and when she speaks
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Awww. It made my heart melt
Someone said this to me.
Someone who has always believed in me. Someone who's always been there for me.
"I've always known you'd make a great doctor"
I love my job. My dream job.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Yesterday, in the call room, I texted mummy up just to say Hi- because the other day, she was reminding me to call home more often. She said she knows I'm busy, "but once in awhile, it's nice to text and ask how everyone at home is". And then, I felt guilt-ridden. Needing her to remind me to call home, I felt like a terrible daughter. Being so far away from home, I know they are always worrying about me. And - being caught up in my own world, forgetting to even drop a line to ask how they're doing- I felt so ashamed of myself, needing her reminder.She told me Auntie **** passed away. Her last few hours were pretty bad. And she added in her text message to me 'not to forget to appreciate life'.I called her up. And then, I heard her cry.And that broke my heart. She couldn't speak, because she was so choked up on her own tears, I didn't hear her voice thereafter. She passed the phone on to my sister.And I was so worried because she was driving.I called her again.
This time, I think she was holding herself back- and was definitely trying to control her emotions. She sounded calmer, I'm sure- because she didn't want me to worry. She said 'Don't worry Sue' at least 3 times- each one more insistent. We talked for a short while. And she texted me back later "Sue, cherish life and family. Remember to call home more often. Family is love. Don't overwork, there is no need to impress. Take care of yourself. Love you lots. muacks" There is never a good thing that comes out of a battle especially when young kids are involved and they've lost a parent. All the aunties got together - some very very old friends- for her wake, and left with a daunting realization that at any one time, you can lose someone so quickly (and she was only 51 years old)- and that nothing really matters other than the people you love and care so much for.Mummy, I promise to call home more often. I love you all lots
"Wait, Dr Lai!"I turned back from the door 'Yes, my dear?'
She was a patient who was severely depressed a week and a half ago, with a new diagnosis of leukemia. Just finished chemotherapy yesterday and is doing much much better. She dug her drawer for a few seconds... I said 'I can come back later for whatever you want to show me, if you want' 'No No, I'll find it.'She handed me an envelope with a thank you card. I opened it and it made my day! Here's what it read:- " Dear Dr Lai,
I appreciate you so very much. I like your professionalism as well as the mild spunkiness. You make me feel at ease and you are sweet. Thanks for being you. The world needs more people like you in it. I know you want me to understand my disease and I believe you want me to beat it. Thanks for your overall concern and all you've done to make my time here pleasant."I was so touched.
It makes working hard so so worthwhile.
I'm happy :)
Sunday, October 03, 2010
A few days ago, our hospital was shattered emotionally with news that one of our colleagues, from my year of doctors- and a friend of mine whom I had recently worked with - had passed away. He committed suicide. How he died- they did not share that with us. But this was most unexpected. He had the whole world going for him. All his friends loved him. He was caring, charismatic, loving, always had his pager on even at home and his patients loved him because he was so caring, so warm--- he was confident, outgoing, personable, well-liked- and looked like he had it all together. Family and friends all loved him. I barely worked with him for a whole month, and we were exchanging smileys on text and he'd be texting me funny patient cases on my days off when I wasn't at work- that was how friendly and open he was. He was there for me, for support when I needed it at work. He gave me advice, we'd share hugs for each other when we were overworked and stressed out. He was so generous with his warmth and compassion and kind heart- to all his friends, to everyone.. He 'd openly say 'Aww, come here' and throw his arms around you and give you a big bear hug... He presented for grand rounds (this massive presentation where tonnes of doctors come) and ended this presentation with a picture of him and his gay partner in front of the tallest tree in the world, and we all laughed. He was going to work with terminally ill patients, dying patients- and go into Palliative care - where priority is comfort for those patients. He was going to give his whole life and devote it to those sick patients. And to think, how ironic- that was why none of us could comprehend how he could have done such a thing- to leave all those who cared for him behind- the very opposite of a selfless act; what threw him off the edge? what was he thinking before he did it... I cannot comprehend. why couldn't he reach out for help like the way his patients reached out to him? what was so hard about doing that?We all broke down crying when we heard the news. It was so unreal, yet it was real. Our own friend. What's so scary- is that we always think it'd never happen to our friends, especially when they seem so normal to you and look like they have no issues.My program director told us yeserday 'males have a higher success rate in committing suicide'' and "doctors have the highest success rate because they know how to do it and get it done"And the message that they were so desperate in trying to get across was that they 'desperately care for all of us' and wanted us all to seek help if we needed it, to reach out for the available support systems within the hospital...our chief of mdicine that old man I was telling u about said this; " we all love you very much. but you guys think its just a phrase. Its not. We really do love you all' and to that last statement, I couldn't hold back the emotions anymore. he broke down, all the chiefs broke down too.The atmosphere in the hall was so melancholic, so heart-wrenching. we all lost a friend, an amazing doctor who was amazing with his patients.How real it felt. how unimaginable it was. just a few days we had him with us, and now he was gone. Its so frightening and scary how this is actually more common than it is. After work yesterday, I went for a career talk at a restaurant where i bumped into more doctors, and we all shared hugs, and shared a silent understanding o f how thankful we were to have each other and a solid support group.I feel, in medicine in particular, the notion of appreciating people around you is always there in your face. when you see your patients die in front of your eyes, when you see their loved ones always there in their room sacrificing all semblance of a normal life just to be there by their side, when you see people you care for slip away, both physically or into a world where their mental status is no more cognizant... it makes you grasp at life even stronger- and in a way, its bad (for me,in sacrificing sleep to be with people or obliging people) but Im also always questioning what I do.Our chief told us yesterday never feel guilty. because none of us saw this coming, none of us could have stopped this.Life is so precious.
Life is so precious,
And each day is a gift.
So enjoy every minute,
As it were your last to live.
Cherish your loved ones,
Hug them tight,
Share with them your heart,
And your time.
Nothing is forever,
And life goes so fast,
Each minute that passes,
Is one you can’t get back.
When troubles arrive,
And knock you off your feet,
Stand up and smile,
And remember life is too sweet.
Every morning when you wake,My patients are fighting for their lives, battling an illness that they never asked for (cancer) ---- and seeing them makes me appreciate what I have everydayLots of love, always Sueyi -so cliche- butCherish those around you and let them know you appreciate them and that you're there for themRest in Peace, my dear friend.
Decide right from the start,
That “Today will be a good day”
And let it all in with an open heart.