I want to thank you for teaching my what it means to lead a life well lived. I’m sorry we had to meet under these circumstances, but I truly thank you for being such a light in this world.
It’s strange to observe how things work in medicine. My superiors separated themselves from anything that wasn’t your brain, as if distancing ourselves from your life would allow us to provide better medical advice. In the 24 hours we’ve worked on your case, we’ve referred to you under an assumed name and birthdate. I didn’t even know your real name until 5 minutes before we spoke to your family.
When we stepped into the conference room to share the news of your poor prognosis, the sheer number family packed into that small space- 16 in total- made me realize that you were truly loved.
As we started talking about religious needs, your wife wasn’t sure whom to call because YOU were the bishop. This made me realize that you were a man of great consequence, that your story was more than just your brain injury.
When I got home yesterday, I started looking you up online. And suddenly you became more than a limp body in a hospital bed and a damaged brain on a computer screen. I learned that you were a leader in the business community, passionate about serving others, and that your life philosophy was to take calculated risks in order to live life to the fullest.
We met at a curious time in our lives- mine just beginning as yours is just ending. However, if there’s any consolation from our encounter, it’s that learning more about you has taught me that I cannot continue to live life without striving to be the best person I can be.
I’ll be honest, medical school has been tough. Over the last few months, I’ve been questioning why I even pursued this path in the first place: Was it to please my parents? Was it to find financial stability? Was it to advance in society?
Learning about you- and not just your brain- has made me understand that medicine is my calling. Thank you for teaching me that being in medicine is truly an amazing privilege. Because I chose medicine, I get to experience people, society, and life on a level deeper than any other career.
Before, I might have said that you’re the kind of man I can only dream of becoming one day. This morning I finally realized “that day” is today. The future is what we make of it and I owe it to you to strive to become the best doctor and person I can be.
Thank you so much.