This weekend, while rounding in the ICU, I looked up and saw a picture of one of my patients, smiling with his wife, standing next to two nurses who cared for him.
He was a previously healthy man in his early 30's. A few days earlier, he had a fever, and then developed shortness of breath. I had come in to the ER to see him at 1 am, saw that he had congestive heart failure and a weak left ventricle. We stabilized him temporarily, but the next day, he was intubated, his blood pressure was dropping and he was requiring multiple medications to support his blood pressure. This previously healthy man's life was in danger. I cancelled half of my morning's patients to emergently place a central line to sort out what was going on.
In the days to come, he gradually improved, his heart function strengthened, and a week later he was discharged.
I see him in my office, and he's sitting on my exam table, smiling, and you'd think he'd never been ill. He feels great. He's back to work and back to playing basketball
And, I swear, when I saw that picture of him, smiling with the team who helped save his life, I smiled.