Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why i want to become a doctor.

This is NOT my story.,

I found it when rearranging my documents in my lappy. Read all the files that were not needed. I saved this article few years ago during my KTT years.Hope you will be inspired by this story.Author unknown.

My mother often recounts a story about me following around my father, our small town’s internist, on a certain home visit. Upon finding a woman with a swollen, painful belly, he began palpating her abdomen -- when he noticed two tiny hands of a toddler, emulating his own. I cannot remember a time when I was not interested in health care. As I finished high school and entered college, however, I had my doubts. I grew up watching my father suffer the hardships of his career, from long hours and disappointments to the difficulty of providing adequate care under insurance regulations. Additionally, I wondered whether I was genuinely dedicated to medicine or whether I was simply infatuated with the idea of imitating the extraordinary individual that is my father. Indeed, with three members of my immediate family in medicine, I felt as though I was simply falling into the occupation. Today, however, I have come to realize that I did not merely fall into medicine -- I fell in love with the profession on my own accord.

One notable memory often reminds me that when I am providing any type of patient care, no matter how minor, I have the feeling that I am at home. As a lifeguard, I had the chance to provide first aid on several occasions, and I recall one such event very clearly. During the summer after a particularly difficult sophomore year in college, I was left with many questions, including whether medicine truly offered the best career path for me. Then, one afternoon I was watching the pool when a young girl, slipping from the waterslide, collided with another swimmer. She struggled out of the water in a panic, fearing a broken leg. Rushing over, as I calmed her and assessed her right leg, I suddenly had that familiar feeling: this was my calling. To date, nothing in my life has felt more natural than when I was caring for Marie by the pool that day. Consequently, in the past two years I have only sought to expand on my opportunities to participate in and provide medical care to others. Last year I completed my training and gained certification as an emergency medical technician, and only recently, I began volunteering with the Orange County Rescue Squad. Finally getting the chance to participate actively in patient care has proven tremendously fulfilling and has further solidified my commitment to the medical field.

Hoping to learn more about health care within hospitals, I volunteered at the University of North Carolina’s Resident OB/GYN Clinic in the Women’s Hospital. Here, the nurses and residents have taken extra time to explain their procedures and courses of treatment, while I have also actively taken part in the care of the patients. In the past year I have gained experience taking blood pressures, weights, and patient histories. I also spent a memorable night following Dr. Lois Aronson in the labor and delivery ward. During this period, I observed two deliveries and two surgeries, and I also learned to perform pelvic exams and find fetal heartbeats. My favorite part of the whole volunteering experience, however, must have been the chance to witness Dr. Aronson’s thoughtful and compassionate interaction with patients during normal prenatal checkups. While observing her careful communication skills, I developed my own approach to conversing honestly and caringly with patients.
To complement my hands-on experience preparing for my career as a physician, I have devoted my energy to preparing for the rigorous scientific education that must preface the training of any thoughtful and capable physician. When reflecting on my college career, one experience stands out as the most enjoyable learning experience of all: teaching an introductory biology lab at UNC for two semesters. This endeavor allowed me to assume the role of a mentor and an instructor. As I was responsible for the laboratory education of 25 students each semester, this undertaking taught me to become a communicative leader who can guide others in their educational development. Moreover, the sheer amount of pleasure I received from helping my students achieve their goals reflects my commitment to a career of service.
My mother always said, “Don’t be a doctor unless you have to.” I feel that I am truly beginning to understand what she means. I know that becoming a physician is a long, difficult path. I have witnessed the realities of medicine in my own home and have spoken with an exhausted medical student on the thirtieth hour of her shift. I also know that for me it is worth it. Nothing would make me happier than devoting my life to becoming a physician and delivering quality, compassionate health care. To achieve my goals, I look forward to medical school as the next necessary and welcome step.
When a pod of 55 pilot whales recently beached themselves on a stretch of Cape Cod, vacationers and beach-goers came to the rescue. By high tide, they managed to save 46 whales. In explaining his motivation for jumping in to help, one volunteer simply answered, “Life.” The same purpose inspires my ambition to become a physician.

Medicine appeals to my deep appreciation for human life, inculcated by studying man as both a human being and biological machine. The decision to practice stems from a perpetual fascination with science combined with this basic love for life. I grew up capturing insects and watching PBS, always questioning the complexities of how the body works. Through academics and medical research, I have begun to answer this question.

