The elderly woman I saw earlier today wandering the halls of the surgical oncology (surg onc) floor just broke my heart. I could tell she had been crying recently and was lost so I offered to help her find her husband in the recovery area even though I still get pretty lost myself.
It turns out that lately, I've been spending a LOT of time with one of my sista' mentors (that I'm trying to convince to apply to med school) because she's considered one of the organizational experts in pathology informatics. And she works on the surg onc floor, so it was her office I was leaving when I ran into the lady looking for her husband.
So just as the lady and I were about to get SUPER lost, my sista' mentor appeared and offered to help both of us find our way. And that meant that I had an unofficial tour of the surg onc recovery area. Well, you can probably imagine "how in the right place" that felt for me as I was looking for the woman's husband. The patient's wife had forgotten almost everything about her husband and could barely speak except to say his name. And I'm pretty sure that the Doc probably talked so far over her head that whatever she did understand was likely quite overwhelming based on the seriousness of what brought her husband to this facility in the first place.
When we finally found her husband she was so thankful and it became obvious that she and her husband were there alone. And that's real sad because I'm certain the wife was pushing 75 or 80. Easy. At any rate, it felt good to be able to help someone who obviously needed it. But I think meeting this woman and being in the recovery area did far more for me than I did for her. And the next time, I'm going to be SURE to get the name of the person I'm offering to help. Because little details like that help people feel so much better!
And this experience reminded me that if I didn't work where I do now, I wouldn't have the opportunity to have these kinds of VERY rewarding experiences. And as tough as it can be to deal with life's challenges like those I'm experiencing on the job now, the rewards are that much better. But more than that, it's absolutely WON-DER-FUL to have a constant reminder of my ultimate career goals!