A fourth-year medical student writes about death



I am married to a physician; an oncologist to be exact. We’ve been together since before she went to med school. I would never have understood what a shitty job it is to be a doctor if it was not for the life journey I am currently on with my wonderful wife.

The amount of slow death they must deal with is immense. It’s a lot to bring home every night. But at the same time, they must come to terms with it. I feel helpless because our work lives are so different. There is rarely any advice I can give that will help her.

All I do is to tell her to focus on the positives. She saved a guy’s life a few weeks ago. I tell her to hold on to that. Remember the guy’s wife. She would be a widow it if wasn’t for my amazing wife.

It feels really corny to read all this in writing but the average person on the street has NO clue what it is like to live the life of a physician.


I started out thinking that I would spend my post undergrad years going into oncology, then I spent some time at the hospital and then decided I would go into medical physics, then decided that was still too close, and finally ended up in the engineering end of things. I don’t have the emotional fortitude (and was afraid of becoming inured to it).

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