It seems to swarm in on you. Even if you are not the one directly affected, if you have a loved one who is suffering from disease it can be difficult not to be emotionally involved. Disease can be a silent predator. Though one might think they are fine one day, tomorrow might not be so uneventful.
Sometimes our approach to illness is solid. We personify it and attack it as if it were an enemy. And, if the approach appears to work, we feel empowered. At other times, the illness is unforgiving. A day goes by, a weeks goes by, and then you find yourself several months later being told by that person in the white cloak who not long ago was a stranger to you, "The problem is only getting worse and may not be resolved."
This is not an easy thing to handle. We try our best. We try to remain optimistic. "May not be resolved" doesn't mean that it will not be resolved. And we try to take the guidance of professionals as best as we can.
In the end, we can only do so much.
I think that as future doctors, having compassion for others will be a great asset. Though there should be a professional boundary, it is very difficult to face illness and your words will carry quite a lot of weight for your patients.
Having lost a close family member yesterday, I was reminded of this fact. As well, my visits to the vet and familial illness have showed me just how important a compassionate and open healthcare professional is in patient recovery.