I have learned a new trick. On a busy day of seeing patients it is easy to run from exam room to office desk and off to the next exam room at a frenzied pace. The charts, the orders even the patients can blur a bit. It is not a way to move through my day.
Now before entering the next exam room, I put my hand on the doorknob and pause. I take a moment to notice how I feel, take a deep breath and let it go. I let go of what ever might be distracting me from what is behind the door. Then I turn the handle and focus more fully on the person inside waiting to see me.
One day last week when I opened the door there was some fun waiting for me. A boy had a wart that needed freezing with liquid nitrogen. It is a simple procedure that he had done before and he and I settled in to chat while I worked. Also in the room was his much younger sister – maybe five years old. This girl was wearing a dress and holding a rose. She was smiling and excitedly hopping from foot to foot but – not saying a word obviously trying hard to be polite and wait for me to finish up.
Now, this clinic day was as busy a day as could be. But when my wart treatment was done and the bouncy little sister finally got her turn to talk, I listened. She said:
Please freeze it.
And smash it!
And so we did. I dipped her rose in the liquid nitrogen and handed it to her. With great joyful enthusiasm she smashed that rose into tiny fragrant icy pieces!
Then with wide smiles we said goodbye. She and her brother got their stickers. I went on, placed my hand on the next door knob and fully focused, went to the next patient.