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Clinical Trials

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A Different Vow
By Kate Arnold

(Page 3 of 3)

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.


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