The musings of a final year medical student

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The bigger picture.

Been thinking a lot recently.

It's far too easy to get lost in your own little bubble. I've been crying on the odd occasion due to worrying about all the work I have to do, and doubting my own capabilities. Sometimes the smallest things can push down on you and grind away at any happiness or optimism you had. However, perspective is really important.

Someone who I really looked up to lost his mother to cancer very recently. I really admire him for all of his achievements, combined with his wonderful personality. Such a kind, caring person. Yet something so cruel and crushing as that happened to him.

When I was 17 I did some work experience at a French charity called Secours Catholique, in a branch in the Loire Valley. I was working in the aid centre, where anybody can come in requesting any kind of help and we try to provide that for them. One day, a Somalian illegal immigrant came in. He looked exhausted, he had a severe limp, his eyes incredibly blood shot. He came into my office, and my job was to translate from English into French if any non-speakers were to turn up. This Somalian man brought his friend who translated from Somalian into English, and then I translated that Chinese whisper into French for my colleague. I was asked to translate:
"This man got here a week ago from Somalia, he was a victim in a car bomb explosion back in Somalia and needs medical help. He could not receive treatment at the hospital here because he has no ID or credit cards."
As the consutation continued, I learnt this man had no money or shelter, and needed to ring up his wife to see how her and his three children are back in Somalia. The worker said we couldn't do anything to help him. The Somalian man's friend told me that he could get an ID from the Red Cross if he could get some photos taken, so he then asked for some Euros to get the photos taken. My colleague refused. Eventually I persuaded her to give the Somalian man €10. I found it so hard not to burst into tears as I was translating all of this, and then the horrible sinking feeling as my strict colleague said there was nothing we could do.

I have never been in a position as shocking as the Somalian man,  and hopefully never will. That story will always stay with me. Because as much I can complain about bills, student loans, university work, self pity -  compared to that poor man, I have everything. And he had none.

I want to make sure I seize every day. I want to thank every kind person I meet, anyone who helps me. I want to nourish the relationships I have with the people I love. My friends and family; the people who have given me all these opportunities and amazing euphoric highs.

If you love someone, remind them of that. Make those special people feel valued and appreciated. Because I feel damn lucky to have them, and for the wonderful life I have.

La joie de vie pour saisir bras-le-corps


1 comment

  1. Hey Kate, keep going with your blog, it's great. And trust me when I say medicine is hard but it's not as hard as you think - when you get the balance right you'll be absolutely fine :) Let me know if you need any help with anything or a mentor!

    As a fellow Liverpool Medical Student I've nominated you for the 'One Lovely Blog Award' - you can see your nomination here:

    Enjoy! :)

    Hannah xx


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