A Special Meeting With A Special Girl

by Rishi Patel

A Special Meeting With A Special Girl

During my primary care attachment, I visited a mother with a Down's Syndrome baby. I remember walking to the house with my sheet of paper that had all the details about the patient on it, and beforehand thinking how interesting and exciting the meeting would be. When I entered the house and saw little Anya all the feelings of excitement and the air of triviality about the meeting left me and I was filled with a whole new set of emotions. I thought to myself 'this is a smiling little girl plagued by illness.. . .she looks so normal'. It didn't feel like I was a first year medical student any more, it felt like I was there to play with Anya*, I really wanted to care for her. My heart melted when I saw her; I couldn't believe how normal she looked on the surface, not like a 'typical' Down's Syndrome baby. I then felt a sense of sympathy towards Anya, how can someone so sweet and innocent have such a debilitating illness? It was so unfair. I surprised myself when I began to feel slightly angry, I didn't realise how easy it was to become attached to someone so quickly. It's not until you meet the patients first hand that you understand how privileged a position members of the medical profession are, including students, as patients speak to you in a different way, because they trust you immensely. It's a wonderful feeling. I remember experiencing this whilst speaking to Anya's mother (Penny), a conversation that left me amazed. I knew that caring for one another was a customary part of family life, which is almost taken for granted in some situations, but I did not appreciate how much some parents did and indeed have to do for their children. I found it incredible and refreshing how one human being can love another so much, so that they would literally do anything for them. Anya's condition meant that Penny regularly had to wake up three or four times a night to attend to her. Yet Penny felt not even a hint of resentment or regret, but just turned several times to Anya during the conversation and smiled at her. They were smiles that symbolised love, affection and warmth. Something told me that Penny wouldn't swap Anya for anyone, and for that Penny had my complete respect and admiration whilst Anya had won my heart..

Rishi Patel

*names changed to maintain patient-confidentiality

Reflection

I was really cynical about the whole process of writing a piece of creative work when it was set, and even avoided doing it until the very last minute! I found starting it hard, but I think that is just because the idea of writing creatively, and even just writing, about my feelings is completely new and alien to me. However, once I started to write and got into the swing of things I have to admit I enjoyed it immensely and actually felt it to be an extremely beneficial exercise.

Whole Person Care