As I sat on the table in the exam room, I quietly smiled to myself at the irony: I had been on the other side of the room the entire year, and, yet, here I was again, back to assuming the role of a patient.
Mental health has been on my mind lately, but not only because of the “Physician Mental Health” and “Resiliency Training” lectures we’ve been receiving during this block. A few weeks ago, one of my best friends from home texted me to say one of her medical school classmates had committed suicide a few days ago.
I underwent my first transsphenoidal hypophysectomy, fully believing in the capabilities of my neurosurgeon, who had years of experience and training from a reputable institution, hoping that my surgery would be a success and cure me of Cushing Disease, which had turned my life upside down in its course the past half year.
Lessons learned from both sides — A column exploring the qualities of a physician from the perspective of a physician in training, through the lens of a patient.
In this column, I hope to explore various qualities of a physician that we learn through medical school experiences — whether it be through class, shadowing, research, or even interacting with peers — but also to introduce a patient’s perspective in each case. Midway through my junior year of college, I was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, a rare endocrine disorder that affected every aspect of my life. Throughout the next year and a half, I lived as a patient of my disease, while simultaneously trying to hold onto my plans and aspirations of becoming a physician.