Lessons to be Learnt

I’ve always been fascinated with the complexity and mysteries of the human body, and how medicine attempts to solve the puzzling questions of the human body. Medical school provides a comprehensive scope of knowledge that a doctor will need to know when treating and diagnosing patients. However, programs such as Holisticare Hospice exposes students to another important aspect of medicine: the emotional side. Hospice has been an extremely challenging yet rewarding experience. Although my prospective career as a doctor is far away, I believe hospice has exposed me to an environment that will prove beneficial.
Leonard Flecknoe has been my main patient throughout the program. Leonard has aphasia, making it extremely difficult to communicate with him. Helene Flecknoe, Leonard’s wife, moved into the nursing home with Leonard and has been assisting with Leonard’s care throughout the year. During my time in the program I have developed a close relationship with Helene and have become a source of emotional support for her. Although Leonard was my official patient I felt that I had taken Helene on as a second patient, trying to help her cope with the new changes in her life. Helene began to have trouble dealing with her emotions, often feeling sad and angry at the thought that her life had come down to one room in a nursing home. Through my weekly visits, Helene began to find comfort by confiding in me her troubles and thoughts of her transition into the nursing home, as well as sharing memories of her life, and encouraging me to open up about my life story. My visits became be filled with stories of Helene’s life, from the day she adopted her first child to her grandson’s first track meet. I was happy to see Helene’s happiness improve, but a part of me felt that I had begun to neglect Leonard’s emotional needs because I was so focused on Helene. With the help of Rev. Dr. Graham Robinson, I tried to develop ways in which I could include Leonard in my conversations with Helene. To this day I still believe I could be doing a better job with getting through to Leonard, but that will come with more time and experience.
I have been given an amazing opportunity to bring support and comfort to the end of a person’s life. Most people look at me and are shocked to hear that I’ve greatly enjoyed this experience. The feeling of walking into my patients’ rooms and to see their eyes light up is such an indescribable feeling. The relationship I have built with my patient, Leonard Flecknoe, and his wife Helene is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Leonard and Helene have become a part of my life this past year, and through all my own emotional ups and downs those two have stayed as a constant presence. I will forever be thankful for the extreme kindness and appreciation they have shown me. Thank you Holisticare Hospice for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime and introducing me to two wonderful people who will always have a special place in my heart.