Tuesday, September 1, 2015


"You are as beautiful as you are good" Then she turned to her sister and asked "right?"
Sister responds "she's very beautiful" puts her two hands together and gives a slight bow in thanks.

I was floored, very unexpected praise/compliment. I said thanks, that their mom is lovely and and speaks very highly of her daughters which reminds me of my relationship with my mother.......

Moments earlier when I sat on a chair beside the patient's bed adjusting the position of the bed to suit her, then getting a pillow to elevate her leg to make her more comfortable, only the second sister was present and she had said "isn't this a waste of your talent, I can do this for her". I said no talent is being wasted this is all part of what I do.

I'm so glad that I found my way to the specialty where I can take care of the person with the disease not just the disease. And as much as I hated my med school experience with each day that passes, I am so thankful for the excellent training I got in my med school. I now realize how good my med school is. From first year, it was not only drilled into us, we were given the opportunity to learn and practice how to see and acknowledge the person behind the disease. We learned from day one the importance of listening and communicating with your patients. History, history, history, the key to the diagnoses most of the time is history. Listen and let the patient tell you what is wrong with them.

These things are now second nature to me, it's the only way I know how to practice. Even in med school, when patients were mean and grumpy to me,  I never took it personally, I knew It was usually not about me no one enjoys being sick and in a hospital bed surrounded by the unfamiliar and fear of the unknown. Some people just handle it more gracefully than others. So these days when I receive such praise, I still continue to be floored because i'm just being myself. I don't think i'm doing anything special.

 When you tell a patient or their family member you will do something, never blow it off, find time to do it, otherwise don't say you will you it. I learned this while before med school while working at the psych hospital and it was again emphasized in med school. The other day, a very nice patient was talking about wanting to understand more about what was going on with her any was going to google it. I said, why not let me get you information from a great source that doctors use all the time (Up to date anyone? :). When i actually brought her the information right before she was discharged, she was surprised and thanked me for remembering. I said, if i tell you i'm going to do something, then i do it.
I was actually called by the attending to meet him to round on that patient, instead of rushing down, i took the extra two-three minutes i needed to pull up the information and print it out before going to meet him. He rounded on the patient without me, cos she was just getting discharged. When i was walking towards the room, he told me he already saw the patient and i told him i had to give her the information she requested on her illness, and he said oh good! .

It's the little things that count. As a med student, I would watch patients or their families during rounds and often see the confusion on their faces. Too much information, sometimes a lot of doctor speak going on. A lot of patients are not comfortable asking questions for fear of exposing their ignorance or not wanting to challenge the doctor. If they were my patients, I always went back after rounds to clarify, fill in gaps and just generally get everyone on the same page. I would always tell family members and patients that they were the best advocate for themselves and they needed to speak up, ask questions, know why they were being put on the medications they were prescribed.

I had a dream on Sunday that I was still trying to get into med school and I was very discouraged about getting in and was thinking of giving up. It was such a vivid dream and I was SO relieved to realise when I woke up that it was just a dream. That not only have I gotten into med school, I'm done with it and i'm now a doctor. It was a reminder to focus on how far I've come and how much i overcame to get here. I wasn't very happy the whole month of August and I needed to be reminded that my life could be a whole lot worse.

I remain thankful. Always!


  1. Great reflection. Challenges often times are discouraging but when we press through despite the obstacles we are amazed that we made it not of ourselves but by the Grace, Strength and Favor of God. Great testimony.

  2. This made me smile.
    I'm happy for you.
    I keep meaning to send you an email but i keep forgetting.

    I'm also thankful that my medical training emphasized on the importance of genuine concern for the patient. I say it all the time that knowing all the medical jargon is not what patient care is really about at the end of the day. The care and empathy is crucial.

    Keep doing what you're doing.

  3. 'It is the little things that count' .... that is it! I wish we all remember these words.
    I am so truly happy to read about the joy of you being a doctor and relating well with your patient, it helps with the healing process.
    Well done doctor Sting!

  4. You have found your place... Keep it up

  5. I'm so happy and excited for you. You truly sound genuinely happy!


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