Friday, August 18, 2006


First day of orientation...Never thought there'd be so many confidential stories confided to me in a day.
Watched a med student bloopers video clip and it was admirable how much effort was put into this process to make us freshies excited about this school. Saw other people in their white coats with stets around their necks, talking about medicine, interactions with patients, and they reminded me of this feeling what I watch House, of wanting to be excellent at medicine, wanting to be respected by others, wanting to appear trustworhthy of someone's life, the impending feeling of the day in the future when I will walk my first patient out of the hospital, smiles all around, thanks from the heart, reflective of a hopefully brief but deep and touching experience that only happens once in a lifetime. It reminds me why I chose to abandon jobs in finance, which will hire people to move for me, pay for my food, pay me enough to let me afford a much better apartment and actually start a real life instead of being stuck in this surreal existence in school for lord knows how many more years.
This sounds so lame, but being a doctor is indeed a privilege. You enter a part of your patients' lives that they will never share with anyone else, sometimes not even their family, their significant others, etc. You touch their lives during their most vulnerable moments, during stages in which they would not allow others to see them, except for people they would wanna see before they die. Your patients trust you with their lives, and they will tell you secrets they may never tell anyone else. Treating someone is an intense, hand-holding experience in which we change someone's life without even realizing it.
Today I listened to a patient recounting his gory experience of crohn's disease turned colon cancer stage 3. He was sick since he was 18. Now he's 41 and never had a chance to taste life, literally. Of the 25 years or so that he was sick, there was only a short period of 4 years in which he could eat normal food like we do, eat anything he wanted. Apart from that he never knew what its like to be just normal and not sick, not even now when he can only eat soft, non-fibrous food. Those of you who hate vegetables and fruits, be glad you can eat them. You'll miss them when you realize you can't eat them even if you want to. Stories like this serve as a wakeup call that, however ephemeral, makes us realize how much we take things for granted, how lucky we are just to not be sick. Forget all other petty problems like relationship, money, family fights, etc. It also makes you scared of all these diseases and it will make you eat healthily, make you exercise, purely out of fear for death and sickness, which I guess isn't too bad a boost.
I hope you see how blessed you are just to be alive, to be able to eat the egg noodles you love so much, to be able to drive, even though the car doesn't work the way it's supposed to, to have the money to go golfing when you wish, to be able to hold the golf clubs without having to pry your fingers open because your muscles are cramped from dehydration, I hope you will see the world briefly from my naive point of view, in which the future is hopeful and adventurous, full of possibilities and things to be tried and conquered, in which happiness isnt to be found, but it is to be made, simply by reliving the moments when you hug your loved one in your arms, in which you heard the first "I love you" that pulled you from rockbottom, that made life worth living again. If the rich dad says we need to breakaway from the rat race and take control of our financial situation, then why can't we breakaway and take control of our own happiness?

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