In healthcare, I often quote, that we are privileged to see people at their best and worst of humanity.
We often spend a lot of time and energy expended on patients, but although they, and their medical conditions are very important; sometimes it is really their family and friends who impress upon me the most.
It is painful to see a loved one hurt, especially when there is nothing that you can do that will fix it. Especially when they feel that you are a cause of their pain and distress; that though things might hurt them, you are helping them for the best.
I see it in the father pinning his child down during yet another blood test. A blood test which we have to inform him, reveals no significant findings as to why his beloved little boy is walking ataxic, and less responsive than usual. There will be more tests to come. But he will still be rocking his baby, singing in his ear, whilst the tears run down their eyes.
I see it in the husband, standing patiently by his wife, refusing to remove her from hospital, holding the tissues out for her, just as he holds out his heart. His lips are pressed shut in an effort to stem all the words he wishes he could say; if only she might be able to truly listen. He watches her; curled in her fetal position, admitting to willing her life away. There is hurt when she tells him over honey carrots and pasta; “Wouldn’t your life be better without me?”. We only need see his face; to know; that he could not dream of a life without her; because she is in all his dreams. And the vow echoes through his veins; for better or worse; in sickness and in health; to cherish and love.
These moments of great grief, are beautiful in their own way; that though battered and worn, bruised and burned and tired; the heart still stands, beating out it’s call; that we can be there for those we love; even when it hurts. And that’s why, although medicine can be painfully sad; it is also one of the most beautiful things I have ever known.