My passion for knowledge of the inner workings of the human body led to proactive involvement in medical research, enriching my view of medicine as well as nurturing the desire to continue research endeavors throughout my medical career. For the past two years, I have studied the relationship between structural damage and preserved clinical function in multiple sclerosis patients through functional MRI, under the tutelage of Drs. Cranston and Mahoney. Although unsure how these two factors correlate, we hypothesize that a critical period exists when the brain undergoes reorganization. In a concurrent study, I am investigating the role of the pelvic veins in cryptogenic stroke, funded through a grant awarded by the American Heart Association. The objective is to determine, via MRV, whether the pelvic veins are the source of thrombolytic emboli in cryptogenic stroke patients who also harbor a patent foramen ovale. The results of these studies not only will contribute to the advancement of medicine, but may also hold therapeutic benefits for those afflicted with such neurological damage.

The rewards of medical research lie in its practical application, and there is no better place to observe the miracle of life than in the NICU. Each day, newborns struggle to survive, illustrating the inherent advancements and limitations of medicine. I have witnessed preemies, from 24 weeks of gestation and on, live and die. Exposure to patients revealed that people are much more than collections of cells and organs -- we all share the special gift of life. My role in helping to care for them abounded with both challenge and joy.

My first patient, Baby S, arrived nine weeks prematurely and spent the first month of life in the NICU. Due to the presence of an extrachromosomal fragment, he suffered slight mental retardation. His mother, who had the same condition, visited infrequently during his hospital stay. When she did, her visits were brief and inattentive. I grew quite fond of Baby S, often watching him snuggle into the blankets like a small burrito. Although his sky blue eyes moved in a spastic manner, they gave life to his somewhat immobile body. He rarely showed signs of discomfort, whether hungry or needing a change. I tried to give him the extra attention he lacked. At times, he rewarded my efforts to interact with a smile; other times, he gave me a dirty diaper.

Reflecting on my experiences, I realize that the practice of medicine entails more than remembering and dispensing scientific facts. It requires exercising both mind and heart, along with a genuine respect for life. Baby S and my other NICU patients instilled in me a sense of how precious life is, and I am certain that my current EMT training and planned medical mission to southeast Asia will reaffirm my conviction to improve the lives of others.

The career of a physician will allow me to balance an intellectual curiosity with my desire to help those in need. By helping man at his best and his worst, combining a passion for life with the pursuit of scientific knowledge, I can help heal and comfort others. I eagerly anticipate a vocation in which my patients fuel my search for knowledge, and that search embodies reciprocal benefits to my patients. When asked why I have chosen a medical career, I can confidently respond, “Life.”

To this day, the very thought of red oak bark tea nauseates me; my mouth still retains that bitter flavor. As a child in a rural community in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, even the threat of home remedies like red oak bark tea was usually sufficient to scare the sickness out of me. Once, when my mother administered powdered alum to my sore throat, I concluded that my family must have had enough of me. They assured me, however, that alum was not supposed to make you gag quite that much.

I never considered becoming a doctor as a child. My family could rarely afford the luxury of proper medical treatment. Thus, unpleasant home remedies were my earliest experiences of healthcare, and I cannot say that they were exactly prepossessing. Nor was my opinion unusual in my environment: in my rural farming town, doctors were the people you went to when all your family remedies had failed, and you couldn’t get out of bed to go to work anymore. Medicine was seen less as a way to improve your quality of life than as an expensive method of postponing the inevitable.

I could not point to a specific date as the day I decided that I wanted to commit my life to medicine. Rather, it was a gradual realization that grew out of my love for biology and my sense that the path I was taking was not meant for me.

Merely attending junior college was an enormous achievement for me, as none of my family had ever graduated from high school. Initially, I intended to earn my associate's degree in biology. Unfortunately, my family’s difficult financial situation prevented me from following my interest in this field, for I soon had to find a full-time job to help out at home. I continued taking classes at night, but unfortunately, no lab courses were offered in the evening. Finally, after four years, I completed the requirements for an associate’s degree in economics. That was when I realized that I wanted to explore biology further. At moments, I even began to think of attending medical school, only to dismiss these daydreams as no more plausible than winning the lottery.
I soon married and entered a very difficult period in my life. Trying to keep my husband happy and my marriage together, after earning my associate's degree I quit the job I had enjoyed since high school graduation. I proceeded to change jobs every six months or so for the next two years before separating from my husband. When I knew there would be no reconciliation, I decided to follow the dream I had put on hold, and I applied to the institution I now attend to study biology. Being a doctor may not have been a lifelong dream for me, but it is my calling.

