Showing posts with label #humanity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #humanity. Show all posts

Monday, December 5, 2016

#LIGHTtheWORLD: The Art of Medicine is the Love of Humanity



"I do hereby affirm my loyalty to the profession I am about to enter.  I will be mindful always of my great responsibility to preserve the health and the life of my patients, to retain their confidence and respect both as a physician and a friend who will guard their secrets with scrupulous honor and fidelity."
Hippocrates said:   
"Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity."   

What does it mean to be a healer?  Did you know that physician really means teacher?  It actually makes perfect sense.  Doctors spend many, many years learning and their whole careers teaching.  Some do actually teach at medical schools and other universities, but healing is actually teaching.  A doctor is teaching his or her patients all day, every day.  They're drawing the anatomy requiring surgery or other intervention.  They point to charts and models teaching patients how to manage diabetes.  A physician takes whatever is available, even a paper towel from above the sink, to draw an explanation of a problem and its solution.  They teach us what to watch out for, when to call them back, and when to go straight to the Emergency Department.  A doctor teaches us how to get and stay healthy, stop smoking, lose weight, and get a healthy blood pressure.  The best doctors are the ones that take their own advice and are the pictures of health themselves.  


Above is a picture of our son this summer, donning his short coat for the White Coat Ceremony, marking the beginning of medical school.  The long white coat is earned upon graduation.  The new medical class all stood and recited this oath, part of which I've presented here.  I thought it remarkable to ask them this early to "affirm loyalty to the profession."  If any people were in this to become wealthy, this ought to make them squirm.  Many doctors do get rich, but this is the art of healing people, loving people and respecting people and I have no doubt that many would still want to do it, even if it paid less.  Many have had experiences that have driven them to want to be healers.  It is my opinion that they will make better doctors than the ones simply in it for the prestige and paycheck.  

Let me tell you a small part of my son's story.  He had a bad accident when he was 22 months old, requiring am ambulance ride and emergency surgery.  I know he can't remember that event, but he has heard us talk about for the rest of his life and he knows the outcome he was blessed with was a miracle.  He knows personally the powers of healing.  Both from the gifted hands of the surgeon who helped him and from our loving and all-knowing Heavenly Father who granted us all a miracle that day.  He also suffered excruciating earaches and infections from infancy to toddlerhood.  You might think with all of his trips to see the people in white lab coats that he would have grown up with disdain for the doctor's office, but the opposite is true.  

Our son didn't like being the patient at all, but when he was in that setting, he was mesmerized with all of the science behind it.  He wanted to know how the stethoscope worked, how the otoscope worked, why they were taking his blood pressure, and the why of why he needed immunizations to enter public school.  He wanted to watch what the doctor was doing and look at all the gadgets and gizmos.  He dreamed of having a microscope of his own.  He started making plans as a little boy to be a heart doctor.  He poured over National Geographic about the heart and human anatomy and wanted anatomy books for Christmas.  One of his first toys as a little boy was a surgery doll where the soft doll's organs could be removed from a Velcro-closed tummy.  Even the brain was removable.  The little doll's jammies zipped back up and the doll was good as new after the surgery performed by a 3-year-old.  As he got older he read medical case histories and biographies and memoirs of renowned surgeons.  He did science fair projects and grew live Strep and Staph cultures in our home.  He did get that microscope, a gift from his good grandpa who found an excellent specimen at a surplus sale at the university where he taught.  He brought the glass slides and crystal violet to stain the bacteria samples.  This boy was in heaven.  

We all learned just how difficult it is to become a physician.  You really can't just wake up one day and decide to do it.  Well, you can, but it won't happen the next day.  It takes years of planning and preparing, service hours and service projects, leadership experience, research planning and orchestrating, writing skills, people skills, good grades, graduating college, physician shadowing, MCAT scores, interviews and more.  And then there are the decisions about where to apply and why, the financial cost, and the living arrangements.  

While we were watching this all unfold, there were some roadblocks along the way.  People telling him it was too hard.  An important university research project fell through 2 weeks before the trip to Peru.  Changing majors.  Physics.  General Chemistry.  Organic Chemistry.  Organic Chemistry again.  So many labs and credit hours in any given semester it was almost impossible to work a job other than tutoring Chemistry.  Exhaustion, self-doubt, burnout and anxiety.  All because he wanted a unique opportunity of helping people.  There were also miracles and connections and experiences to build faith all along the way.  Tender mercies like being asked to translate Spanish to English during oral surgeries performed in a third-world country while on his mission for our church.  A new and better research project literally floating down from Heaven into his lap right after the other one fell through.  Good jobs with connections working around his hectic school schedule.  Meeting amazing people on service trips that later wrote letters of recommendation.  And making real friends with doctors he shadowed who continue to support and encourage him.  

