:) Schfanks!! ^_^
Talk about the best birthday you’ve had.
It would have been my 9th birthday. I was obsessed with plaster painting and there was a store in our suburb I always loved going to that was dedicated to it. My Mum organised a plaster painting party for me, where everyone got to paint DRAGONS with the cool metallic paints that looked awesome. LOL!!!
Talk about the time you were most content in life.
As a kid, when the weight the world, my thoughts and feelings didn’t push down on me. When I didn’t care what people thought of me, where I used to climb the tallest trees and jump from their branches, when I used to spend my time catching lizards and my friend (whom I still have) couldn’t understand how I did this for ‘fun’…but did it anyway, when we dressed up and made our own fashion model videos, when rolling down a hill and spinning so fast and collapsing on the grass…laughing from the dizziness was the best feeling in the world.
Statistics say that, mid-way through internship, the average intern will have seen ten of their patients die.
We will watch ten people with families and friends and hobbies and pets and memories pass away. Some of them will fade peacefully. Others will fight the inevitable until their last breath. Some plan their funerals, others plan a future they won’t have.
And I’m not sure that anything in medical school prepares us for dealing with death.
When my grandmother passed away two years ago, I knew how to grieve. I knew what was expected of me. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I holed myself in my room watching seasons of The Big Bang Theory, cried at her funeral, drank too much at her wake. The guilt of not visiting her enough, the realisation that my biggest fan was never going to see me graduate. As hard as it was, it made sense.
The process of grieving for a stranger is different. When my consultant told one of my patients and her family that death was imminent, I felt that I wasn’t allowed to cry or be sad. I had no right to mourn a patient that I’d only met a few hours ago. I knew nothing about her, I hadn’t been a part of her life.
Yet I was on the verge of tears.
It took me a while to realise that that was okay. That sadness is a normal emotion to feel and that maybe, that was my way of coping with what was happening.
While I don’t think there’s a right way of coping with death as a medical student, I do believe that it’s something that universities don’t talk about. So much of medical school is focused on staving off death that we forget that everyone passes away.
Here are my tips for coping with death as a medical student.
- Allow yourself to feel. Death can bring on a whole host of emotions: sadness, anger, guilt, and maybe even gratitude. All of these emotions are okay and valid. Let them come and go and if you find yourself overwhelmed, give yourself space.
- Self-care. Dealing with death is scary and awful. Not all patients pass away peacefully. Find a way to look after yourself in these situations. Go home after placement and make a good cup of coffee or watch a favourite movie. Go for a run if that’s your thing.
- Debrief. If you need to vent, vent. If you need reassurance it, seek it.
- Don’t compare your reaction to that of other people. On one rotation, I constantly compared myself to my registrar, who seemed unfazed by death. I felt like I was overreacting and that I should be able to deal with this. It took me a while to understand that death impacts everyone differently, and that there was no perfect way of coping.
- Say your goodbyes. For all my patients who have died, I say a few words in my head as I leave the room – something along the lines of ‘I hope you had a wonderful life’. For some people, they may say a prayer, others will simply smile or nod.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I hope that this may give some guidance about coping with death as a medical student – remember, you are never alone in medicine.
This most definitely applies to the world or radiation therapy. Sometimes I found I have forgotten the reasons patients are coming day-in-day-out for treatment. And every once in a while I will be hit with the realisation and full shock of what I’m actually doing. We’re all human, we have to grieve and process. Nothing good ever resulted from bottling up feelings and emotions.
^_^ Thanks lovely!
Talk about little things on your body that you like the most.
Well this is a bit cute.
Talk about things you do when you’re sick.
I love to lay on the couch and watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I usually have a blanket on me, with my heat pack, hopefully a cat, some tea to make me feel better and hard drugs to get rid of the pain. :P
Thank you lovely anon. ^_^
Talk about something someone told you that meant a lot.
I’m always so blown away by some of the things people say to me. But one of the most significant and profound things that was said to me recently was from my psychologist. She was telling me a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t really remember and then she said, ‘you are worthy.’ I instantly choked up inside, because I often feel so resistant to such a notion. It just shooted and paralleled it’s way into my soul and struck me with such intensity that I become overcome with emotion. Of course like most things I didn’t let it show, but I really wanted to just cry in that moment.
|1:||Talk about the first time you watched your favorite movie.|
|2:||Talk about your first kiss.|
|3:||Talk about the person you've had the most intense romantic feelings for.|
|4:||Talk about the thing you regret most so far.|
|5:||Talk about the best birthday you've had.|
|6:||Talk about the worst birthday you've had.|
|7:||Talk about your biggest insecurity.|
|8:||Talk about the thing you are most proud of.|
|9:||Talk about little things on your body that you like the most.|
|10:||Talk about the biggest fight you've ever had.|
|11:||Talk about the best dream you've ever had.|
|12:||Talk about the worst dream you've ever had.|
|13:||Talk about the first time you had sex/how you imagine your first time.|
|14:||Talk about a vacation.|
|15:||Talk about the time you were most content in life.|
|16:||Talk about the best party you've ever been to.|
|17:||Talk about someone you want to be friends with.|
|18:||Talk about something that happened in elementary school.|
|19:||Talk about something that happened in middle school.|
|20:||Talk about something that happened in high school.|
|21:||Talk about a time you had to turn someone down.|
|22:||Talk about your worst fear.|
|23:||Talk about a time someone turned you down.|
|24:||Talk about something someone told you that meant a lot.|
|25:||Talk about an ex-best friend.|
|26:||Talk about things you do when you're sick.|
|27:||Talk about your favorite part of someone else's body.|
|28:||Talk about your fetishes.|
|29:||Talk about what turns you on.|
|30:||Talk about what turns you off.|
|31:||Talk about what you think death is like.|
|32:||Talk about a place you remember from your childhood.|
|33:||Talk about what you do when you are sad.|
|34:||Talk about the worst physical pain you've endured.|
|35:||Talk about things you wish you could stop doing.|
|36:||Talk about your guilty pleasures.|
|37:||Talk about someone you thought you were in love with.|
|38:||Talk about songs that remind you of certain people.|
|39:||Talk about things you wish you'd known earlier.|
|40:||Talk about the end of something in your life.|
You’d be surprised, I looked up costs for weighted blankets and $200 is cheap :)
Really!? I must have forgotten since I did my own research. $200 is so cheap! Maybe I will think about it as a christmas holiday distraction. Might think about making just ordinary blankets and a few weighted ones…but not actually put the poly-pellets in it until people request the weight.
ORRRR…maybe not. I might keep it in the back of my mind.
Yay!! A hug sandwich :)