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Adjusting to the ‘Real’ World

This week has seen me re-enter the “real world’ so to speak. After more than a year off, I have begun my TI year starting with a GP run out in Botany Downs. The short 2 1/2 days of work was then brought down to earth by round 2 of chemo starting on Friday, and as I type this, I’m slowly to trying to excrete the toxins in my body out, and regain my strength again. I had initially thought I would be back in action midday Tuesday, but I think at this stage beginning back on Wednesday is a more realistic endeavour. This means I will be having 3 days out of every fortnight, which is hopefully workable with the medschool.

The first few days back were interesting. They largely involved the mainstay of General Practice, tonsillitis, skin cancer, lumps, bumps, gout, high cholesterol and blood pressure. There were encounters with snotty nosed kids, and worried mothers, and a guy who had a heart attack and was saved by community CPR. There was the guy who had his aortic nicked during an angioplasty, leading to cardiothoracic surgery, a double bypass, only to have his grafts block up within days of his surgery. The lady with a recent total knee replacement, and the other lady with early onset alzheimers.

Encounters with a broken humanity.

At times, life seems so good, we go along living our lives as we might plan it, clinging to the illusion that we have got what we want, and that we have ourselves sorted. Yet this fragile illusion can collapse around us at a moments breath.

General Practice allows you to engage with the community on a different level than normal, you get to see the brokeness that is shrouded by the lights and glamour of wealth, materialism, and the illusion that we have got it all sorted. You get to see first hand just how fragile our lives are, how quickly they can come tumbling down around us, or even more, how quickly it can come to an abrupt end….

I’m tired.

Tired because of chemotherapy….

Tired because I have worked the first 3 days of work in over a year….

Tired because I see that my brokenness is not limited to myself….

Tired because there will always be more questions than answers….

I have just heard the news this evening that a lecturer and excellent physician, Peter Black, from Auckland hospital died suddenly last night whilst mowing his lawns. He was top of his class, and always had us students in awe at his knowledge.

No one is immune, no matter who we think we are, we are not immune from the decay that surrounds us. We suffer ailments as simple as a cough and as lethal as a stroke, and the probability of either striking us seems arbitrary at best, cruel at worst.

Yet in the midst of this darkness, of the slow decline in health and in life, there seems to be hope. Hope for something better than what we have. Sometimes this hope drives us to more illusionary wealth and fortune. Sometimes it drives us to ponder the more introspective aspects to life.

My hope has driven me to serve.

I could wait out the dying days of my life, patient for my last breath. I could feel sorry for myself wondering what I ever did to deserve cancer. I could quietly pass away into the night.

But I can’t.

I have a hope for my life, and for those around me that drives me beyond my own ambition. I genuinely want to spend my life making the lives of others better. Whether its friends in first world, or strangers in the third; whether through being a listening ear, or literally saving a life with my own two hands.

My hope has driven me to serve.

And so, even though I am tired, I am incredibly energised, being back in the work I love to do. Medicine is my calling, and I will follow it. My brokeness tires me, but chosing to serve through it, and in spite of it, enables me to make a difference.

Albeit a small one.

Thanks for Listening.

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  1. Stephanie
    March 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Jared, I saw you today on NZone, Shine. I beleive in what you are messaging, so I wanted to read more. Thanks for sharing your journey, for me it helps to hear others talking about submission, the meaningfulness of all connections we make with people, and the importance in following our calling, even if we dont understand the sense of it – its not always for us to understand. Thank you!
    Stephanie
    Nutrition student – Wellpark College

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