Dark times

I spent November 9 vacillating between deep sadness, despair, shock. It's not that I'm not a Republican and a Republican won. On a personal and real level, the kind of hateful speech, flagrant disregard for facts and for fellow humans that Trump's campaign spouted is offensive to me, to people I love, and is antithetical to the reasons why I went into medicine.

I spent that morning in the hospital, with a patient who is dying of widely metastatic cancer. When I went to talk about this with the patient, the patient said to me "I'm just hoping that there is a surgery that the doctors can find that will cure me so I can return to my home country. I'd like to get on with my life."

I looked at the patient and said "unfortunately, my understanding is that there is no surgery that will reverse the disease or cure you. But, know that even though we can't cure your disease, you are still our patient, we will still take care of you."

He started to weep at that point, and I held his hand. Through his tears, he thanked me.

Now doesn't feel like the time to use euphemisms, to sugar coat things. The results of this election may well endanger the lives of a great many people here in this country and abroad. It may be responsible for national policies--and a Supreme Court--that makes life much more difficult for women, impoverished people, people of color, the LGBTQI community. I pray that my medical training will help me be ready to stand with others, respond to tragedy with courage, and that my voice & access to privilege is used to help those who need it.

Ashley White-Stern