Originally, I came to the Pre-Med Hospice program after hearing about it through my pre-med advisor. I thought it would be a fitting experience to have on my resume. From what I had heard, Hospice would put me a unique environment which most pre-med undergraduates or even medical students do not usually see. I discovered, first hand, that Hospice had that reputation for a reason. Coming in, I was completely unaware of how much I would learn, or rather, come to realize by the end of my experience. I had the privilege of knowing two patients over the course of my time at hospice. My first patient and I met over the course of last fall, for about a two-month period. Unfortunately, he passed away during winter break. I was assigned a new patient for the spring semester who I came to know well, and it was my relationship with this patient that was most meaningful to me during my time at Hospice.
Mr. C was a really cheerful man, and he loved to talk. I think that was why we got along so well. The first couple of weeks, we familiarized each other about each of our pasts and upbringings. Once, we were comfortable with each other, which happened quickly, we were able to talk about hardships and different “deeper” subjects. Yet, it was never just me asking the questions; he wanted to know just as much about me. There was also Lindsey, his best friend, who was constantly over his house checking in on him and taking care of him. I was able to get to know her well too. I eventually learned that both of them had considerably rough pasts. It is difficult to recreate our dynamic in writing, but both of them grew to trust me and appreciate my company, and I, theirs.
Conversing with both Lindsey and Mr. C was eye opening, and I think it had an impact on all of us. After hearing their stories, one of the most significant things I realized was that there is always someone with a greater burden than your own. In the busy routine of daily life, work, or school, the stress or workload we find ourselves with often closes us to other people’s needs or issue. At least for me, when I am stressed I tend to only focus on how I can fix my situation. I might even complain about how much work I have compared to other people and so on. In light of this, I believe it is important to consider other peoples’ condition amidst our own problems.
I have heard that many doctors, especially ER doctors —the field I want to specialize in— are “cold” and do not give much thought to the patient holistically. Sometimes, I think the word “patient” is too depersonalized; after seeing so many, maybe some doctors just see “patient” as the next person in line. However, what I learned from Lindsey and Mr. C is that each patient is an individual with a unique story, often one that can give new perspective. As a future doctor, it will be my job to help others. Having said that, I want to show my patients that I will care for them wholly even if I am busy or stressed, at work or at home.