Reconsidering a Dream

Eszter Forvith

When you are in a hospital and you are well enough to observe others, you can notice a lot of things. I have been in hospital only once in my life, which was recently and I am glad it happened. It might sound weird at first, but let me explain.

About two weeks ago on a Sunday evening I became very ill and we had to rush to the hospital where I fortunately got better, but I had to stay in for a few days. Those few days gave me the most painful experience in my life. In the emergency section of the hospital there were all kinds of people, from a teenager who came in because he drank too much energy drink to a vomiting and crying baby with high fever and her worried mother. It was fascinating to watch how the doctors and the nurses handled all those patients, and it made me wonder what amount of patience and collectedness this job needs to be handled right. The admiration in me for people who work in healthcare rose even more and it also confirmed my decision to become a doctor.

My first day in the hospital flew by quickly but on the second one I really started missing human interactions. Even though the nurses visited me every two hours to check up on me, we did not talk much, and the visit from my parents was not that long either, so I spent most of my time alone in a quiet room where my companions were the noises of other children from the hallway. Luckily on the third day of my stay I got a roommate. It was a very sweet girl who was around the same age as I. When we talked about the reason why we were there it turned out she had anorexia. She told me she had been there for two weeks now and it made me wonder how alone she must have felt, when even two days were too much for me.

During my stay it felt like time had slowed down around me. I was alone with my right kidney in pain, far from my ordinary life. I watched how people around me fought for their lives while some others seemed to throw them away. I compared my everyday problems, like studying for a test, to those of people trying to recover from an injury that may leave a scar on them for life. Everyday problems just seemed so unimportant in those few days. Only when my final day at the hospital arrived did I realise how depressing that place really was; even the staff’s friendliness could not dissolve the anxiety I felt in those days. When I finally left and walked out of the hospital I felt the sun shining on my face and a cold breeze touching my hair. I was free at last and did not want to return to the hospital ever.

“That is normal,” my grandfather told me, when I spoke about these feelings. “That does not mean you have to give up being a doctor. You know I have been a doctor for more than forty years. Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with cancer and had to go to the hospital. Then I felt the same as you now. Doctors are the worst patients. You can think of it like this: being a doctor can be a good way to avoid being a patient.”

“How?” I asked.

“You will have the knowledge, most of the time you can diagnose and cure yourself, and when other people do not understand what is happening to them, you will, and you can make your own choice.”

“It sounds good,” I replied.

“Yes, it does. It is some kind of freedom; besides, you can help others too.”

I love freedom, I love knowledge and I want to help people. I still want to be a doctor, I thought to myself.