prissi: (prissi: fairy doctorperson(-in-training))

teach me to smile again

Snow Angel is returning. I have to try.
She wore Snow Angel the first time she held a scalpel in her hand, the gift of a kind woman who sent her a tiny vial of the desperately sought-after oil even though she had little to offer her in return. It made her smile. Light and bubbly, sweet and playful, exuberant, a girlish smile -- just like her.

She wore Snow Angel on her twenty-first birthday, the gift of beloved friends who had decided that the scent had been created by distilling the essence of her soul and so gathered up enough money between themselves to buy her a bottle, tracking down a person willing to give up theirs in the process. She smiled so hard she cried.

She wore Snow Angel to the most important interview of her life. She walked through the hospital and into the pavillion housing the school of medicine, head held high, reminded of the unconditional love and support of her family and friends with every sniff of her wrist. Her interviewers asked her about her vulnerability. Her interviewers questioned her on how she would handle death. Her interviewers backed her into the wall and asked her about ethics and how she'd handle insurance companies and decisions and lying. But at the end of it all, her interviewers smiled.

She smiled, too.

She was wearing Snow Angel when the phone rang a few days before Christmas. "The Admissions committee met recently," said the dean of admissions, "and we have decided to extend an offer of admission for you to join our freshman class next year. Merry Christmas." It wasn't a white Christmas, but it was the most beautiful Christmas she had ever known. She smiled so big, she thought her heart was going to burst.

She wore Snow Angel to her white coat ceremony the next year. She stood there among her fellow student physicians, clad in perfectly starched white coat and stethoscope, smiling so big that her cheeks hurt as she took the Physician's Oath. Twenty one years and a childhood dream, years of hard work and tears, and she had finally arrived.

She wore Snow Angel to her dedication ceremony later that winter, standing as one with her classmates and professors, fellow physicians all -- student and teacher, mentor and mentored. Dedicated with a prayer; dedicated for service and love and learning and wholeness.

She smiled. For she knew what it meant. Love and caring and pain and tears and stress and late nights of cramming. But she knew the story was so much bigger than her. It was the miracle of life and birth on OB-GYN; how things went right so many times, more often than thing went wrong. It was death and the frailty of the human race staring her straight in the face on PICU. It was the righteous anger that crept into her heart when she heard them say "possible NAT" as she stared at the impossibly colored bruises. But she was there. She would be there. She would love. She would fight even when the odds seemed impossible. She would go on even when she thought that she couldn't give any more.

But most importantly of all, she would always smile.
my heart is: okay
prissi: (Default)

You shall love your neighbor as You love yourself

RELR 701: Orientation to Religion and Medicine
Week One Reflection: The Good Samaritan
August 15, 2007

Too Busy

To be honest, I’ve never paid much attention to the Good Samaritan sculpture. I’ve walked by it more times than I can count and hurried by it even more, and yet I would probably be hard-pressed to tell you exactly where it is, except for a vague “Oh, it’s over there, kind of near the dental school.” I think it may have even gotten to the point that I don’t even see it anymore; I’m too busy. I must have passed it this afternoon as I ran from the shuttle drop-off to the chapel, late for practice, but even now as I sit here and try to visualize it in my mind, I can only remember a few spots of muddy grass, two bees I nearly collide with, and the feel of the springy grass under my feet as I run. The last time I can recall actually noticing it was on the first day of school, when I gave Vicky a mini-tour of the campus as we walked to the tables near the dental school to wait for Gordon to pick us up. I stopped then, despite being overloaded with textbooks and folders and three bags full of papers and my personal effects. I saw the stones and the metal and the fence and the plants. I pointed. “And that’s the Good Samaritan sculpture.”

Odd, that.

In that moment, aware that Vicky wasn’t familiar with the campus, I allowed myself to break through the haze of thoughts and ponderings and impossibly long lists of things to do that usually fill my mind in every waking moment. I noticed because I allowed myself to become aware; I noticed because I let myself see the world through someone else’s eyes.

I noticed because I took the time to pause and see.

As I sit here now, I almost start to wonder if that’s why the priest and the Levite didn’t stop to help the man lying helpless on the road. Maybe their minds were clouded with thoughts about the oppressive situation the Jews were in. Maybe they walked that road, deep in prayer, begging for God to show himself, for God to return to them, for God to save them, unaware that God was right there in front of their eyes, prostrate on the ground, bleeding and helpless. Maybe they were late for the evening sacrifices or their robe fitting or an examination of a house with mildew.

Maybe they, too, were too busy.

It’s a sobering thought. Too busy. Too busy to notice a dying man. Too busy to notice a work of art. Too busy to notice that my sister needs to hear an encouraging word from me. Too busy with labs and memorization and exams. Too busy to note the slight trembling in Mrs. Jane Doe’s voice as she tells me that really, everything is fine, and yes, isn’t it a lovely day out? Too busy with writing progress notes and pondering differential diagnoses and properly presenting the case to the attending to notice that what Mr. Smith over in room 380 really needs right now is someone to talk to, not someone to fix him.

Is that really the kind of doctor, no — doctor, daughter, sister, and friend — that I want to be? Too busy to perceive other people’s needs?

Is that what the story really means? To slow down, to stop, to listen, to notice, to understand?

If so, I just have to laugh at how God, knowing His creation’s tendency to forget, placed such a powerful lesson in the middle of the school as a constant reminder to never be too busy to help my neighbor.
my heart is: exhausted