Connection Makes a Difference

I entered this hospice volunteer program with perhaps more exposure to medicine and serious illness than the average student. Over the past several years, I’ve done a lot of shadowing with a trauma and acute care surgery team. I’ve witnessed sickness and death. These experiences have been very informative and important to my growth as … Continue reading “Connection Makes a Difference”

Moments to Memories

In September, I had the chance to meet Madge. Madge had been at the care center for a while before I began to visit her every Saturday. She was always either sleeping in her bed or chair. I tried waking her up at first, but when that didn’t work, I tried visiting at different times … Continue reading “Moments to Memories”

Hospice and Me: A Reflection on Patient Encounters

Dr. H struck me as a very sweet-tempered and genuinely caring person when I first met him. This has not changed as I have gotten to know him better. When his eyes light up at the mention of his wife coming to visit, or when his voice speaks of his children’s achievements with a father’s … Continue reading “Hospice and Me: A Reflection on Patient Encounters”

Not Dying Alone

She cried out, “Mother, mother! Don’t leave me!” I had recently concluded our visit and was walking away when Ms. B began to wail these words. My throat tightened, and I was compelled to return to sit with her. Drawing on the volunteer training, I investigated her feelings by asking a few questions. Ms. B … Continue reading “Not Dying Alone”

Dying As a Story

After nearly one academic year of participating in this hospice program, there is one event that stands out to me the most. It was the first patient assigned to me that lived with her husband and was in the late stages of Parkinson’s. She could not speak nor move, however, she was aware of her … Continue reading “Dying As a Story”

Death as Part of Life

Growing up, I had only been exposed to one particular physician image; the hero doctor. As a child, the carefully constructed representation of physicians as miracle workers was very appealing. The doctor was the champion of life, prolonging it and saving it, always resulting in smiles and joy from families and patients. I desperately wanted … Continue reading “Death as Part of Life”

Sparkling in the End

I had never thought about death and how people should spend the time in the end deeply before participating in this program. It is always very difficult to relate myself to death and even relate death to anything else. But now, I feel I can count the steps of death and depict the anxious approaching … Continue reading “Sparkling in the End”

Death as a Friend

In our orientation meeting we chose some words we identified death with. I chose the word “friend”. I felt that death can be a wave of relief, an exit from pain, and can be a friend to those nearing it. In my hospice volunteer experience, I learned a few more things. Death comes often and … Continue reading “Death as a Friend”

Caring for the Dying

Caring for the Dying An excerpt from my untitled poem about my hospice experience: You are dying But you are still living Que sera sera All this time, we lived parallel lives. But for the past 8 months, our lives intersected every Saturday. Since the start of the Pre-med Hospice Program, I have visited one … Continue reading “Caring for the Dying”

Definition of time

Dr. Lucy Kalanithi said, “We’re at this weird point in history where we have all this technology and the impulse is to keep using it, even if it’s at times creating more suffering” (Prompt). As a future surgeon, I truly believed, and still do believe, that innovation and technology progresses the world we live in … Continue reading “Definition of time”