Do I really want to go into healthcare?
The Cancer Hospice House of Wisconsin seemed like a place with little hope and extreme sadness. On my first day I met Paul, a tall, emaciated, forty-year-old lung cancer victim who began a battle with a smoking addiction at the young age of 10. To complicate matters he was recovering from a stroke that had severely affected his speech. I took him to Appleton Medical Center for a long-overdue appointment. It had been weeks since he had been outside. After waiting for two and a half hours, he was called in and then needed to wait another two hours for his prescription. Hungry, I suggested we go and get some lunch. At first Paul resisted; he did not want to accept the lunch offer. Estranged from his family, he was not used to anyone being kind to him. When the food arrived, Paul took his first bite. Suddenly, his face lit up with the biggest, most radiant smile. He was on top of the world because somebody bought him a hamburger. While elated that I had literally made Paul’s day, the physical pain and emotional isolation from which he suffered greatly affected me. This was a harsh side of medicine I had not faced before. Right then I wondered, “Do I really want to go into healthcare?”