Getting Ready

February 20, 2012

If all goes through, my volunteer work will consist of working in a shelter for homeless men, working with children with handicaps and visiting the sick in the hospital under the guidance of a pastor. On top of this, I’m hoping to perform scientific research at the Oregon Center for Hearing Research under the direction of a deaf professor of head and neck surgery in the not so distant future.

The volunteer work will only last a month as the vocational rehabilitation office wants to observe my work ethic before they will agree to pay for my college education, but I’m hoping to turn it into a long term experience. In any sense, they’ll only pay for my undergraduate studies and not medical school. Nonetheless, there are educational grants and loan repayment programs available for doctors willing to serve an underserved minority patient population. I believe my experience as both a Deaf American and a Latin American would serve me well as I would want to focus on these patient populations in my practice. I’m especially interested in serving the culturally Deaf who have great difficulty finding culturally sensitive medical care in our predominantly hearing world. I imagine Deaf people would be willing to commute an hour or two away to be treated by one who understands their self-identity and moral values. Not only that, if I worked in an academic children’s hospital, I’d be a popular option for referring doctors who agreed that their Deaf patients would receive better care under my service.

So much to think about and look forward to. I’m excited to be at this point in my life where a dream I’ve always had finally seems within reach.

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When Words are not Enough

February 17, 2012

I pride myself on being able to put complex feelings into words in a way that comforts even the most afraid spirit. Words are not enough this time.

Words cannot explain the pain I feel seeing a little boy embark on his journey with the same disorder I have. The young child only just recently had his entire right eyeball removed. His orbit–the eye socket–is inflamed so badly that it’s swelling right out of the socket. His doctors are considering tarsorrhaphy (sealing the eyelids together) to reduce inflammation and protect the now vulnerable flesh from infection. He’s afraid. His mother asked me if it will hurt. No, it won’t, but pain isn’t the only thing terrifying children inside hospitals. It’s the environment. It’s knowing something is wrong with your body and there’s nothing you can do to fix it or make it go away.

I want to hold him. To walk him through all the pain. To let him know that he is no lesser being. I want to teach him how to live like a champion and hope that he might realize that he can compete with the most able of them. God chose him, just like God chose me. The chosen must walk together.

Thank you, Connor, for reminding me of my calling. See you soon.

The Sound of Science

February 12, 2012

The moment I saw the article headline, Peter Steyger, PhD, Publishes Immensely Personal Breakthrough on Drug-Induced Deafness, I knew it was a sign. The very institution that had my heart longing to become a physician since I was a small child had a deaf professor and medical researcher educating and discovering within its very walls. Surly this was God saying to me, “You are on the right path, my son. I know it is a difficult and lonely path, for this reason I have given to you a mentor. Learn from him, my son. Learn as much as you can from him so that one day you, too, can mentor another who was chosen to walk the path less taken.”

I will, God. I will.

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