This is my third blog story relating to a physician's personal story. My hope and purpose are to share the written personal statements when either young people apply to medical school or when the future physician is applying for residency. The following story is from a current resident at UTMCK. We are truly blessed to have dedicated, bright, caring young people join us for training.
"The evening of February 5, 2008, revealed the frailty of life to me like never before. That night, an EF-4 tornado destroyed much of the campus at Union University in Jackson, TN, leaving six friends and I buried helplessly beneath a twenty-foot mound of concrete and steel rubble. Crushed beneath the debris, we lay for six hours waiting to be rescued. When I awakened the next morning, I realized I could not feel or move my legs. After several trips to the operating room to save my legs, five weeks of hemodialysis for acute kidney failure, and six weeks of inpatient physical rehabilitation, I was finally discharged home on my own two feet. Fortunately, over the last eight years, I regained my strength, while also gaining confidence and determination preparing me for residency in internal medicine.
The time I spent in the hospital following my injury was a major factor leading me to pursue a career in internal medicine. Each morning, I was amazed by the energy and dedicated care of the attending physicians, residents, and medical students. They spent the necessary time explaining my condition, discussing therapy options, and perhaps most importantly encouraging me every step of the way. They shared my joy in healing and my disappointment in setbacks. My team of physicians showed me how to care for patients, how to encourage their family members, and ultimately how I hope to practice medicine one day.
As a young boy, I discovered a great love for the game of soccer and dreamed of playing in college. That dream became a reality when I signed my scholarship at Union University in 2007. My time on the field, however, was cut short when the tornado struck. Facing the misfortune of losing the game I always loved was not easy, but choosing to embrace my adversity helped me focus on a goal. My experience helped me develop a servant’s heart. The following soccer season, instead of being on the field with my teammates, I filled up water bottles, helped some guys with academics, and was encouraged from the sidelines. As I approach a residency in internal medicine, I am reminded of those days with my teammates. In a few months, I will join a new team of co-interns, residents, and attending physicians. Together, we will face daily challenges serving our patients. Cooperation and diligence from each of us will ensure optimal outcomes for our patients.
When I consider my injury and its lasting impact on my life, I am forever grateful for my skilled team of physicians, nurses, and therapists. I appreciate the support of my family, friends, and even strangers, each of whom gave me hope throughout my journey. One morning, one of my physicians shared his personal story of injury and healing with me. He told me I would have countless opportunities to encourage people with my story, much like he had done for me that day. Recognizing that everyone does not have adequate support groups and living out the charge he had given me, I co-founded Steps2Hope in 2012. Our mission was to provide hope to young adults as they faced the loss of physical mobility. We have completed several projects, including building and donating two fully handicap accessible homes for United States soldiers who lost limbs in Afghanistan. We continue to seek opportunities to provide for young adults in their time of need.
I am confident my experiences and training thus far have established a foundation to become an excellent internist. Having lived the physician-patient relationship from the other side of the bed rail gives me a unique perspective, one that I embrace as I approach my patients each day. I anticipate more opportunities to use my story as an encouragement to others, bringing enthusiasm, determination, and a desire for excellence. "
I often said in my nursing career, that anyone who was going to consider nursing or a physician as a career, should have been a patient in some way so they could understand the other side.