You're not behind the desk, you're sitting in the chair next to
it. Waiting. Waiting, for what seems like FOREVER for them to come
look at you, examine you, swab, cut, bleed, sample, whatever you.
They're taking forever. You feel wretched. Everything aches,
stings, hurts. You're tired from staying up all night worrying,
hurting, stressing. You only want to know what's going on and you
feel like you're simply the only person on the face of the planet,
and no one is able or willing to help you.
I'm trying to explain what it feels like to be sick -- to be
frustrated with the status of the medical profession and confused
and angry and scared. I'm trying to explain what it feels like, no
matter how melodramatic it may be, to feel like someone else has
control over your health, what's wrong, and if and when you'll get
better. There's a feeling of being completely helpless that comes
with being sick -- when there's pain, when there's no observable
pattern or relatively easy diagnosis, or when it just seems to drag
on forever. It's a feeling that no one seems to understand -- like
being held hostage by something or someone and being powerless to
do anything about it. And it doesn't go away -- that feeling --
until there's some grasp over the problem, like some answer, lab
result, diagnosis, something, ANYTHING that seems to give some
control over the situation.
If you, as a person, have never felt this way, count yourself
lucky. But many others can't say that. Our patients likely can't
say that. They come to us hoping for understanding and compassion,
and the willingness and ability to find out what's wrong. I only
hope that they find it.
It's hard to be the patient when you're used to being the
physician. It's also hard to be a physician when you've never been
a patient. William Hurt, in a 1991 movie called "The Doctor"
illustrated just this. Having been an important, influential
physician, he finds himself with cancer -- and realizes just how
horrible of a physician (no matter how skilled) he (and some of his
colleagues) could be.
People come to us in their worst conditions. They're not always
in a good mood. They're not always understanding of our limitations
as physicians (or students). They come to us seeking help and
advice -- and of course, our expertise. Finding answers is what
we're supposed to do. It's what our training is based in and what
we've been working towards for our academic/professional
But all of that training only provides a fraction of what our
patients need from us. They need our compassion and understanding.
This isn't taught in school. It comes from within, and
unfortunately, it comes from experience.
(Image source: hopeinhealingblog.wordpress.com)
For some of us, it's been sickness that has made us this way --
or abuse, or poverty, or just LIFE. For others, it's those things
that are in the process of making them that way.
Be kind to each other this week, Everybody. Have a great
How's everybody doing? It's Week 12 of the tri--4 weeks left
(including this one we're starting).
Well, it's no secret to those close to me that I've had a really
hard time focusing this tri. There've been sooo many distractions.
I'm convinced that it's also this time of year that makes this tri
so difficult--last year at this time I was struggling as well.
Perhaps it's the wanderlust of summer, or the fact that we're
perpetually in class. I'm not sure. Regardless, I'll be glad when
this Tri is over.
I've been working really hard to try to keep my wits about me.
At some point, I think it's common for all students to get
discouraged--whether we feel like we've been in school for 4
million years, are burnt out from studying all the time, need a
break, or have Life intervene. It's OK to have times like this.
I've taken a few trips, gotten involved in some outside
activities apart from school, and spent time doing things other
than school and studying. This past week/weekend, I participated in
a gathering of Kindred Spirits--kind of like a family reunion near
Asheville, NC. There were about 2,500 people there. Anytime there's
a gathering of that size, there has to be an infrastructure. We
have our own staff: medical, behavioral medicine, "law"
enforcement, etc.--all based on volunteers. I have been to this
event before and I usually volunteer for the medical staff. This
time, I volunteered for behavioral medicine--which was amazing. I
did end up filling in for some of the medical staff (with
certifications in first aid, etc.), but the behavioral
stuff--counseling and talking to people, was amazing. There were
times when it was a comfort to people who just knew that we were
there, holding space, should they need something or someone to talk
to. I love being able to give back.
I was able to reconnect with friends that I'd not seen in years.
There were local people there that I didn't know would be
there--and we were able to reconnect. I made new friends and new
connections that I will probably carry with me for the rest of my
life. Some of these people may be my patients later on. Some may be
my colleagues. Some are now just Family.
After such an amazing experience this weekend, I have to refocus
myself for finals (and boards). I hope that I will be able to find
that focus, and use my joy from the weekend, my beautiful
experiences with so many people, and my newfound connections, to
feed my Soul and keep me going.
What do you need to stay inspired?
Let's Play "Air Orchestra!"
The sun was not shining. It was too
wet they say.
So we sat in the classroom during lunch on that day.
I sat there with Dave, Ricky, and
And then we said, "We just don't know what to do!"
It was too soon to study for old
too early for Neuro, or WBCs.
We'd already had coffee, and water and lunch.
We all just sat there, our shoulders did hunch.
Then something went "Thwap!" In the
corner we looked.
My rainbow umbrella no longer was hooked.
I'd carried it in to avoid my own
to keep me nice and dry, so I would stay warm.
That umbrella it had the most greatest of power,
and because of it, this is what we did for the hour...
The storm we did weather, the damage
So sorry for all that mess has become.
It was not my purpose to cause such turmoil;
I'd rather be wearing a hat made of foil.
Exam time has started, insanity
We all are now paying, our most diligent of dues.
Miss Lauren, and Julia, Annaliese,
we all seek our studying quotas be met.
Alid, Miss Lexxi, Theresa and my Self
are looking to each other for all kinds of help.
Our Classmates--the greatest, we
always take care.
Through storms we will weather, through struggles we bear.
We help one another with notes and with guides.
and sometimes with excuses when one of us hides.
We'll make it through all of this
and help one another prepare for these tests.
We'll pass all the boards and study
and in the end we'll come out with a card,
a license, a paper, more knowledge than known,
and after all of this we'll start practices of our very
(Special thanks to those that participated in our
educational/recreational efforts, to Jordan for his contribution,
and to Dr. Seuss, for being a large part of who I am.)
Happy studying for midterms everybody,
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
• Marketing Project
• First Week in Student Clinic
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