Twenty years later, I still brace myself for the mispronunciation, even if I introduce myself first and enunciate clearly. Sometimes I give up and allow the mispronunciation to continue because I feel uncomfortable correcting them repeatedly. But I shouldn’t have to. My name is my name and should not be explored, like finding synonyms in a thesaurus.
As a person still learning to manage grief, I have to remind myself that perfection doesn’t exist in our loved ones either. We are all imperfect beings, but the best we can do is try, believe in ourselves and tell some stupid jokes along the way.
Growing up, I wanted to be an actress. It amazed me how actors could make a story seem so real and how easily I would fall in love with characters I’d known for only 90 minutes. Most of the kids in my neighborhood would play outside together, but I always wanted to stay home and watch my favorite movie, Shutter Island.
I realized that in my approach, she saw echoes of her abuser and an imbalance of power. I made sure to sit down in the chair next to her, eye level, to show her I was here to listen. No longer did I need my stethoscope. I had my most powerful tool of all, my listening skills.
When I followed up our conversation by offering a hug, I felt the full release of her sorrow in our embrace. It was as if recognition of her heartbreak gave her permission to express her devastation and fear in a moment of sudden tragedy.
I expect the attending to leave the room after ripping off her gloves and gown. Instead she grabs a clean towel and gently wipes the patient’s forehead with the soft tenderness of a mother. I decide that this is the kind of doctor I want to be.
My third year had not been going as planned, and most days I was questioning my purpose in life, which I was once so sure of.
I quickly realized, they allow the inner recesses of my soul to connect with my imagination, together spewing forth a wonderful concoction of syllables, metaphors and outright madness on dozens of sticky notes
My eyes locked on the upside-down words scribbled on the paper that was torn from my preceptor’s notebook a few moments prior. Dear God, my patient wrote, I am grateful for this life.
The gentle breeze of the summer evening embraces my hometown of Suwon, Korea. Holding my hand, my grandma takes small, deliberate steps forward. Two months into my fourth year of medical school, I am back home for a short break before beginning the residency application process.
he sits on the edge of the bed, forlorn – / eyes squeezed shut, back hunched over. / the veins snaking up his arms seem / translucent as he clenches the bed rail / in a death grip.
As a future physician, this experience reminded me to remain empathetic, compassionate and unbiased in all aspects of patient care. By doing so, I can not only improve trust and connection with my patients but also ensure that my clinical judgment remains clear.