Today was an impressive day at the outpatient clinic of Dermatology, for us students. It wasn’t exactly because of dermatology-related stuff, but rather due to the patients. Normally we see generally healthy patients, with a skin problem. Today, however, none of our patients could classify as generally healthy. They each had an extensive history and I was quite taken aback by what diseases and operations do to a person.
The first woman, whom I interviewed, had recently had a kidney transplantation, and she also had her breast removed due to cancer. She was a very positive middle-aged woman, looking good in modern clothes, but the decay of her body due to disease was unmistakable when we inspected her. I feel deep respect for people who’ve had such a history but go on living as strong and optimistic as ever. Our second patient had undergone a kidney and heart transplantation, whereas our third patient had suffered polio decades ago, which had put her in a wheelchair for most of her life. She could barely hold out her arm to shake hands, but she was very intent to do the gesture properly. Another example of refusing to let such a destructive disease ruin your life completely. She presented with a skin phenomenon we students will not come across many times, so seeing a sclerodermatous morphea was quite special. In our last patient we saw the impact of the drug prednison: in only a few months she had more dan doubled her size and was afraid to fall in another depression episode.
All in all, quite a day, and it reminded me once more what an honor it is to become a doctor, that disciplines aren’t strictly separated, and that the emotions, whether optimism, drive or sulking, should always be respected.