All my favorite Harry Potter bad lip reading gifs I have collected
Today started out normal, wake up at 6, get to school by 8. Sit in the back and catch up on some studying and assignments - typical med school life.
It all changed as we began our physician and society course. 4 days into med school and my whole world has changed. Our first lecture was pretty normal but got me thinking - it was about medical ethics and I had to grapple with some pretty tough decisions. What would I do if a man signed a do not resuscitate but he is leaving behind a wife and kids? How would I deal with a patient who wants to be released into an abusive home when her husband holds the power of attorney and she is deemed incompetent? This however was nothing compared to the next hour, a lecture on compassion.
Compassion. I brushed off this lecture as being a waste of time. I mean, come on! We’re future doctors! I’m pretty sure we know what it means to have compassion! But then our lecturer came up. A professor, 30 some years old with terminal breast cancer. Terminal - she’s going to die.
Any words I write will never do her words justice, but I’ll try. She began simple, highlighting the need for us to be compassionate doctors, to care about our patients and put the needs of our patients first. As I listened, I couldn’t help but think, great, we’ve been hearing this all week… But then she posed the question, what is it that we do as physicians? Do we cure disease? or do we heal patients? What is the difference between the two? This is where everything changed.
See, curing disease is the easy part - we can administer drugs and bam! Sometimes they get better… but for how long? What happens to patients that we cannot cure? What happens if you’ve had a double mastectomy and you remain with terminal breast cancer? Do we cease to be physicians and abandon our patients? No, because the primary role of a physician is not a curer, it is a healer. So how do we heal? There is no magic bullet, no way to make everything go away. We heal by being compassionate and caring for our patients as physicians and as human beings.
Our lecturer told us her story. How she received her diagnosis and desperately tried to enroll in any trial she could to stop the cancer. How she would find doctors and nurses who showed her no compassion. How nothing would work and everyone would avoid her eye contact. Nobody wanted to talk to her, to acknowledge her. She had to face the reality alone at that hospital, she was dying and there was nothing anyone could do. In a way, its understandable. Death and dying is an uncomfortable subject for many people. How do you talk to someone who you know is dying? As terrible as it sounds, its probably easier to deal with the situation like these nurses and doctors did. But then the cleaning lady, a little old lady who looked almost 80, half smoked cigar in her front pocket and yellowed nails, came into her room. She asked the simplest question, are you ok? To which my professor replied, “No, I’m not ok.” And you know what that little old lady did? She asked my professor if she wanted to pray. Prayer, something so simple meant the world to my professor and in that moment, a part of her was healed.
What this incredibly powerful woman has taught me today, I can never repay. As medical students, we often busy ourselves learning every detail there is to know about the body, focusing on origins and insertions of muscles, the physiology of the renal system, drug doses, and tedious pathways. All of this information undoubtedly will help us become good physicians, but it will never help us become great ones. She asked us, “How do I teach you to get in my space and wheel your little black stool knee to knee with me and say, ‘I can’t fix you, and I’m sorry… but I care enough about you to go through this with you.’” This is compassion. This is what will make us great doctors.
There is no doubt in my mind that one day I will have to tell a father that his daughter’s cancer is terminal. One day I will have to inform an anxiously waiting family that the massive stroke their loved one had has left him brain-dead. One day I will have to sit down and tell a couple they cannot have children of their own. And to be frank, I am terrified. How can I, a 22 year old kid know anything about the harsh realities of life? How will I be strong enough to sit with a patient and their family and not only understand their suffering, but to suffer with them? To take their pain and show them that I care enough to make it my own, if only just for a little while. I just pray that when those days come, I will have the compassion to help heal my patients, even if I can’t cure them.
When an old lady in the Ashludie Hospital Geriatric Ward, near Dundee, Scotland, died, it appeared that she left nothing of value. Then the nurse, going through her possessions found this poem:
What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
Are you thinking when you’re looking at me –
“A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply,
When you say in a loud voice, ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.
Who, unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.”
Is that what you’re thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse, you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still;
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will –
I’m a small child of ten, with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another,
A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty – my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now I have young of my own,
Who need me to build a secure, happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more babies play ‘round my knee;
Again, we know children – my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future; I shudder with dread,
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and love that I’ve known.
I’m an old woman now, and nature is cruel.
‘Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But, inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And, now and again, my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I’m living and loving life over again.
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see
Not a crabby old woman – look closer – see me!
"In the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943 the Jewish Combat Organization fought the Nazis from within a closed and overcrowded urban area from which no entry or exit was possible. The Jewish Combat Organisation, not a regular army, and branded terrorists by the Nazis, fought amongst the civilian Jewish men, women and children, the elderly and sick, from houses, cellars, hospitals, sewers, shops, offices, and tunnels. The Nazis defeated the Jewish Combat Organisation killing many thousands of unarmed Jews too and destroying most of the Ghetto."