I recently posted this to my social media, and it really was influenced by a bunch of emotions flowing through me, followed by one very special experience.
Most of you may know I work part-time as a medical doctor, and the other part as a musician. I like my medical job, especially the kids I get to see and treat when I’m there. I love my music job. There is never an unhappy moment when I’m on a stage, and a mic is in my hand. What this means is that some days I’m at the hospital and the other days I’m not.
Last week for the 1st in a long time I worked Monday through Friday, and it reminded me of when I worked as a full-time doctor. By around Wednesday my facial expression became flatter, and my general bubbly energy started to simmer. My life energy felt like it was being sucked out of me. The really sad part is that I realized that my work conditions were more undesirable than the actual work itself, and that made the whole thing suck more. It meant that if things actually worked properly, then I’d probably not be so miserable at my medical job. That said the feeling of having to come home after and hustle to do all the music work, also after going to the gym, then falling asleep in front of the laptop, was rubbing me a bit. I felt like I needed more hours in the day, and that I wasn’t doing what I really felt like…And to imagine I have no wife and kids yet.
At this point some are saying, damn this boy is ungrateful. He has it all! He is a doctor and a musician. That’s so awesome! Why would he ever want to complain? Well the grass is always greener on the other side. I want to make it clear that I am eternally grateful for all I have, and I wouldn’t dare call this complaining. I appreciate that this can all be taken away from me in a swift lightening bolt moment. That still doesn’t change the fact that some days I feel like I need to devote my life to the music and entertainment industry. No matter how much I have, or what titles I attain, my passion is music, and my feeling remains unchanged about that.
All of this to say that I met a young boy around 7 years old with a condition called VACTERL Association. His timing in my hell week was impeccable, just as God always has it. The VACTERL association (also VATER syndrome) refers to the non-random co-occurrence of birth defectsVertebral anomalies, Anal atresia, Cardiac defects, Tracheoesophageal fistula and/or Esophageal atresia, Renal & Radial anomalies and Limb defects. The reason it is called an association, rather than a syndrome is that while the complications are not pathogenically related they tend to occur together more frequently than expected by chance. In general, the etiology of “associations” are not defined. In English, or patois if you may, yu spine can affect, yu anal muscles can be weak (aka fecal incontinence and diapers), yu can have hole inna yu heart, yu can have a hole between yu food passage an yu wind pipe, yu could not have a kidney and last but not least your hand could stop at your elbow cuz it just didn’t grow anymore.
My unnamed patient was carried into the room by his mother. At this point I hadn’t noticed he didn’t have a leg. I soon learned that he wears pampers daily, and has one kidney which is pretty much non-functional. This kid looked like any other kid on the outside, and fortunately your brain is not affected, so he spoke well and was quite intelligent and polite. Matter a fact he was most disappointed when I told him he may have to come back to visit us on a Saturday. That meant missing Saturday morning cartoons. He was by all means a normal 7 year old. When we were finished he hopped outside and grabbed his crutches and moved down the corridor faster than I could walk. He seem so unaffected. Granted he has known nothing else. He was born this way and has learned to live this way. He had no choice. Most of us would freak out if we didn’t have another leg. Maybe if he was in another country he would have had prostheses fitted by now.
The moral of the story is that these patients come to me for me to give them some information that will help or affect their lives, when instead their mere presence affects my life in such an intense way, I can’t even express it to them. I was rendered speechless about being stressed out by work when I realized all my limbs were present, I don’t use crutches, I have 2 kidneys and I can hold my stool up…And here I was being miserable.
My feelings about doing what you love and immersing yourself in it remain unchanged, but I know that after meeting that boy I had nothing to be miserable about or even consider complaining about. He is blessed to have what he has, and in that moment he had more than what I had…an unaffected, untainted spirit; a heart like a lion and the spirit of an angel. I pray that he will continue to grow and have a full life, and not become bitter about his condition, and most of all I thank him for coming through that door and reminding me never to ever consider complaining, when even the mere ability to breathe is precious. Thank you kind sir, and I hope you all remember to give thanks everything, no matter how bad it seems.