Methodist Journal

IN THIS ISSUE

Adult Congenital Heart Update

Vol 15, Issue 2 (2019)


FEATURED GUEST EDITOR

ISSUE INTRO

The Growing Number of Adults Surviving with Congenital Heart Disease

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RECOGNITIONS

Drs. MacGillivray and Lin Take the Lead in Adult Congenital Heart Disease

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REVIEW ARTICLES See More

Advanced Cardiac Imaging for Complex Adult Congenital Heart Diseases

149 Fontan Conversions

Anomalous Aortic Origin of a Coronary Artery

Pulmonary Valve Replacement for Tetralogy of Fallot

Management of the Adult with Arterial Switch

Ebstein’s Anomaly

Heart Transplantation in Adults with Congenital Heart Disease

Cholesterol: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It

CASE REPORTS See More

Simultaneous Transfemoral Mitral and Tricuspid Valve in Ring Implantation: First Case Report with Edwards Sapien 3 Valve

Uneventful Follow-Up 2 Years after Endovascular Treatment of a High Flow Iatrogenic Aortocaval Fistula Causing Pulmonary Hypertension and Right Heart Failure

Device-Related Thrombus: A Reason for Concern?

Retained Coronary Balloon Requiring Emergent Open Surgical Retrieval: An Uncommon Complication Requiring Individualized Management Strategies

MUSEUM OF HMH MULTIMODALITY IMAGING CENTER See More

Do I Look Fat in This? Multimodality Imaging Findings of a Cardiac Lipoma

CLINICAL PERSPECTIVES See More

POINTS TO REMEMBER

The Kidney in Congenital Cyanotic Heart Disease

EXCERPTA

Talking Statins with Antonio Gotto

POINTS TO REMEMBER

Lipids and Renal Disease

EXCERPTA

Addressing the Feedback Loop Between Depression, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease

EDITORIALS

Letter to the Editor in Response to “Cardiac Autonomic Neuropathy in Diabetes Mellitus”

Vol 15, Issue 2 (2019)

Article Full Text

ESSAY ON BEING A DOCTOR

Hearing is Believing

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Article Citation:

Jackson JM. Hearing is Believing. Methodist DeBakey Cardiovasc J. April 2017;13(2):89.

doi: https://doi.org/10.14797/mdcj-13-2-89

Through the generosity of Charles R. Millikan, D. Min., vice president for Spiritual Care and Values Integration, an annual award competition was established at Houston Methodist Hospital among the resident staff. To enter the writing competition, residents must submit a poem or essay of 1,000 words or less on the topic, “On Being a Doctor.” A committee of seven was selected from Houston Methodist Hospital Education Institute to establish the judging criteria and select the winning entries. The following is the first-place winning entry for 2017; the second- and third-place entries will be published in the next two issues of this journal.

I have to admit, I was scared to death before starting my ICU rotation as an intern. I was worried that I would have a difficult time accepting the death of a patient who was partly entrusted to my care. I’ve had patients pass away before, even as a medical student, and it was tough. But this was going to be different. I had to come to terms with the fact that every patient I would see for the next 4 weeks would be seriously ill, and there was a possibility that, despite the greatest of efforts, many of the patients I saw during that rotation would not get better.

During my first week, after arriving in the ICU for my shift one morning, I was assigned to a patient who had respiratory failure and sepsis. He was intubated and on sedation for days after his admission. Although he couldn’t respond to me in any purposeful manner, I still came into his room each day, greeted him with a “good morning,” talked to him while I was examining him, and prayed for him. After a week or so, he was able to open his eyes as we gradually reduced his sedation. He could then start following some simple commands. There were a few setbacks, but finally, on the day he was extubated, he was able to speak to us—although in all actuality some of the things he said made no sense, and he was pretty confused after essentially being in a drug-induced coma for several days.

One day, which turned out to be his birthday, he was able to sit up in a chair, and we were happy to see that he was doing better. To my surprise, “better” medically did not equate to “better” emotionally or mentally. He was afraid. He thought that people were trying to hurt him (which was not the case) and believed that something bad was going to happen to him. He asked me to stay with him, and I did until he was assured that everything was okay. The day finally came when he was well enough to be transferred to a long-term acute care facility. As the transport service wheeled him out of the ICU on a stretcher, I was able to catch him to say goodbye, so thankful that he was leaving the ICU alive and in better health than when he arrived.

In the following months, I often wondered about my patient and what happened to him after he left. It was almost a year after we last saw one another, and I was walking down the hospital hallway. I couldn’t believe it! There he was, with a cane in his hand, walking right towards me. He gave me a big hug and said that he had returned to the ICU looking for me. I told him that I had been thinking about him too and was praying that all turned out well with him. He said “thank you,” but what was so amazing was that he had heard me when I came into his room in the mornings and talked to him. Even though he couldn’t respond, he at least knew that I was there doing what I could to help him.

For me, the best part of being a doctor is connecting with my patients. They’re the reason why I went into this profession. The moments when I can spend time with a patient on a human level, seeing them as more than a number or a case—as a dad, a sister, a pastor, or even another physician—are what gives this job meaning for me. Not all of the patients I’ve helped take care of have survived, and there have been moments where my heart has been broken for their loss. Yet I still treasure every second, and I’ve hopefully had some positive impact on their lives, no matter how small—because my patients have done the same for me, and my life is the better for it.

 

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