At one brief moment in my life I wanted to be a doctor. Then I found out how long doctors actually stayed in school. And how much work they actually put in. And how they got to work with cadavers in med school and deal with the sight of blood every day. And that was the end of my desire to being a doctor.
These days, I try to avoid hospitals as much as I can. If I do have to go to the hospital, I always feel an uncontrollable anxiety at the pit of my stomach. It is manageable but not negligible. On the rare occasions when I’ve had to accompany family members to the emergency room, I am always grateful that I am the youngest family member in the room. And that my mother or my sister, who is a doctor, is with me.Someone always manages to take charge.
I always feel so helpless when I am around people in pain. I do not know quite how to react. I feel like I should do something but at the same time I feel like I might just make things worse. The sight of blood is repellant not because I am afraid of it but because I don’t know what to do with it. And so I sit there with all the chaos surrounding me. And make myself as unobtrusive as possible. And pray that someone else takes charge of the situation.
I have met some wonderful medical professionals in my life who have nursed me and my family members back to health. But I have met some too that I wished would have been more caring and more patient. It is true that medical professionals are often overworked and underpaid. But it is also true that the only people who ever go to the hospital are those who can no longer endure the discomfort and the pain that they feel. And when you are that sick person, when you realize that you really don’t know anything about the body you thought you could control and when you are suddenly confronted with your own mortality (or with the mortality of someone you love), you don’t want to be treated as a patient, you want to be treated as a person.
Whenever I come across a particularly wonderful medical professional, I suddenly think of my students. Please let them be one of those people, I pray. Help them see that it is a vocation and not just a profession. Help them remember that it is Christ who is asking for their healing and Christ himself who heals through them.
[Originally written in TACKED THOUGHTS for The Freeman
by Nancy Unchuan Toledo]