The first time I met Carla, she was sitting on the floor alone in the middle of the lunchroom while the rest of her cabin played outside. Carla was a frizzy-haired 11-year-old girl with autism. It was her first time away from home, and she was struggling to adjust to the new patterns, people, and places. At the same time, as her camp counselor, I was trying desperately to figure out her needs. Carla could not communicate spontaneously, and she responded to my questions only by repeating them. It was difficult helping her transition from one activity to the next, because whenever a game ended, Carla would just flop down on the ground and refuse to budge. I tried singing songs, dancing, and playing "follow the leader, " but nothing uprooted Carla. Then suddenly, after a few days of working with her, I noticed that Carla was fascinated with hands. Although she would not hold people’s hands, she liked to touch them and look at them, and I soon discovered that I could use her interest to motivate her to participate in life around her. For the next two weeks, I transformed my hands into butterfly wings, and the two of us flew around camp together. Although we could not communicate verbally, we found a connection more powerful than conversation, and I discovered how deeply satisfying it is to help other people, particularly those who cannot speak for themselves.

I have dreamed of becoming a physician since childhood, because medicine offers the rare opportunity to combine science and humanism to make a real difference in other people’s lives. I have a longstanding love of science, which led me to major in engineering in college because I enjoyed working on applied scientific questions. Most of my course work and extracurricular activities were science-related, but my interest in medicine solidified, ironically, during the summer when I took my first break from science. During the fall semester of my junior year, I began to feel overwhelmed by conflicting responsibilities in my course work, part-time employment, and various extracurricular activities. I realized that I had spent most of the previous decade enrolled in academic, research, and community service projects to prepare myself for the challenge of medical school, but I had not yet confirmed that aspiration. I tried to focus on what made me happy at the time, and I realized my most beloved experiences occurred while I volunteered at a pre-school with disabled children. Whether I spent my time helping the children swim, reading to them, or simply chasing after them, I always left with the feeling that I had made a small impact on their lives.
I researched camps for children with special needs, and after talking with directors and former counselors at numerous programs, I chose to become a counselor at the Frost Valley YMCA Mainstreaming at Camp program. I started that summer both excited and daunted by what lay ahead. The counselors and directors warned me that the job would be emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting, but I had no idea what I would encounter. That summer became the hardest and most rewarding time of my life. Every two weeks a new group of children with a wide range of developmental disabilities entered my life and became dependent upon me for almost all of their care. I quickly realized how different each child was and tried to adjust my counseling style to fit their individual needs. Motivating and communicating with children who cannot -- or will not -- reciprocate your efforts requires a great deal of patience and creativity. Working with this special group of children tested me greatly, but I found that the hardest part was saying goodbye at the end of each two-week session.

During my last weeks at Frost Valley, one of my campers, a 19-year-old girl with mental retardation, began having seizures. I recognized her symptoms, but one night her seizures became continuous. We called an ambulance, and I jumped on board so that I could spend the night with her, holding her hand and acting as her medical advocate. Because she looked quite “normal, ” it was difficult for the medical staff to understand that she had the communication skills of a 9-year-old. After I explained her condition several times, however, the staff realized that although Jackie looked “normal, ” she required special care. After a long and scary night, Jackie was released from the hospital and sent back to camp. Fortunately, she recovered completely and was happy and healthy for the rest of her time at camp.

I am sure she will never remember how frightened she was that night -- or even my holding her hand -- but I know I will never forget it. That summer, particularly that night, reaffirmed my desire to become a doctor. I realized how critical it is for medical professional to understand the needs of special populations, to work directly with them and their families. I also understood that I could join my two loves by working as a pediatrician for children with special needs. Caring for a child who cannot tell you what is wrong requires a person with patience, skill, and compassion; it is my dream to become one of those people.


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