Every day after finishing seeing patients in my clinic, I realize just how much I love my work. I get to work with dedicated, fun, compassionate nurses, therapists, counselors, a nurse practitioner, and administrators. But best of all, I get inspiration from my patients -- because they are smart, brave, funny, and most of all survivors.
Today, for example, I saw a young veteran who developed an opioid use disorder after a severe injury from an IED (improvised explosive device) while serving in Iraq. He survived but is now trying to rebuild his life after exposure to prescription opioids triggered a genetic predisposition to opioid addiction. He is now stabilizing on methadone after years of compulsive, uncontrolled, and dangerous use of everything from fentanyl patches to OxyContin to Percocets by the fistfuls. He still has a long way to go since memories of his time as a soldier continue to invade his thoughts and dreams, and his back injury precludes many possible jobs -- but he is determined to manage his addiction, get the memories under control, and return to work.
I can't really imagine what he has gone through or what he has yet to endure, but his fighting spirit makes me hopeful that he, like many others, will find recovery. Our job as a clinical team is to provide care and support through the ups, and downs, of that process. I am honored to serve him as he has served us.