I’m going to try to title my entries from now on. It makes it feels like they are television episodes, like Scrubs.
I used to make a snide remark regarding Korean soap operas. For those of you who don’t know, the Korean dramas run in short mini-series format (usually 16-24 episodes), and have a marked tendency to be melodramatic. A few years back, it seemed that at some point in every one, a major figure would come down with brain cancer, thereby leading to some tear-jerking tragic ending. I used to always note that there must be an “epidemic of brain cancer in Korea.”
I think that I always took solace in the fact that brain cancer was so rare, and it happened to so few people that I can safely not think about it. When I started my internship, however, I was signed-over a list on which one-half the patients had brain cancer of one form or another.
I think God is teaching me how insensitive I was.
It is interesting working with these patients on a daily basis. It is particularly tough because in Internal Medicine we usually take a big role in the discharge planning for the patient. By playing this role, the impact that health has on the patient really hits home. A patient that was walking, talking, and independent before entering the hospital now requires nursing home care or 24 hour help.
Whatever assurance I had in the small number of people that are affected by this condition, I find gone now. It really hits home just how much a medical condition changes people’s lives. Everytime I write up a discharge summary and patient instructions, I realize that their lives are just no longer normal.