Archive | 10:00 pm


27 Oct

longitudinal experience to appreciate the patient’s perspective

For the first 18 months of medical school, each student is paired up with another student and a chronically ill patient.  With the patient’s permission, the students meet him/her for various physician/therapeutic appointments and conduct fairly relaxed interviews in order to gain a better understanding of of the day-to-day while managing a lifelong and, at times, terminal condition.

Jared and I met with our LEAPP patient for the first time today.  In order to maintain patient confidentiality, I must be vague.  She is a few years younger than I am.  She was diagnosed when she was 18 months old and her illness has been progressing since then, although there have been ups and downs.  Her treatments are daily and time-consuming, yet she has managed to maintain an incredibly “normal” life, going to college, playing a varsity college sport, starting a family.  She considers herself fortunate, and she was incredibly generous with her time and energy today, encouraging us to ask her any and all questions, allowing us to sit-in throughout her visit, which included some very personal questions.  We will see her again in a month.

I don’t think of myself as someone who typically takes things for granted…at least, I feel a great deal of appreciation for what I have and what I can do.  But I still whine about my health, lack of sleep, workload, and temporary separation from loved ones.  Today was certainly not my first wake-up call, but I think it’s an indication that I need them frequently.  But, more importantly, my meeting with this woman was simply a privilege, a first-hand observation of courage and humility, and I look forward to many more, with this patient and others.