Losing a love one is always heartbreaking and tough for many people. I lost my grandmother a few weeks ago and I have been dealing with denial and a feeling of sadness. This is the same grandmother I helped care for while in High School and it was because of her I decided to complete high school online so I could be there for her. Needless to say I am devastated.
Even through my hurt I have felt that I had to be the strong one in my family. I could not show that I wanted to cry and instead I had to comfort them. I kept thinking to myself is it going to be this hard when I become a doctor and have to give the bad news? If I get attached to a patient am I going to struggle to keep my emotions together?
Well I have seen some patients die while working at Emory University and it didn’t get to me as much but I think that is because mainly I didn’t know them well. But I did end up getting attached to many of the “regular” patients in the hospital and did end up losing one of those and felt some sadness but nothing that I could not hold back my tears.
I have seen medical students or residents leave a room after trying to resuscitate a patient with tears in their eyes. So I know it’s not easy to lose a patient. I think in a way you have to distance yourself from the patient and just keep reminding yourself this is just a part of life.
If you are pursing medicine I think it is highly important to consider the dark sides of medicine and not always focus on the idealized vision of what becoming a physician is. The dark side is that you won’t always be able to save a patient, there are politics just like any other job, and not all your patients will like or look up to you. In fact some patients are just plain disrespectful to those who are trying to help them get better. I’ve seen it time and again working at Emory. So weigh out the dark and the bright side of becoming a physician and really decide if this is for you. You don’t want to commit to all that education just to realize at the end this is not for you. To become a physician is a large commitment not only for yourself but also to your loved ones as well. You are dedicating yourself to medicine and sometimes that means sacrificing family time and other important things to you. So just be sure it is worth it to you.