God Gave Me a Shot

I walked into the patient room, he looked at me, and immediately screamed with all his might.

This was horror film type of shriek.

It may have been that I look like a monster being sleep deprived and without any coffee, or the fact that I was wearing a white coat.

This patient was a child and he associated the white coat with needles.

This pediatric patient and us have a lot in common.

We are faced with a lot of pain in this life. Pain that does not make any sense with our childish view of how things should be. We question God’s motives and at times question His goodness.

We are the child in the doctor’s office petrified of what is to come.

God tries to remind us with a poster on the office wall, with words such as:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him….”Romans  8:28

Yet, we don’t focus on the truths, we tend to focus on the reality: we might be getting a shot today.

Vaccines are scary for not just kids, even adults. If the shot does not hurt when it is given, it can hurt for days afterwards.

Though the pain may be there for a few days, we are now protected from a deadly illness for life.

But little kids do not understand this truth. They do not understand that now Polio is no match for them. They have eternal armor on against measles. Hepatitis can scram.

All the children dwell on is the pain.

We are very similar in our understanding of the pains we go through in life.

We must continue in our efforts to trust the Divine Physician and remember just how small our minds are compared to the love of God.

In this life we are going to be receiving a lot of vaccines.

What matters is how much we trust when we know the shot is coming.

Now is your shot.

 

 

 

 

Flying Needles and Choosing Medicine

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.

Great.

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!!

And.

He was freaking strong.

The contaminated needle went flying and the physician screamed,

“NEEDLE ON THE FIELD!!!”

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

2.The lotion!

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.

The Stranger Who Changed My Life

Have you ever felt your life change in but an instant? Most of you may know what I am talking about.

Maybe, the moment a loved one passed away?

Or, the moment you fell in love with your future spouse?

Possibly, when you won an award for something?

Those moments are great and all, but they are not what I am going to talk about today.

Today, I want to talk about a micro moment. A micro moment is such a small event it may seem insignificant. However, micro moments continue to change my life everyday. They may mean nothing to the friend or stranger that spoke or acted, but they significantly impacted my life.

Here is one of my micro-moments:

The Patient 

At my medical school, we have fake patient encounters. This allows us to practice the clinical side of medicine. Towards the end of my first semester, I had a fake clinical encounter scheduled. The entire first semester I faced a lot of adversity. I was at a school I did not intend on going to. I had not found many friends. I was struggling to keep up academically with my peers. I did not have much support. And day in and day out I was reminded that I was not good enough. I thought about quitting every night. It would be so easy wouldn’t it?

It is time for my patient encounter. I knock on the door and have a patient who apparently is experiencing burning sensation in his chest. I started the exam and ask him exactly where the pain is located. I talk to him like I would with any other patient, but he stops me midway through taking his patient history.

My first thought was that I royally screwed up.

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Patients are not supposed to break out of character during these encounters.

It is a no no.

So, for him to do this I must have said or done something pretty bad.

He starts shaking his head.

My palms start to get very sweaty.

My heart rate is elevated.

He looks me dead in the eyes and says,

“You have ******* potential kid.”

 

Shocked by his compliment I did not know what to say.

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Over the entire first semester, positive words were not what my ears were used to hearing.

The man continued to explain why he thought I would make an excellent doctor.

This conversation lasted a minute or so and that was it.

I never saw the man again.

But, this micro moment changed my life. 

In my bedroom, above the light switch, is an index card with this man’s praise. His comment to me, on that random day in November, gave me the hope in myself that I was missing. He could have just gave me a good score and moved on with it.

But no.

He stopped me dead in my tracks and filled me with encouragement.

He told me to fulfill what I was meant to do.

He saw a future me that I did not think existed.

 

It is our duty to create these micro moments for the friends and strangers around us.

 

Let us always remember this today, and live a life of love and encouragement.