It's enough to write a whole book about.  The important thing to know is that this boy of mine has never studied on Sunday.  He has always attended Church.  He has always found time to enjoy the little things like learning new songs on the guitar or writing his own, playing basketball with friends and with strangers, and visiting with his parents and sister on the deck outside.  And he has maintained that he wanted to be a doctor.  He has been committed to his own health and wellness and encouraged it in others.  He may have needed several pep talks in order to not give up and walk away from it all, but in the end, he got himself on that road to become a physician.  And now medical school is a whole new gig.  


It's a whole new gig because of the profoundly gifted class of students he's a part of.  These are amazing people!  He's making connections and friends and has mentors everywhere.  His Church ward is supportive and a blessing.  The material he is learning is what he's passionate about.  The intensity is what makes it so worthwhile.  Anything difficult is worth doing.  And now he has a beautiful new bride to share this with him, to help him learn, to learn along side him in her own pursuits and interests, and to create a formidable team ready to serve humanity and God, together.  

To my son I say this.  You worked so hard for so long to even get a ticket to this incredible journey.  I know you're exhausted and your eyes hurt, that a week to just rest on the couch with your new bride sounds like the epitome of luxury to you right now.  That all you really want for Christmas is just time.  Time with your bride, time with your family, time with your friends, and time in Church all together as a family.  I know it's difficult to become a doctor because if it were easy, everyone would do it, and that's just not the way it's supposed to be.  Medicine demands and deserves people who want to be healers so badly that they will sacrifice sleep to study and studying to make dinner for their spouse.  Mankind needs healers who will listen and who care about people, not Porsches.  It needs family men who honor wives and children.  The world needs men who honor God and are obedient to Him.  If you continue to put God and your own wife first, school second, then every single other thing will fall into place, just like it always has.  There might be ear infections along the way or flat bike tires and dead car batteries.  But in the end, it will all work to your good. 


To your loving wife, I say this.  You are a miracle in your own right, just like you came down from Heaven on Special Delivery.  You bless our son's life every day because of your goodness, sweetness, faith, humility, charity, kindness, and loyalty to God.  What a blessing you are.  You are work so hard and you too, are a healer.  Yes, you are. You heal and strengthen others with your faith, your quiet tenderness, your grace, and your completely guileless nature.  Please never take for granted how important your role is in all of this because it is a team effort and you together with that young husband are winning every single day.  

I love how the scriptures refer to Jesus as the Master Physician because He heals us from our infirmities, saves us from physical death, restores spiritual life to us if we repent, and teaches us about God, our Eternal Father whose work He came here to do.  He always put His Father first, then other people, and never himself.  He was and is the ultimate example.  He is a teacher and an example.  He wants us to be well and safe.  

To anyone wanting to become a doctor, please go for it and don't give up!  It's hard, but that's what makes it so worthwhile.  If God planted that seed in your heart, then wouldn't it be a shame not to see it come to fruition?  You can do it.  There are so many people to help you.  


To people like me who aren't going to become doctors, we can still be healers.  We can help heal hearts by forgiving freely, by being kind, listening honestly, sacrificing some of our comforts for those of others, remembering to keep confidences that have been confided in us, and being trustworthy.  We wouldn't go to see a doctor who told everyone about our health histories; it is indeed healing behavior to keep sacred the things others share with us.  We can stop judging.  Sister Jean Bingham said that one of the highest forms of charity is simply to withhold judgement.  We can notice people and give aide when it's needed and it's something we can do.  We can pray for people.  We can fast for them and think of them kindly.  We can be patient with people and situations.  

I'm grateful my son desires to be a physician and a helper to people.  I'm grateful for his sweet companion who supports him in this.  I'm grateful for their union which will be a strong force for good in this world.  I am grateful for what they are giving up in order to help others, for their commitment to being selfless and good.  I'm likewise grateful for my doctors I've had help from over the years and especially the ones helping me now; they are amazing people and I consider them my friends and trust them implicitly.  Thank Heaven for people on a mission to help others.  It is my opinion that the most noble profession garnering a paycheck is that of teaching, followed very closely in second place by doctoring.  Motherhood is the most noble, but there is no paycheck for that, and that's a post for another day.