I was pretty young when I realized that my mom was struggling with her health and I knew that she was constantly exhausted and struggling. Her first symptoms of multiple sclerosis were at the age of 19. My momma gave everything she had to raise her babies though.
Then my dad, at the age of 33, became extremely ill. In a period of six months he went from being able to do his job as a commercial electrician, to barely being able to walk to the bathroom. He died within 5 months of starting chemotherapy.
I was 13 when my dad died. Even then, I knew that my parents’ illness was not caused by one single factor and a single cure would never work.
I chose medicine pretty early on as a child, I wanted to help people. Playing a part in caring for my mother with multiple sclerosis, my father with cancer, my paternal grandmother with cancer and my paternal grandfather with dementia, only heightened my desire and aim.
Unfortunately, when I entered the medical field, I realized that the conventional medicine field was not what I had envisioned at all. It was a system that simply didn’t allow time to take care about people. It was about seeing as many people as possible, in the least amount of time, to make the most money for big companies.
One day, I was working in a rural primary care clinic when my manager told me ‘Walk out of the room if someone has more than two complaints, you only have 15 minutes with them, so tell them to come back another day’. It nearly broke me because I don’t believe that’s how healthcare should work.