During college I shadowed a physician.
This physician was a little unique because he did house calls.
I really enjoyed this because it allowed me to step foot into the patient’s entire life.
I saw houses that looked perfect on the outside but when stepping inside I realized just exactly why the patient must have been sick.
I went into houses full of cigarette smoke.
I went into homes that smelled.
I went into homes that were extremely neat.
I went from small houses to multimillion dollar mansions.
I saw mattresses stained in urine.
I heard the stories of the poor and the rich from their kitchens and couches.
I watched as the elderly didn’t know where to find their medicine in their own home.
I saw loneliness.
I saw isolation.
I saw loving families.
I saw hope.
Through this experience, I learned the importance of the backstory of every patient. This is a skill set I will definitely use in practice. Home life matters!
Some of these uncomfortable experiences really challenged me.
I constantly asked myself.
“Why do you want to do this?”
One story in particular always comes to mind when thinking about why I chose medicine.
This patient was a middle aged man who unfortunately experiencing brain degeneration from a rare condition. Therefore, he really did not know what was going on. However, the physician warned me that because of his condition he had a temper. He could get very angry.
After saying this, I was informed we needed to draw blood.
I was told to help hold the man while the physician drew the blood.
To top it off, the nurse who was their before us had put lotion all over this man.
As my fingers slipped, I watched as the needle tapped his skin.
The man started freaking out!!
The contaminated needle went flying and the physician screamed,
Seeing the needle coming toward me I did all I could to avoid getting poked.
The physician lunged forward and grabbed it.
I did everything in my power to hold this man back but
1.He was super strong
The physician got the job done.
My heart rate was pretty elevated and my adrenaline was pumping.
To a lot of people that experience would have been it.
Flying needles, angry patients, over it. Medicine ain’t worth it.
However, oddly enough, I loved it.
When we walked out of that house I was filled with an overwhelming amount of zeal.
This man needed treatment and we were going to risk our well-being in order to help him.
I saw courageous humility.
This is what being a physician is about.
Healthcare is no easy task, it is a life of sacrifice.
Yet, if that sacrifice is your vocation, it is not difficult.
It is awesome.
So, when I am sitting at home reading book after book, chapter after chapter….
And it feels really really difficult. My bed is always looking so comfy.
I am reminded of these moments.
Moments of flying needles and angry patients.
And I can’t help but smile because amidst the chaos.
I see the beauty of medicine.