By Joseph Kim.
In Greek, the word συνδέω (pron. : sundéo) simply means “to connect.” In etymology, σῠν- (sun-) means “together” and δέω (déō) means “tie”. Thus, the deeper meaning of συνδέω is “to tie together.” I would like to share how I συνδέω with one of my patients in the orthopedic surgery department at Riverside University Health System Medical Center.
During the morning clinic, I checked the patient’s chart prior to entering the clinic room and found out that this male patient came to the orthopedic surgery clinic for a humerus fracture ORIF (open reduction and internal fixation) follow-up appointment. I went into the room and asked him how he fractured his arm, and he replied that he was struck by an SUV at night when he was riding his bicycle. He added that he has been using his fractured arm because he had to work for a living, even though he was aware of the non-weight bearing status for his fractured arm. Soon after, he started to shed a tear and shared how he was denied workers’ compensation and had no extra money or anyone to help him financially. So, he had to work in construction, even though it caused him pain to move his arm. He expressed desperation for his situation and stated that he did not know what to do.
Then, I just sat and quietly listened, until he brought out all his pain and problems from his heart. I simply hugged him to show my acknowledgment of his feelings. I decided to share my personal pain and suffering that I always wanted to hide from others. I spoke to him about how I suffered from atopic dermatitis and have been suffering from seborrheic dermatitis and costochondritis for years. Since the onset of the diseases, I tried numerous treatments, but nothing has fully healed my diseases. I underwent a period of desperation, of questioning the purpose and meaning of my diseases, and time of riding an emotional roller coaster. But, because of these diseases, I improved my diet and exercised regularly. Most importantly, I learned and understood the heart of illnesses, as I was the patient as well.
I confessed how these conditions, which I used to consider a curse, have now become my blessings and thanked God that I was able to share it with him. Before he left the hospital, I had the privilege to buy him lunch at the cafeteria as he was about to face reality again.
It was such a short time that we spent together, but we συνδέω with each other through our own pain and suffering. He was in the fire of physical pain and financial crisis. I decided to walk into his fire by bringing my pain to suffer with him in the clinic. I believe that there is healing in sharing. It was a blessing to experience providing warmth to a patient’s heart and embracing him with kind and encouraging words. I am looking forward to growing into a podiatrist who not only fulfills physical needs, but also mental and spiritual needs.
By Joseph Kim.
Healing in Sharing
Motivation, Story, Student Life
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