Becoming a physician was the best decision of my career, even though I majored in Architecture in college – yes, that was planned! It has been so important for me to follow my heart and bring in the art to the science of medicine.
I chose this particular picture from 2018 as it tells a vivid story – and everything in my life is a story.
The elderly man next to me (now deceased) was a long-time patient of mine who volunteered for charity, ringing a bell for donations in front of a downtown Seattle store (yep, that’s the flagship Nordstrom) for two weeks before Christmas every year. Despite heart failure, arthritis and many other chronic illnesses he patiently stood for 8 hours per day, rarely sitting down, and only going inside for a few minutes to use the men’s room.
He smiled at everyone, never demanded anything. Everyone knew him and loved him.
This picture is from a day that I knew he’d be “on duty,” and I paid him a visit. It was very cold (winter!) and yet he kept smiling. I went across the street to Starbucks (yes, another original Seattle company) and bought him some hot tea and a goodie. It actually brought tears to his eyes. His hug was genuine.
I continued caring for him, even after I left my clinical job and started my own business.
Towards the very end of his life, he wanted to see me one more time and we met up at my neighborhood Starbucks for a one hour coffee chat.
Amazingly, that was the same day I “bumped into” General Barry McCaffrey (retired 4 star general of the U.S. Army) whom my patient pointed out, saying “I know him!” Yes, he had seen him on the national TV news many times, especially in the context of the Ukraine war, but he couldn’t “place him” so I engaged both in conversation and General McCaffrey was so kind to chat with both of us.
This is why I went into medicine! This and so many other stories of connection, caring, and compassion – the human experience. I wouldn’t trade my career path for anything. I love that I can still stay connected to and be of service to so many people in my new telemedicine consultation and advocacy business, myMDadvocate.
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