing this in the first place… and sometimes, it is these little things that make you fall in love with the medicine all over again.
The point is, you never know which little act of kindness will ripple back to you when you need it the most, you never know how just one little statement, one little word, one little action, one little smile, could be the butterfly effect in someone else’s life. You just never know… so, what do you do?
You keep on trying. You keep on doing those little acts of kindness, you keep on sprinkling them as you go along in life. You keep on doing the best you can with what you have. You take a break when you need to, be angry when you need to, be sad, grieve, stay down, you allow yourself to feel the negative emotions and eventually, you get back up again, keeping it at the back of your mind, the world is a cold place. It is a cold cruel place with sprinkles of sunshine in the form of humans scattered along the way. And you can also be one too.
What unexpected act of kindness have you received?