I spend my days, and often my nights, in the hospital caring for patients – or so I think. As a physician, although I’m providing the care, more frequently than not I come out of the interaction feeling that I gained much more than I provided.
Today, I encountered an elderly gentleman who accosted me with a cheerful ‘Good morning, young lady!’ This was a patient with metastatic cancer who was admitted with a urologic emergency, bound to his bed and frustrated as a child who’s stuck indoors during recess.
He asked, “Did you win the lottery last night?”
I clearly did not – I wasn’t sure where he was going with this.
“Your smile is glowing all the way down the hall,” he remarked.
I gave credit where it was due – a bright sunny day, a hot cup of coffee and finally, enough sleep at night.
Mr. A, however, had another thought.
“It’s all in your head, young lady,” he said. How could the sun be in my head, I wondered. What he said next may just be one of the most profound things I have heard in a very long time.
The sun is always shining, he said. The sun is always shining. It’s up to you to rise above the clouds to find it.
Now how’s that for a doozy?
N.b. The photo is from our trip last year to Yosemite, halfway up the hike to the top of Yosemite Falls.