I saw a patient today, receiving news that he would only have a few more weeks to live.
‘Why did you choose medicine?’
Whether or not it’s the interviewer from a university, a parent, or even a friend. It would always be a struggle to stay away from the cliché answers. However, as cliché as it may be, they are often as true as can be.
‘I want to be able to help others.’
‘I am fascinated by the human body.’
‘I like the good pay of the job.’
Let’s play two truths and a lie. Guess the lie.
Though today, as I had a placement at an oncology clinic, it was a completely different experience to any little girl would think of when the career of a doctor came to mind. This image had replaced the professional white coat, plastic stethoscope image that many role-play lovers would know. But I guess at some point or another, there is the need to realise that there is a time for dressing up, and there is a time to grow up.
I had come to the clinic today expecting to be inspired and once again in awe of the vast amounts of medical knowledge I have still yet to learn. Don’t get me wrong, I was inspired, just not in the same way I had expected.
Many stories, movies, TV shows had used this one word to create a swell of emotion in the audience. Based on a true story or not, it is a word that always triggers a surge of conflicting feelings that become tangled like a ball of yarn. The harder you try to untangle it all, the worse it gets. I would say that I am quite the emotional person when it comes to touching stories.
My family loves going to this book store during Saturday afternoons. Starting with a bike ride to the bubble tea store 30 minutes away, followed by an hour or so of overstaying our welcome at a bookstore where my siblings and I sit on the floor exploring bits of new worlds a week at a time. Over the summer, I had started reading ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, however, after the second weekend, I bought the book and finished it at 3am that evening, shamelessly sobbing through 4 chapters.
But being caught up in all the emotion, I had realised that this was only a story. There were people out in the world experiencing this first hand. As much as we are trained in communicating with our patients, especially on how to break the bad news, nobody has it harder than they do. I can’t imagine what would go through their mind when they first receive the news, and when it repeats itself over and over again as they struggle to accept the reality, and lastly when they get a number.
Years… Months… Weeks… Days…
Taking things for granted is a definite given situation that happens to me everyday. Everything I had, possessions, time, emotions, every second that past, I never think that maybe the next one would be the end of the world. But, why is it only when we quantify the time we have left on this earth do we really learn to cherish our time.
We always put ourselves in hypothetical situations. To micro-study our own psychology, our own thought processes.
‘What would you if you only have 24 hours left to live.’
Spend my time being generous.
Today is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. Traditionally the 40days where people aim to give up one thing or another, in remembrance of the way Jesus sacrificed His life for us on the cross. Some would give up certain foods, others give up bad habits. This year, I choose to give up and give out. To give my love, to give my time, to give all of me to serving others.
I started the 40acts challenge (http://www.40acts.org.uk/).
On top of temporarily giving up Facebook and Youtube (as my bad habits), I am going to live generously. To live like every day would be my last.
“7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
~ 1 Timothy 6:7
I came to this earth with nothing, and I can’t take anything with me but the memories I have made on this earth. I might as well use my time creating good memories, memories of making people smile, memories of making someone else’s day a little bit better, memories of giving.
40acts start today. I would recommend you to join with me, and live generously.
‘What would you do if you have 24 hours left to live.’