Sharing personal experiences of giving and receiving health care
My husband George got to know Ruthie while he was sitting with his mom during her final days in an assisted-living facility. Ruthie, a hospice worker, was a middle-aged woman who had reentered the workforce after raising her kids. As a nursing-assistant trainee, she was learning on the job, with George’s mom, unconscious and steadily declining, as one of her first patients.
Soon after meeting Ruthie, George was struck by her lack of self-confidence.
A small wooden figure watches over my office. Four inches tall, hand-carved, neatly painted wood—an angel figurine with golden hair, majestic wings and a simple pure-white gown. Throughout my day seeing patients as an internal medicine and pediatrics resident, this angel watches over me—a constant reminder.
Two years ago, as a fourth-year medical student, I was on my internal medicine “acting internship” on the general internal medicine floor. This service was known for great teaching and complex cases—and notorious for emotionally heavy experiences.
It is a chilly January night, a week after New Year’s and a few days after my twenty-fourth birthday. I’m halfway through my third year of medical school and have just started my clerkship on the hospital’s trauma unit.
I’ve been dreading this experience; I’m on twenty-four-hour call, and my heart sinks every time the pager goes off.
Every month readers tell their stories — in 40 to 400 words — on a different healthcare theme.
Stories by those whose faces and perspectives are underrepresented in media and in the health professions.
Editor’s Note: As New Voices’ first editor, I am thrilled to launch Pulse’s newest feature with this story by Livja Koka, depicting, among other things, the difficult choices that parents make in hopes of giving their children a better future. This story, we hope, is only the first of many accounts by writers whose voices and experiences have often gone unseen and unheard. If you have such a story to tell, we hope you’ll consider submitting it to New Voices. — Olapeju Simoyan
Every family has things they do not discuss. The emotions are too real,
Join the 11,000+ who receive Pulse weekly
Sign up to get Pulse delivered to your inbox every Friday or energize your subscription with a tax-deductible donation.