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In Sickness and in Health

Mar/28/2022 / by Abhijit Masih
Image credits: Shutterstock

Though we don’t need a special day to show gratitude to doctors, there is an National Doctor’s Day (March 30) and the National Week of Physicians (March 25-31).

This year it should be celebrated with more exuberance, given that the pandemic seems to be waning. While the world was grappling with COVID-19, doctors and health care workers caring for the afflicted risked not just their own lives but that of their families. There were prayers for them not just in the homes of their patients but in every place of worship. The world can’t thank them enough.

We at SEEMA thought of finding out what some of the things that these saviors of humanity are thankful for. We spoke to four young physicians, all of them women, and tried to find out what they are most appreciative about.

Dr Riddhi Upadhyay

Dr. Riddhi Upadhyay. A critical care physician, she currently doing her fellowship training at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

I have been both humbled and honored as a doctor to care for some of the unfortunate and sickest patients and family members affected with COVID-19 since March 2020 in the medical intensive care unit. The journey has been both tough and evolutionary and my gratitude goes out to all the strong health care workers, and to all the family members whose lives have been affected by their loved ones who have been affected by the pandemic. I am incredibly grateful and thankful for every step and every individual that has allowed me to grow and be here today.

Dr. Thara Nazareth

Dr. Thara Nazareth. A psychiatry resident about to wrap up in June 2022. She is from San Diego, California, and graduated from American University of Antigua Class of 2016.

“I am I have so many things to be thankful for and that have made me the woman and doctor I am today. I have had many mentors, teachers and friends that have brought me to this place, but what I am most grateful for is my family.

I am so similar to my father. Not many people get to have someone to show them how to be a successful and balanced physician and person, in theory and by example. I can remember Father-Daughter work day, wearing his white coat and asking his patients, ‘What brings you in today?’ When I educate my patients, or even answer my pager, I can hear my father’s words come out of my mouth so naturally. He has shown me how important it is to prioritize yourself, your family and your patients in a way that is beneficial and healthy for all. His example resonates with me in everything I do.

I have always wanted to be more like my mother. In everything she does, there is immense kindness and compassion. She will be the first person to hold my hand when I’m struggling and to celebrate me when I have good news. I have watched her donate her kidney and battle through breast cancer, all with a smile on her face. She’s selfless and every time I want my way, I have to think what she would do. I try to emulate her warmth in every relationship and with every patient.

I am the utter opposite of my brother. Who knew how much I needed him to be the opposite end of the battery. I can be singularly focused and type A and he reminds me that it will all be alright and to stop and smell the upside-down roses. He will always make me see a situation from every perspective, even when I do not want to. He is remarkable and I’m so excited that I get to look up to my little brother.

I have so much to be thankful for: the opportunities, the support and the love I have received are more than the stars in the sky. But at the end of the day, these three individuals have cultivated and shaped me as a physician and as a woman. How lucky am I?”

Dr. Jessica Soni

Dr. Jessica Soni. A pediatrician at Optum Health in the Hudson Valley, New York, she is a graduate of the American University of Antigua.

“One thing that I am thankful for is my family. The global pandemic has created an upheaval and changed everyone’s lives. I am blessed to have a supportive family to come home to after a long days work. It was quite scary in the beginning of the pandemic with the many unknown factors. Coming home to two young children and not knowing what germs I was bringing home from the office and what repercussions that may cause, was something difficult to fathom. My family and I continue to weather this storm together and have our safety measures in place so we can function as a cohesive unit. We look to the future with the information we have learned from the past to adapt and work together to keep ourselves safe.

I am also thankful for all the first responders, the front line workers, and to all the people, that in trying times showed their humanity and rose to the occasion of this unprecedented part of history that we shall never forget in our lifetimes.”

Dr. Rashmi Jadhav
Dr. Rashmi Jadhav

Dr. Rashmi Arun Jadhav. A physician in simulation and patient safety currently completing her fellowship training at Georgetown University with a medical school journey that began at AUA with a future as a full-time attending position this summer back in her home state of New Jersey.

“I am incredibly blessed with the most supportive family in the world. Medicine is one of the most mentally, emotionally, and physically draining professions; particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. As an emergency medicine physician on the front lines of a global pandemic, the last two years were particularly taxing and I would not have been able to persevere through them without the love and encouragement of my family. Whether it was maintaining my stamina and emotional calm in the organized chaos of the ER or healing myself in isolation through a month-long recovery after getting COVID in 2020, I was never truly alone. My family has been and will always be the most important thing in my life, and the thing that I am most grateful for. These last few years of residency and fellowship training have shown me how critical it is to have a support system in place, not only in medicine, but in all aspects of life. I will forever to be thankful for my family.

The common thread running through the stories of these three doctors from different locations and diverse streams of medicine is that of the importance of family. The Spanish saying holds true for them – ‘La familia no es una cosa importante. Es todo’ (Family isn’t an important thing. It’s everything).

For more powerful stories of doctors surviving the pandemic, check out Poonam Desai: An ER Doctor’s Pandemic Journey


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