For Elena (original)

All of us, or at least the majority of us, become doctors because we want to help people. We’re idealists, hoping that we can make a difference in people’s lives. After two weeks with a refugee doctor, I realised that sometimes, we can’t.

Everyday, I heard stories of families being separated because of war, innocent loved ones being killed or even worse, being deported back to the place they fled from.

I was frustrated. So frustrated that their stories stayed with me even after I left the clinic, even during my sleep. I hated that my patients had to go through this and worst of all, I hated the fact that I can’t do anything about it.

During my final day, I received a patient about my age who has been through a lot more pain than anyone in their 20s should do. I asked her what she wanted me to do and she just said she wanted someone to listen to what’s inside her heart. Even though I was happy she eventually left the clinic with a smile, I was burdened more than ever.

I realised that as a doctor, and as a person, I’m limited. I can’t change the world, I can’t stop the evil that’s happening around us, and I can’t undo what has happened to the victims I meet. What I can do though, is be there for them and pray. And so that’s what I’ve been doing.

This is a song I wrote for that patient (the title is not her real name) and all the other patients I met and will meet. To my patients, I’m sorry for everything that has happened, but I hope and pray that everything will be okay from now on.

 

I’m tired. (KUA/student-lead ward finally over)

I’m tired. For the past two weeks of this student-lead ward placement, I’ve been met with prejudice, discrimination and disrespect. Even some trying to undermine my role as in this case, the doctor. It turns out, it doesn’t matter how many times I present myself as the doctor. Just because of my appearance, it will never sink in for some. During the day, I told myself to hold on for just a few more hours but… I broke down.
 
The world is unfair I told myself. No matter what I’ll do, some people will just never take me seriously. Why did I even choose this profession in the first place? After crying on the phone to my friend, I returned to the ward.
 
At the end of the day, as it was our last shift at the placement, I said goodbye to our patients. They then told me that they were sorry to see me leave, and thanked me for all that we’ve done.
 
“With you guys around, I will always feel safe even if I’m home alone. We always hear nonsense on the news, when they should really be publishing about the work you all do. I wanted you to know that and, thank you very much for everything.”
 
I remembered why I wanted to be a doctor again. ❤️