Having just experienced my first stay in a hospital, I have such a different perspective on the world of medicine and a deeper sense of empathy for those suffering from an illness, especially if it requires them to stay in a hospital, and for anyone who has to stay in a hospital for any reason.
Previously, I made the mistake of thinking that doctors are all-knowing. However, I have learned that they are regular human beings who have doubts and disagreements about what the problem or appropriate course of treatment might be. I am also astounded by the kind of work doctors and nurses do – what they do is unfathomable to me and I am so glad that there are in people in the world who feel called to do that type work and take care of the rest of us who can’t fathom doing what they do. They are truly incredible and deserve a tremendous amount of respect (in addition to every penny they make!)
I also gained a new perspective on a world that had previously been unknown to me. At the age of 23, I have been very healthy so far and have not needed much medical attention, aside from the annual check-up. I have never broken a bone, I have never had the flu, and I’ve never even gotten stitches. I’ve certainly never stayed in a hospital. Now, I know what it’s like to stay in a hospital and be nervous in anticipation of a diagnosis, as several doctors look after you desperately trying to figure out what’s wrong with you. Despite the kindness and knowledge of doctors and nurses, being in a hospital is a bit like being in prison (not that I’ve been in prison), but you are stuck there until they decide to release you and there’s not much to do. Once there was a diagnosis and I was finally released, I felt deep sadness and empathy for those who were still in the hospital – perhaps they were there for a chronic illness, recovering from surgery, or perhaps they were like me and anxiously awaiting a diagnosis. Whatever the case may be, as we started to drive away from the hospital I looked up at the all the brightly-lit windows and thought about the patients inside and the suffering they might be going through. A hospital is certainly not where you want to be so close to the holidays. I know I’ll be thinking of those people this Christmas, hoping they can find some courage and strength to carry on.