"Are you staying or leaving?" my patient asked me abruptly.
I was still a resident in emergency medicine, and had just finished telling my patient that she would have to be admitted to the hospital for further care.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Are you staying here when you're done your training or are you leaving?"
I told her I'd likely be moving back to the suburbs.
"Yeah, you all train on us and then leave," she huffed.
I didn't know what to say. It felt like someone looked right through me. I didn't want to admit it, but she was right.
I could leave. I could leave the daily gunshot wounds, stabbings, and life-threatening diseases. At least for a while, I could go home. And if I wanted a different scene, I could move away.
My patient could not move away. This was where she lived. This was her life.
This is one of the reasons I do what I do. It's why I write these posts. It's why I give impromptu talks on health and human potential in my basement even if nobody is listening. I can't help it.
When you see people who are suffering every day, who haven't been informed about the basics of health and healing, who don't have resources available, who don't have a voice to change the system, yet who are doing their best to listen to doctors and health officials–all while ads are trying to convince them that more pills will make their day sunny and bright–you can't help but speak up.
Yes ma'am, I moved away. But twelve years later, I haven't forgotten you, and I never will.