What gives me hope is seeing my patients fight
for their love. I never expected to learn so much
about marriage; but watching my patients fight for
their marriages has been my favorite part of the
job. My parents got divorced when I was in third
grade because, simply put, it just wasn't working.
While I'm not second-guessing the decision, it’s
healing for me to see couples face huge obstacles
together and win.
Martha and her husband John are terribly in love.
Just as Martha’s visit is ending, John walks into
the room. He usually goes and works while she
stays at the hospital, stopping by to have lunch
from the cafeteria with her. As John walks into the
room, they smile at each other and their eyes
twinkle. John asks her if she’s ready to go home,
she says yes, and they get ready to go. Martha can’t
tell which shoe goes on which foot, so John helps.
They joke as John puts her shoe on; and if a
stranger walked by, he would surely think it was an
act of romance, not of necessity. John sees
everything that’s happening, but they’ve chosen to
live together in good spirits despite the
circumstances, and they convince me that it is
better to have loved and lost than never to have
loved at all. As they get ready to leave, his hand
brushes her stomach with ownership and tenderness as
he tickles her. With that one sign of affection, I
see that they’ve won the battle. They will
love each other until death do them part and that
gives me hope.
Kate Arnold is currently
attending medical school at Georgetown University;
but before enrolling, she worked with Alzheimer's
patients for a year as a research coordinator for
clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease. She
was able to get to know her patients and their
spouses very well over the year; and at the end, she
was amazed by how much she had learned from them.