At and be that superhero that saves lives. I

At 3:33am
on August 23rd, 1999, my life changed forever. My mother’s cries awakened
me. I could hear her frantically talking to my father in the kitchen. My
grandfather had suffered a cardiac arrest. He was being rushed to the hospital and
we had to go, now. I remember hearing my mom pray in the car ride to the
hospital as tears rolled down her cheeks. “Please God, please save him,” over
and over again. My only thought was that I’d be losing my grandfather forever. I’d be losing the man that took care
of me every day when my parents went to work. I’d be losing the man that sat
there and watched my favorite cartoons with me. He didn’t even understand
English. He was everything to me. We arrived to the emergency room and
were told that he was in surgery. We waited in that emergency room for what
felt like days.

It
was light outside already. My mom couldn’t sit any longer. I could sense the
worry in her face. Suddenly, this tall man in a white coat approached us. My
parents instructed me to sit and wait while they walked away to talk to the
man. I noticed my mother’s facial expression instantly change. I could hear my
parents thanking this man. My parents came running to me saying that my
grandfather had been saved. Instantly, I was washed over with a feeling of
relief. My mother’s beautiful, radiant smile had returned. But who was this
mysterious man in the white coat? I asked my father and he called him “The
Doctor.” The only “doctor” that I was familiar with at the time was the one
that gave me my shots, followed by lollipops. This was not the same man.

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As
we sat there waiting to go see my grandfather, I kept thinking about the
doctor. He had just saved my grandfather. He had just made my mom stop crying. We
were so grateful of this man. He had to be a superhero. On this day, a six-year
old’s dream had been decided. A dream to become a doctor and be that superhero
that saves lives. I wanted to make others feel the way that I did that day.

            My grandfather became ill again when
I was 17. He wasn’t able to take care of himself. It was my turn to take care
of him. I became his Provider and assisted him in his personal care and daily
routine. As years went on, keeping that dream of becoming a physician became
harder and harder. My grandfather’s memory was failing him. He would forget who
I was at times. I took care of him until he passed away three years later. I
wasn’t able to save him like the doctor did many years ago. At that point in
time, I speculated, “Is medicine really what I want to go into?”

            After reflecting on it for some time,
I understood that my grandfather’s death gave me an opportunity for achievement
and personal growth. Although heartbreaking, I didn’t want to give up on my
dream and turn my back on my grandfather or medicine. I cherished the
interactions with my grandfather, even in his final years. I realized that I
had become that caregiver, that “superhero”, for him. Yes, I wasn’t able to
save him but that’s an essential part of being a physician. The ability to accept
the harsh reality that you’re not going to be able to save every patient that
walks through the doors.

            I
continued my interest in medicine throughout my undergraduate career, enrolling
in courses from general biology all the way to the more in-depth cellular
biology and organic chemistry. However challenging, analyzing and gaining all
of this knowledge from macro to the most micro aspects of the sciences has been
a satisfying ride. I had been infatuated with the laboratory facet of biology. Cancer
research with Dr. Oppenheimer motivated me. Obtaining results after an
experiment and knowing that this newly found information can supply knowledge
to the world and potentially treat diseases is an incredible feeling.