I got a question on the Facebook page for my podcast: What's a nice thing to do when your doctor is retiring? My PCP is retiring in a couple months and while I scramble to find someone else (he's given me some recommendations), I wonder if there is some gesture I could make to show my appreciation...
My response was to that a nice note was worth more than any gift. Then I got a note from the daughter of a patient today:
Dear Dr. Lamberts:
I am the daughter of ..... He is a new patient of yours. I understand you are responsible for finding the problem with my dad's cholesterol and I think you for being so alert to something being wrong, I heard him say many times that you saved his life.
Thank you Dr. Lamberts. I am forever grateful.
That's what you should do to make your doctor feel good! My gut response is, "Of course I was trying to find anything that is wrong. I am only doing my job. I'd be upset with myself if I didn't find his cholesterol!". That is true, and everyone should only expect good care from their doctor. The nature of my job puts me in the position to save people's lives, so it's not exceptionally noble that I do it (I think he might have overstated it a bit in this case). But a word of thanks is always appreciated.
I don't feel under-appreciated, and this kind of card is not necessary. There is some benefit to "do my good works in secret," knowing I am helping people even when people don't send me cards. I also know I don't practice perfect medicine.
This applies to all the people who do us good in life. We need to be aware of the good others do for us and make sure they know we appreciate it.
Right now, I just appreciate that note.
(Yes, the cards are for sale - by someone other than me - see here for details)