My Eye Opener


It was 9 am on a Sunday morning. I had one of those terrible shifts in the ER. Even before getting there, I was already exhausted, stressed out and hungry. Furthermore, I just could not find a single parking lot within one kilometer from the hospital.




In comes the nurse with the papers from the next patient waiting. Her problem was clearly something very banal. I’m ashamed to admit, but this kind of patients in the ER on a Sunday,that’s just something that often makes us health workers sigh because we believe we have more important, more urgent stuff to take care of.


A Round Kick In The Face


Walking in and looking up, the suffering and sadness in the woman’s eyes hit me like a round kick in the face. I felt chills down my spine, like someone took a gallon of ice-cold water and poured it down my shirt.


This woman, about 60 years old, suffered from a very rare form of blood cancer.


Her husband had been diagnosed with bladder cancer and suffered a stroke during surgery.


She told me about her son who for years struggled getting children of his own and once he and his wife succeeded, the child was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 4 and she lost her first grandchild at the age of 6, after two years of intensive therapy.


His second daughter was born with a brain damage.


And now, just a few years later, her son was himself diagnosed with incurable lung cancer with months to live at the age of 40.


She was upset BECAUSE she did not have time to go to the hospital for banal problems like these, when all she wanted was to sit by her son’s bed.


I gladly sat there and listened intensely to her story. THIS is what it’s all about, the reason you become a medical doctor in the first place. Then I helped her as quickly as I could and sent her on her way.


After all, I was lucky enough to have an awesome job, to help people like her, to let them share their story.


And that walk from the parking spot? I probably needed it anyway.


Fast Forward Your Life 50 Years


You are ill and old.
Looking back on your youth – do you want to see obsession and calorie tracking in absurdum while debating grains vs. dairy online




smiles over heavy lifts and the occasional post workout beer with real people?


Don’t be an idiot.


Go out and live your life.


None of us know what’s waiting.


This Sunday was a real eye opener to me. Please make the woman’s story COUNT and share this with your friends. 

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2 comments on “My Eye Opener
  1. Elizabeth Reiher says:

    This weekend I was at Target and the lady in front of me had a bunch of baby stuff. She asked if they could get someone to help her take her purchases to her car and move them from the cart to her car. Turns out she recently had a c-section and was having trouble lifting things, which she shouldn’t have been doing. Well, her husband had had a heart attack earlier that day and was in the hospital but the baby still needs diapers and whatnot so here she was. And her husband? Only 34 years old. Reminded me that while I was mildly irritated about something annoying a few minutes before, other people are facing real problems and dealing with them with aplomb. And that we should cherish the moments we have. Reminded me when I read your blog as well.

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