As I write this article, 49 people have been confirmed dead after a mass shooting at a popular nightclub in Orlando, FL, with an additional 53 reported injured. In recent times, similar shootings have occurred with frightening regularity. In 2015 alone, we can recount San Bernadino, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Roseburg, Oregon; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Charleston, North Carolina. People are being killed in unprecedented numbers, yet we have a poor understanding of the disease that is taking their lives. Gun violence is now a concerning public health issue and it begs the question: where are the patient advocates?
My friend, Valerie Schwartz, and I stumbled on the importance of collaborative thinking while we spent our usual afternoon quizzing each other and discussing patient cases during our pediatrics rotation. “At what age can babies start to use non-specific ‘mama’ and ‘dada’?” As I sifted through my knowledge bank, a third friend decided to throw me a lifeline. I thought it was 10 months, he thought it was six months. So, we decided to compromise. We landed on six months after deliberations.
I had plenty of time to board the plane, so I casually lounged around in the airport, waiting for the last call to board. He, on the other hand, was frantic because he thought he was going to miss his connecting flight. He barely made it onto the plane, and this is when two worlds collided. I had plenty of time to spare, while he was in a time crunch — this represents the first contrast in a story about contrast.