Being the Patient Yourself

How does it feel for a doctor to get sick? I really can’t tell you from a doctor’s point of view because I would have to be one myself, but I can tell you that being a patient, no matter who you are, really sucks. Here I am, fascinated by the way medicine heals the human body so effectively, if taken in the right amount, at the right time and in the right condition. However, what really sucks is when that medicine doesn’t help and all you can rely on is time…

This Saturday morning, I spent my time volunteering at Medical Bridges here in Houston, which is a place where they sort and organize medical supplies that need to be shipped to various developing countries. I thought this would be a really interesting experience for me. I could literally picture myself using one of those supplies one day on my future patient(s).

So, my volunteering team was told to put some latex gloves on and begin the process. We had to sort out urinary catheters, nose cannulas, blood pressure cuffs, masks, different types of syringes, etc. Then, we were told to pack them into assorted sizes of boxes for shipping. I honestly couldn’t have enjoyed anything else better than this. Or not really…..

Even if it was just sorting out supplies and boxing them, I knew that my tiny effort in this process could potentially change some patient’s life. Some doctors in developing countries did not even have the medical supplies to provide health care to their fellow citizens. This caused me to be melancholy, because living in a luxurious country full of medical practitioners and medical supplies, most of us don’t realize the value of what we have. The people in Nigeria, Sudan, Argentina, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and some other countries, are really the ones who desperately need these things. I am not saying we don’t but it is always good to contribute some of the supplies that we have to these countries. I really, really, respected the work that this particular organization did.

Doing all this volunteering really gave me pleasure. However, that pleasure only lasted for about an hour. After that, I started feeling my body burn and developed raised skin bumps, a reaction to an allergy that I had. I didn’t know what that allergy was and just assumed it would go away. When I came out, my arms were covered with hives and I knew that I immediately had to go to the doctor and get medicine. I did get medicine, and took it for about 2 days, but it still didn’t go away. Perhaps I was developing an allergy for latex or some other instrument I dealt with that day. The point, however, was that I couldn’t function normally and really needed help. I didn’t even touch my books for 2 days and felt useless.

My huge concern, which actually should have been my the least of my concerns, was that I was potentially allergic to a medical instrument or latex gloves and I wanted to be a doctor !!! This was kind of ironic too because I dealt with latex gloves all the time in high school dissections. Anyway, being the patient really sucked and if there is anything I have learned, it is that take care of your body. Your body is your temple and therefore, you must protect it from viruses, bacteria, etc.  If I can’t protect myself, then how do I expect myself to take care of patients when I become a doctor?!

Thought of the day.. Just thought I would share this with all my fellow bloggers or blog-readers…



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