Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The art of practicing medicine

Over the last few weeks, I've been given examples of the amazing work being done by doctors. My sister Jenn has finished five rough rounds of chemotherapy for leukemia, and so far has refused to lose her hair. (It's true, they don't make 'em much more stubborn than my sister Jenn.) Cancer can be such a scary thing, what with the body seeming to turn on itself. But with the help of physicians and treatments, it can be held back or halted altogether. This to me is nothing short of miraculous.

Then there's my niece, Isabel. Born with a hole in her heart (and if she took after me, it would've been in her head,) she had surgery last Thursday to repair it. By Saturday night, she was home. By Monday afternoon, she was holding court like the perfect giggly princess, ready to see visitors. She's not out of the woods yet, but it did my heart good to be able to hold her and squish her and see with my own eyes that her healing has begun.

And so I feel confident that my friend Jon's partner Steve will kick his own cancer to the curb, and that I am faithful Janie's mom's doctors will figure out what's going on with her eye and fix that, too. Because medicine is an art, and good art is something to be appreciated.

The medical answers aren't always what we want. Sometimes we have to say goodbye too soon, sometimes we have to give our cat stool softeners to keep him from getting backed up, and sometimes the old parts need to be replaced. But we keep trying. We keep moving forward, looking for answers and believing anything is possible.

And isn't that the best outlook to have, no matter what?

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