Thursday, March 9, 2017

Gratitude and Joy

Two days in and I’m already overwhelmed with all that I’ve seen, heard, and done. After we arrived on Sunday, the nerves and anxiety associated with this trip began to sink in. I didn’t know how much help I would be, how well I would be able to communicate with patients, or if I would be able to make a difference at all. After yesterday and today I can confidently say that those worries have vanished. I can physically see the difference we are making in these people’s lives.

This difference comes in many shapes and sizes. Yesterday I saw it while working alongside Rabi Abie in glasses. Many of the elderly patients coming in had lived their whole lives without even knowing what good vision is. It was so rewarding to have a patient walk in nearly blind and leave with almost perfect eye sight. Even if we couldn’t improve their sight significantly, every single patient showed a tremendous amount of gratitude and joy. It really made me question how much we take for granted in the United States.

Another place I saw this difference was when I was shadowing Dr. Richard. While he taught me a lot about internal medicine, he taught me even more about doctor-patient relationships. The amount of time and energy he puts into each patient is truly amazing. Each patient was given so much attention and care. He never made a diagnosis or wrote a prescription without fully examining every aspect of the patient.   I would be lucky to be a physician as thorough and caring as him.

Joe Kavanagh

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