Exactly one year ago was what some consider the darkest day in Pakistan’s history. Over one hundred children were killed at a school in Peshawar. Mothers and fathers sent their children to school, only to have them never return. Below I’ve included a piece that I wrote the evening of the attack last year. I read these words and still experience an almost debilitating sadness. I wish I knew what the ‘right’ thing to do was. I wish the world felt safer, better since this time last year – but it doesn’t. So I don’t know.
All I know is that I want to celebrate the lives of these children. I want to remember them for their quirks and know more about the life they led before it was cut too short. Dawn, one of the leading newspapers in Pakistan has created a wonderful tribute to all 144 lives that were lost that day, most of them children. Please spend some time today reading about them and say their names. Say their names so that they’re always part of this world and so that those who choose to terrorize innocent people know that we will never forget.
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Today was supposed to be a good day.
I woke up around 8 and that felt too early. Anything before ten these days feels ‘too early’ but then I remembered that I was late to clinical skills last session and so I got myself out of bed – I thought ‘it’s okay, I can sleep in tomorrow.’
I got dressed, warmed up my coffee and woke up hubs so I could get a ride to campus. Today we were doing a male genitourinary exam and digital rectal exam. Most practicing physicians have probably done hundreds of these exams but being a medical student, I obviously felt nervous. I also felt really grateful to the standardized patients who allow us access to their bodies so that we can learn to be better healers for our future patients, who allow us to perform exams that most would shy away from even when there is something wrong.
The majority of the first year of medical school, you learn about how humans work. You learn about the various mechanisms that allow our tickers to tick, our liver to flush out toxins, how the brain controls so many of those mechanisms. And once you feel like you’re finally getting a grasp on how we work, you get to second year and learn all the ways that we don’t. You learn about the pathology of each organ system and you start to wonder… how are any of us still alive and functioning? Life and living start feeling miraculous. And other than the bouts of ‘med student syndrome,’ (where we start thinking we have any disease we’re studying at the time) you really start to appreciate good health more than you ever have.
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