There are no words that can adequately describe how moved I am from the overwhelming generosity of the IOKDS community in supporting me on my journey to become a physician. Your kindness motivates me even further to do all that I can to help people. As I come to the close of my first month in the hospital, I wanted to share a story of an amazing patient I had the pleasure of meeting. Mr. V., an 89-year old gentleman came to the hospital from the nursing facility he resided in after being found unresponsive with a low blood pressure. Testing revealed that he developed pneumonia and damaged his kidneys. His family rushed to the hospital and together with the medical team, we all discussed Mr. V.’s goals of care and what he would’ve wanted if he had the ability to make decisions. With a heavy heart and tears, the family decided that no aggressive treatment would be done to reverse his kidney damage as it was not what he would’ve wanted but did agree to supportive care to make him comfortable and antibiotics for his pneumonia.
His first few nights in the hospital were an uphill battle. He was barely arousable and his kidney function continued to decline. I went to see him every morning and he could barely open his eyes let alone speak to me. At the request of the family, the hospital chaplain came to pray for Mr. V. and together, they said their goodbyes, but were committed to being with him in his last days. As a devout catholic, he instilled the values of faith in his family, who shared stories with me about his love for God. They also brought his rosary beads from home and placed them beside his head so that should he awake, he could use them. Over the next few days, to everyone’s surprise, he became more alert and eventually was able to converse with me. One Saturday morning, I went by his room to see how he was doing and saw him sitting in a chair, covered with a blanket, watching the royal wedding. He told me that he made it to the chair by himself with no help and thought the ceremony was beautiful. As I left his room, I thought to myself, “wow, he’s going to make it, this is truly a miracle!”
On Mr. V.’s last day in the hospital, I was warmly greeted by his family who expressed their gratitude for what the medical team had done. He called me over to his bedside and said, “I’m so grateful that The Lord sent you and your team to help me. I wouldn’t have made it otherwise. Thank you for everything.” I was so moved by his words; I grew up always believing that medicine and faith worked in tandem. Many people see them as separate entities, but I believe it takes a combination of caring healthcare professionals and God’s miracles to heal people. His words were confirmation of this. I didn’t think I was making as much of a difference in his care as the novice medical student on the team who still has so much to learn, but he changed my perspective on how invaluable I was to his recovery. Even in his daze, he noticed my presence and took the time to acknowledge that I mattered to him. His 90th birthday was soon approaching so I conversed with him about what plans he had for this momentous occasion. He and his family each gave me a big hug as we said farewell to one another. As I walked down the hallway, I felt a huge smile cross my face knowing that everything worked out. Upon reflection, I realized Mr. V. and his family taught me a few important lessons. They reminded me of the precious gift that is life and how powerful of a healing tool love and prayer can be. Finally, I am reminded that although I am still a student, I can make a positive impact on the lives of others. These lessons I will cherish as I continue to learn and grow as a budding physician.