At 3:33amon August 23rd, 1999, my life changed forever. My mother’s cries awakenedme. I could hear her frantically talking to my father in the kitchen. Mygrandfather had suffered a cardiac arrest. He was being rushed to the hospital andwe had to go, now. I remember hearing my mom pray in the car ride to thehospital as tears rolled down her cheeks. “Please God, please save him,” overand over again.
My only thought was that I’d be losing my grandfather forever. I’d be losing the man that took careof me every day when my parents went to work. I’d be losing the man that satthere and watched my favorite cartoons with me. He didn’t even understandEnglish. He was everything to me. We arrived to the emergency room andwere told that he was in surgery.
We waited in that emergency room for whatfelt like days. Itwas light outside already. My mom couldn’t sit any longer. I could sense theworry in her face. Suddenly, this tall man in a white coat approached us. Myparents instructed me to sit and wait while they walked away to talk to theman. I noticed my mother’s facial expression instantly change.
I could hear myparents thanking this man. My parents came running to me saying that mygrandfather had been saved. Instantly, I was washed over with a feeling ofrelief. My mother’s beautiful, radiant smile had returned. But who was thismysterious man in the white coat? I asked my father and he called him “TheDoctor.” The only “doctor” that I was familiar with at the time was the onethat gave me my shots, followed by lollipops.
This was not the same man. Aswe sat there waiting to go see my grandfather, I kept thinking about thedoctor. He had just saved my grandfather. He had just made my mom stop crying. Wewere so grateful of this man. He had to be a superhero.
On this day, a six-yearold’s dream had been decided. A dream to become a doctor and be that superherothat saves lives. I wanted to make others feel the way that I did that day. My grandfather became ill again whenI was 17.
He wasn’t able to take care of himself. It was my turn to take careof him. I became his Provider and assisted him in his personal care and dailyroutine. As years went on, keeping that dream of becoming a physician becameharder and harder.
My grandfather’s memory was failing him. He would forget whoI was at times. I took care of him until he passed away three years later. Iwasn’t able to save him like the doctor did many years ago. At that point intime, I speculated, “Is medicine really what I want to go into?” After reflecting on it for some time,I understood that my grandfather’s death gave me an opportunity for achievementand personal growth. Although heartbreaking, I didn’t want to give up on mydream and turn my back on my grandfather or medicine. I cherished theinteractions with my grandfather, even in his final years. I realized that Ihad become that caregiver, that “superhero”, for him.
Yes, I wasn’t able tosave him but that’s an essential part of being a physician. The ability to acceptthe harsh reality that you’re not going to be able to save every patient thatwalks through the doors. Icontinued my interest in medicine throughout my undergraduate career, enrollingin courses from general biology all the way to the more in-depth cellularbiology and organic chemistry.
However challenging, analyzing and gaining allof this knowledge from macro to the most micro aspects of the sciences has beena satisfying ride. I had been infatuated with the laboratory facet of biology. Cancerresearch with Dr.
Oppenheimer motivated me. Obtaining results after anexperiment and knowing that this newly found information can supply knowledgeto the world and potentially treat diseases is an incredible feeling.