Doctor Curmudgeon: Yes, Virginia, there is joy in medicine


Today, Doctor Curmudgeon has accessed that spark that remains deeply within her heart.

It glows, a tiny ember that used to burn more brightly.

Yet, it is still there.

It had been a grumpy mid-morning for the Cranky doctor, filled with denials of necessary scans for her patients, requests from pharmacies wanting her to justify the meds she was ordering, forms to be filled out and dumped at the front desk because the patient was too busy to make an appointment…..when she opened an envelope marked personal:

    “Dear Dr. Curmudgeon,

    I just wanted you to know how happy I am to have found you.  You really listened to me and cared about me.

   Thank you so much…”

I remembered the patient well.  He was in the throes of a vicious divorce, physically healthy and there were no meds he needed.  We talked and I had referred him to a psychiatrist.

Yes, the joy was in my heart.  I had been appreciated.

I reflected on other moments during the past few weeks, when patients had actually thanked me,

Some had come in with sad faces and my heart had gladdened to see them walk out smiling.

And the woman I had called on Monday morning with some less than happy news about a mammogram.  Due to work, she could not come in to discuss this.  We reviewed the result and where to go from there.  At the end of the conversation, she thanked me for all the time I had spent.  “And, Doctor, I am so happy that you directed me about where to go from here, so I don’t just sit around worrying.  I am so grateful.”

There was the patient who had been seen last week and then made a special trip to bring avocadoes from his garden.

Yes, we are overburdened and frequently treated like dirt. It seems that respect is being lost for our beautiful, caring profession…but there are still those who recognize who we are and are grateful that we stay the path

Yes, Virginia, There is still Joy in Medicine.  It is just harder to find.


***For those of you much younger than I, this is an explanation of my title

Back in 1897, a little girl, named Virginia, wrote a letter to the New York Sun and a reporter whose last name was Church answered her.  She asked if there was a Santa Claus.

And he answered: “Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy…”

Yes, Virginia, There is still Joy in Medicine.  It is just harder to find.

Read Doctor Curmudgeon as she talks about “Yes Virginia, there is still joy in medicine”


Diane Batshaw EismanDoctor Curmudgeon is Diane Batshaw Eisman MD, FAAFP, a Family Physician, writer, voiceover artist, and medical educator. It was in the Neolithic Era that the doctor became renowned for expertise in Trephination. After so much time in practice, Doctor Curmudgeon is now cranky and has rightfully earned the honorific of “Curmudgeon.”

Doctor Curmudgeon has no idea of what will appear in this space. It depends on the Good Doctor’s mood and whatever shamans and doctors are channeled at the moment.

As a curmudgeon, I may stray from what I observe happening in medicine and slink into other areas. But that is the prerogative of a Curmudgeon