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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Doctors of Tomorrow

In what has become an annual tradition, I addressed the second-year medical students at the University of Pennsylvania today. After sharing my medical history, with a particular focus on the nutritional and pulmonary issues that arose while I was in college, I answered questions from the students.

Interestingly enough, most of the questions I received did not pertain not to the specifics of my disease. I was asked, for example, whether I had any siblings (yes, two younger sisters) and how my disease has impacted them. Another interesting question was about my relationship with my friends.

My favorite question was about the technology I use on a daily basis. I nearly brought the house down when I described the arguments I have with my voice-activated environmental control system (see my entry from 10/12/06). Cursing under my breath, I explained, is the only way to blow off steam at the system without eliciting a response from it.

For me, the most touching moment occurred when all of students in one of the classrooms (I addressed three separate groups) got out of their seats and gathered around my wheelchair as my pulmonologist explained the settings on my ventilator.

It was obvious that they truly cared. Translate that into a hospital setting and you have some pretty good doctors.

1 comment:

David said...

I have enjoyed reading your insights and daily experiences. I plan to read more.

I think it's really important that doctors hear the perspectives of people with disabilities. It's great that you shared yourself that way. I talk each year with groups of high school students, and like you, I find it satisfying, and I hope that the interaction gets them thinking.

PS - Check out the disability blog carnivals. You may want to contribute. The next deadline is Dec 11.