The first time I remember being in the hospital was when I was about 10 years old. I was visiting my grandpa who was being treated for lung cancer. I remember being afraid of the hospital, it was a big place with a lot of stuff going on that I didn’t understand. I was especially afraid of all the horrifying diseases and microbes that the hospital housed. The concept of an unseen bug that invades your body and makes you sick was petrifying for me. I remember walking into my grandpas room and being terrified. He was lying in bed, talking to some of my aunts and uncles. As I walked in, I hugged the side of the room trying to avoid contracting whatever he had. I think my mom thought it was funny. She told me not to worry.
Since starting medical school I’ve thought about that moment and my fear of illness a lot. I wonder if being so afraid of illness is the reason why I got interested in healthcare in the first place. Maybe by learning about disease I am unintentionally trying to alleviate my own anxiety about it. Nowadays, I don’t think about my health nearly as much as I did when I was younger. Yet, whenever I feel something different going on in my body, my mind always goes to the worst-case scenario. It reminds me that someday, sooner or later, I too will lie in a hospital bed for the last time.
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