Monday, July 28, 2008

Do we have a right to complain?

After taking care of a wonderful patient that I couldn't help but get close to for the past month, it looks like I will finally be able to send her home tomorrow. What makes this patient so great, above others? She's only 21 years old and in her lifetime, battled two different types of cancers. As if battling two different types of cancers alone isn't inspiring enough, it's even more inspiring how she greets me with a smile each time I walk into her room and one of the most polite woman I have met.

So where does this post take me? Last week, I got an e-mail from my grandparents and once again, it highlighted on their medical woes. Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly and appreciate everything they do for me, but I have a hard time feeling bad for them when I have patients that have it worse than they do. There are parents who don't get to live to see their children go off to grade school or graduate high school. There are people who never got to enjoy the privlege of being a grandparent. There are people who haven't gotten to travel the world in their lifetime. And I certainly have a hard time feeling bad for them, knowing this patient I'm taking care of now is only 21 years old and has faced more in a lifetime than they have with medical problems. Yes, I do care if they have chronic back problems or gastric reflux. Yet, the problems are so minor compared to what my patients go through day in and day out. It is definitely nothing to complain about. Cortisone shots are nothing compared to bone marrow biopsies. An overnight stay in the hospital is certainly nothing compared to spending a month in a hospital for chemo and/or transplant. If they were to die tomorrow, I would think they lived a good life still, regardless of these medical problems. At what point, do we accept that life ends eventually, regardless if death is our fear?

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