A surgeon and I walk in together from the car park. She’s in pain and every step’s an effort. Another colleague pulls up, car window open, face quizzical. “Done my back in”, the surgeon confesses, apologetically adding, “big clinic today”. The doctor in the car winces, like he’s spotted bad weather, then he shakes his head in a show of resigned and apparently hard-won wisdom. “Go home”, he says. “No one’ll thank you.” Translated, this comment reads: going to any lengths as a doctor requires some demonstration of gratitude, from our employers and from our patients.