Thursday, April 29, 2010

More than words

'what the f?!?'' was the one question that was constantly haunting my mind. i had no idea what was going on, what happened in the past, and what would happen in the future. so i wanted answers. i was hungry for answers. but i wasnt getting any. (the truth was no one really had any answers). so listened so carefully to the prized few words of my doctors, nurses, and therapists. i held onto every word, tried to read between the lines. sometimes i even would feel hopeful or not based on their tone or attitude. like i had one doctor who was saying positive things, but he kept saying 'hopefully' in a pessimisstic voice, so i cried for hours afterward. there were some times when no one could say anything right., but every word affected me, good and bad. doctors, nurses, therapists, and anyone in the health field needs to not only recognize the huge honor that comes with the territory, but the huge responsibility you undertake. your patients are in extremely vulnerable positions, at the mercy of their illness that they dont understand, so they look to you for answers. your words hold so much power and can either make or break your patients. ive come across doctors and nurses of all kinds-some who were just awful who talked to me with insensitivity and pessimism, some who were insensitive and talked to me in baby talk, some who were uncomfortable and talked to me slow and loud like i was dumb (im no albert einstein, but im smart dammit!), and some who were amazing and talked to me with sensitivity and empathy and treated me like a normal human being. and when in doubt, they were positive. as a health professional, i think it takes a strong person to be empathettic,and it takes a brave person to be positive, but its vital. the first 3 months inthe hospital, no one really said much openly positive things. there was so much unknown, so people just didnt say anything. but then, when i started regaining some movement, the whole atmosphere changed. everyone around had a happier attitude, a more hopeful tone. everyone was so excited to see what moved next. one morning, after i had regained at least one muscle in all my extremities, my resident was checking on me, and her next eight words changed my life forever..'WOW. you would be a great PM&R doctor!' (PM&R - physical medicine and rehabilitation) i was so touched she thought i could be good in her profession, but what really empowered me was the earth shattering thought that i would one day be healthy enough to be a doctor! the power of those words could last me a lifetime. i thought all my hopes and dreams had been destroyed with the stroke, but now i had a bigger and better dream to believe in. i already knew my family and friends believed in me, and now with my doctors believing in me, the sky was the limit. now, i just had to believe...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

nada fue un error

'nothing was a mistake' btw - i dont think many of you will like reading this, but read it through. they say a stroke in a young person is worse than death. they also say having 'locked in' syndrome is like being buried alive. i had both, and i would describe that as being tortured to death daily and not dying. i often think back to the day of my stroke, what if i had died then? yes, it would have saved me months and probably years of pain, suffering, and humiliation. but it would have left everyone around me utterly devastated. i always come back to the fact that i did survive and there has to be a reason for that. but it is really hard to think of that fact everyday. instead, i dont think a day has gone by where i havent thought, 'wouldnt it be better if i just give up and end this pain?' its probably sad to say, but i understand suicide. when your everyday is much worse and more painful than the unknown, when youre haunted in your daily reality by demons, when it hurts, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually to be alive, then why not? right? wrong. i may understand suicide, i dont agree with it. (so, dont worry folks, im not going anywhere. and i couldnt physically get to the top of a building even if i wanted to! but thats another story). i think suicide is the most selfish thing you can do. you would need permission to leave from every single person whos life youre a part of, and i dont think thats possible. i think it takes an extraordinarily strong person to get up and face those demons everyday, but, i havent had to be that strong, because i have had a whole army of people (and cranes) being strong for me. i remember back in medical school, on my medicine rotation, we had a patient who was on the verge of death. he had a cancer that was taking over his body. he was enduring so much pain and suffering to stay alive. he said he couldnt just give up, because he considered that suicide and that was against his religion. the difference between me and him and the reason why i survived that awful november day, is the hope that i will one day, have a better life. i think i dont have the foresight (or the height) to see over this mountain, through the smoke, to the paradise ahead, where i have a happy life. so imagine this vision and believe it for me, because sometimes, most of the time, i cant see it.