Prompt: Describe the most difficult adversity you have faced, and describe how you dealt with it.
It was my third week as a volunteer in the cancer center and everything was going great. I understood the filing process, formed friendships with the nurses and was finally able to get to my station without having to ask for directions. During that week a new patient had come to our floor and I was eager to help her. Her name was Dorothy* and she ended up helping me more than I helped her.
I first entered Dorothy's room to refill the jug of water. It was the tenth room I visited during my rounds that day, and at first glance it seemed like all the other rooms with plain white walls, a medium blue curtain that divided the room and a window with a view of the parking lot. Only the person in the bed was different. Dorothy was a 54 year-old Caucasian female with breast cancer. The nurses had warned me that she might be a little difficult to handle. So I walked in with a big smile and asked her how her day was. She sarcastically replied that it was wonderful. I was a bit surprised but I kept my smile and tried to keep up a positive mood. But each of my attempts to comfort her was futile and shot down by cynicism. The next time I came to her room, I was determined to help her. But this time she switched from cynicism to criticism. She criticized everything from the quality of my work to my appearance. Each criticism felt like a punch in the gut and I struggled to remain professional. I knew that Dorothy was dealing with a tough time and so I was more angry with myself for not being able to handle this situation than I was at her. After I excused myself, I went to one of the nurses and begged for advice. She told me that there are going to be many difficult patients and that it will take time to be able to deal with situations like these.
After that experience I spent many days reflecting if becoming a doctor is really my dream. Should I go for something where I will not disappoint other people? But while I was pondering this I realized that even superman has disappointed people and that my experience with Dorothy should not hinder my love of this field. Rather it should make it stronger because now I will be ready for the bad aspects of this job. I wish I could say that after my self-reflection, I was able to connect Dorothy and formed a strong friendship with her, but I cannot. Dorothy was transferred to another hospital before we could break the barrier between us. Even now, years after Dorothy, I am still dealing with difficult patients, but each of these patients helps me grow professionally.
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