The Letter Left Behind
To My Brave Patient,
Sometimes we have been too formal in our greetings. This is expected because I am the doctor and you are the patient, but on a more personal note my name is Andrew. If this finds its way to you it means that I have left the medical fraternity, be it temporarily to pursue other interests. I have worked as a doctor for just over ten years now. Sometimes it feels like one hundred and ten years, at other times it feels like ten days, but overall when I look back on everything I have to say the experience has been altogether rewarding even though there have been a few personally trying times. There is no greater adrenalin rush than being in the midst of a crisis and fighting to save a life, conversely there is no greater stress that I have felt in any other situation. The sense of relief is overwhelming when you ultimately save that life, but alternatively the disappointment is tremendous if that soul is lost.
Someone once told me that when you make the decision to become a doctor, it shouldn’t be something that you think about and reason out sensibly, it is something that you feel deep within your spirit, a deeper and greater calling that has been placed upon your life because ultimately it will be others who place their lives into your hands. I didn’t believe that then, but I believe it now. There are only a few things more difficult in the world than telling someone that they are going to die and I’m sure one of them is being the person left behind to deal with it all after laying them to rest. Having said that, the most difficult is surely hearing the words, “your life is coming to an end”, and then going through that process.
I see them almost every day, those who have lost the fight, those who are going to lose the fight and those left behind to pick up the pieces, a husband, a wife, a daughter, a son, a mother, a father. It haunts you but how much more haunted are those facing the end.
The scenarios are not always so dire. I have seen those who have won the fight facing insurmountable obstacles. How have they done that? I am a man of science, everything in my life is evidence based, I place great emphasis on what can be proven but I also believe that God is the ultimate Scientist, Mathematician and Engineer. I have seen things that cannot be explained by science. Maybe a miracle is an act of science that our small minds cannot explain, but perhaps God could. I hope so; at least then there will be some meaning to everything that has taken place.
I have seen newborns smack adversity in the face, I have seen patients beat cancer, I have seen geriatrics with dementia develop clarity and I have seen someone knocking on death’s door walk out of the hospital. Yes, I have seen many miracles but I have seen nothing as unique as your story.
I had become disillusioned with my time here but your narrative has changed that. How far you have come is a miracle. Your strength in adversity has inspired me to search for a deeper meaning to life and a deeper purpose for my own. Your courage reminds me how never to lose hope.
This is my letter to you. I hope by some miracle you will understand how much my perspective on life has changed because of your own.