I woke up at 6 am this morning with a really sore throat. Great. I’m getting sick, and I don’t have time for that. It must be all of the patients I’m seeing at the hospital. I cannot afford to get sick. Ugh, I hate hospitals.
I arrived at the hospital for my morning rounds with the doctors, and realized that our attending physician took the week off. The normal nice guy was replaced by a know it all tough guy, who thinks his poop doesn’t stink [you know what I mean]. He is so blunt, so scary, so intimidating. I’d hate to be one of his patients.
So there we are, three physician residents, four medical students, a pharmacy resident, two pharmacy students [that’s me], and the scary attending physician. I stay at the back of the group. Partly because I’m intimidated, but also because I feel like I don’t know everything yet, and I would literally die if this guy asked me a complex pharmacological question in front of the group and I didn’t know the answer. So I just go room to room with the team and listen. I soak up all of the knowledge mixed with arrogance and everything else in between. For the most part, I try to put a face to the medical chart and lab values I have become way to familiar with. Oh, so this is the patient who had a stroke. And this is the patient who keeps hiding her meds in her cheek to keep her blood pressure elevated in order to avoid going back to jail. Ohhh.
But today it was different. This new attending physician doesn’t know Spanish, so I was immediately brought up to the front of the group and used as an interpreter. I was nervous, and scared, but I managed. I’ll admit I don’t know all of the medical terminology in Spanish, but the patients seemed to understand me well. I pretend as if I’m speaking to one of my parents, and my nerves go away.
And then we walked into room 5306.
Another Spanish speaking patient. The frail old lady was laying on the hospital bed, calm as a cucumber. The fact that she was completely bald from chemo, or that she had a drain in her stomach didn’t bother her at all. Her daughter, overcome with concern and love, sat at her bedside. In walked our team. All 11 of us. So many white coats, stethoscopes, ipads, and glaring eyes. Once again, I made my way to the front to translate.
I won’t go into the details of why this patient was admitted to the hospital, all you should know is that she has terminal cancer. And the tests showed it had spread to her lungs.
The doctor nonchalantly told me to tell her that she had less than a year to live, and that the prognosis wasn’t good. I was completely taken aback. What? You’re not an oncologist! You’re just filling in for the nice attending physician. You’re not her primary care doctor, nor are you specialized in cancer, why are you telling her this? Why am I the one who has to say it?
So I phrased it the best way that I could. I will admit I omitted the part of living less than a year, but I made sure they understood that the cancer had spread, and that we were only trying to make her stable and comfortable. And just like that, 10 people in white coats turned around and left the room. On to a different patient. A new case. A new face.
I couldn’t move. I was literally shaking. The daughter’s face was overcome with emotion, and I wasn’t going to leave her like that. So I stayed behind. I told her that everything was going to work out for the best. And then I asked her for a hug. She nodded and ran over to hug me. And then she lost it. We both lost it, but I couldn’t let my tears flow. I told her God loves her and her beautiful mother, and that the best thing to do was to trust in Him. After all, He is the Great Physician.
I entered room 5306 with a sore throat and bad attitude, and left with a true sense of empathy, an overwhelming heart, and a new perspective on life.
32 Notes/ Hide
- wanderlust-jraiz likes this
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- ignitestrengths said: You are so wonderful. I wish we lived closer so we could convene after days like this. You’re wonderful, and I agree with makeupadventures that your love and compassion sets you apart. Love to you, lady! Hope your throat is feeling better. xoxo
- augustandafter likes this
- accordingtoandrea said: You go girl! I’m chocking back tears because of your post. You are so lovely! Spreading the gospel one patient at a time! :)
- jazblogsbeauty likes this
- sweetwatersbaby said: Hugs and tear….This literally made my day.
- mystree likes this
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- aprilbelles said: You are such an amazing and strong woman Flor!
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- kyerabianca said: You have an admirable strength and huge heart, Flor.
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- makeupadventures said: Flor, you’re amazing. Your compassion and love definitely sets you apart from the others. This was a lovely post, thank you for sharing. Hope you’re feeling better as well.
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- erthy-e said: aw honey, bless you! that made me seriously tear up. i remember being that womans daughter getting that news from a bunch of lab coats. we received that news over and over again. i always remembered the ones that hugged us and prayed with us
- srirachamonster said: You are an amazing person. Really. I feel for you so much.
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