(A glimpse into my life as a Vanderbilt medical student)

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Friendships and Hyperkeratosis

"We can't have the happiness of yesterday without the pain of today. That's the deal." -Joy Gresham, Shadowlands.

Today in neuro, we discussed the books that we had read on Alzheimer's. If you have been following my posts, you know that mine was Losing My Mind by Thomas DeBaggio. I figured that it would just be a simple discussion about the sad nature of the disease and then I could go on with my day. Although the book was interesting and poignant, as someone who has no immediate family afflicted with this disease, I thought it wouldn't be a big deal to discuss it.

I was wrong. Dr. Norden has this way of approaching a topic so as to directly relate it to your personal life. I had never thought of having an individual that I love slowly slip away and become someone that they are not. Forty years of marriage obliterated by a simple little illness. How vulnerable we become when we truly love someone.

My friends in my pictures might be gone tomorrow and with each new friend, my odds of being hurt are increased. Should I gamble?

As a practicing physician, the stakes will be even higher. How can I empathize effectively and not be injured emotionally with every death on the wards? As I progress through medical school, the emotional callous is slowly forming. I am aware of this change and grateful to Dr. Norden for stressing the importance of emotion. What a shame to blindly pursue clinical competency at the expense of compassionate healing.


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3:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knowing you for the past 18 years, I must say with complete confidence, that you will be a great doctor. Not only are your brillant, but you truly are a compassionate healer, and I'm so thankful that they emphasize compassion in med school. God truly has given you a sensitive and compassionate heart and called you to medicine. Watch out world for God is going to do amazing things to touch people through Dr. Rob Thomas.

12:58 PM

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