How I Knew What I Wanted to Be

I assumed I would just be wheeled  into the operating room, unconscious, but she held my hand; introduced me  to the entire surgery team. 

As I fell asleep, she told me  that everything would be  

ok when I woke up; 

then I could start fresh. 

She made me feel 

valued and cared for,  

safe, less afraid;  

she was my doctor.  

Because of her 

what I remember 

is not the pain and hurt; 

I remember the care. 

She showed me what  

I wanted to be… 

I wanted to give to others  

what she had given to me– 

love, kindness, compassion, care; a light at the end  

of the tunnel, revealing beauty  in the tragedy.

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

This woman was in her fourth year of medical school. She told me she intended to become an OB-GYN, and her reason for choosing this path was very personal. “When I was in my 2nd year of medical school, I hadn’t yet done my OB-GYN rotation. I was pregnant and began to have complications around 20 weeks. I ended up needing to go into surgery knowing I would lose the baby. What I remember most is not the pain and hurt, but instead how my doctor treated me. I did not expect her to go out of her way to make me feel so valued and cared for. It was a very difficult time, but so much beauty came from this pain because I realized as a physician, I wanted to be able to do for others what she had done for me,” she said. Now, two years later, she had a healthy one-year-old. “I was able to work with the same doctor and providers throughout my 2nd healthy pregnancy, and it was such a gift. I gained such clarity about where I want to take my medical career and I have seen first-hand how much beauty can come from tragedy,” she said.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Medical Student
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

Comments are closed.

Up ↑