Saturday, November 26, 2016

Chapter Two : My Personal Transformation

My Personal Transformation

Nothing exists in our consciousness unless
we allow it to be there.
We have the power to create change -
Anytime we decide to do so.

During the time I was watching my breast cancer and bone tumor patients fight for their survival, I was deeply aware that I, too, was fighting for the survival of my personal integrity.  I was in the midst of a major crossroad that would ultimately affect the direction of my life.  My patients were the catalysts that would create a testing ground for me to either make the choices that would honor my personal truth or cause me to fall in with the mass of followers. I could not be one of those who do not listen to the voice of their conscience, but take the safe road to achieve their goals. 

Through my intership at University Hospital, I made long-lasting friendship with other interns.  I would talk with the interns I was closest to about the anticancer drug and how it affected the patients.  I expressed my doubts about the continue use of this 'Devil's Drug' and that I believed I needed to stop giving it to the patients.  We had many discussions about whether these feelings were right or wrong. I shares with them that I felt more like a killer than a doctor.  But time and time again, the answers from the other interns were always the same.  They seemed to echo in unison, 
"The hospital professor is very powerful!  If you disagree with him and do not follow his orders and give the anticancer drug to patients as you are instructed, he will become very angry.  You will never be able to receive you Ph.D at this hospital! You will have to go somewhere else."

"We should always obey what is asked of us.  This is the only way we can become doctors and go on for our Ph.D.s.  We cannot argue with what we are told, or we will be fired and lose all hope for our future in the medical field!" 

I remembered one story told to me that happened at this hospital. It happened long before I arrived here. There was a doctor on the staff, a good doctor and a kind person.  he was a humanitarian doctor.  He was always concerned for his patients.  He was not like some of the other doctors, only interested in their careers and their own future, such as becoming a professor or making more money for themselves.  He disliked prescribing drugs, even though his professor insisted.  It troubled him to watch his cancer patients suffer from the overuse of drugs, especially the new experimental anticancer drugs.  Instead, he would use alternative therapies  that he believed were safer and more natural.  Because he did not follow his professor's orders, he was fired. 

Even though he was a good doctor with a good reputation, he could not find another position because his professor used his influence with other hospitals against the good doctor.  He became so frustrated and disgusted that he quit medicine. 

The Japanese medical society is an elite class.  It respects and takes care of doctors from universities with the most reputation and power.  They are the only ones who ever become professors in prestigious hospitals.  Those who graduate and are trained at other, less prestigious universities have a difficult time getting opportunities to practice at prestigious hospitals.  If a doctor is graduate of the same medical school as his medical  superior, he will be treated differently with special favor. 

Under the strong power and influence of a professor, hospitals can get doctors to fill their staff in respective hospitals. The president or director of a hospital will go to the professor and request doctors. How they show respect and patronize the professor will determine if they are successful. 

Because my family has a long history on medicine and owns a large, successful hospital in Osaka, Japan, other doctors have treated me with jealousy.  When I decided that my patients were being given too much of a dangerous drug and decreased the amount of dose, another doctor would change my order on the patient's chart and raise the dosage without notifying me. 

Knowing that I would never be able to respect my professor or the doctors who jumped to his orders, i had to make a career decision before I lost my desire to continue to practice medicine.  Beside turning to fellow interns who were my friends for advice, I turned to my family for advises as well.  I respected the wisdom of my mother, who had tremendous insight and heart. She, without s doubt has had the largest impact in my life.  Her words of wisdom would ring loud and clear within my soul.  Ultimately, it would be her influence that would lead me through my struggle and toward the destiny I did not at the time understand. 

The turning point in my life that enabled me to come to terms with my own personal truth were the words I heard her  speak to me when I was only 16 years of age. 

My mother said , " What I would like to say to you is that you should never be a 'money' doctor. If you will be a doctor who is focused on money, your life will be short because of resentment. However, if you become a humanitarian doctor, your life will be so full of happiness and you, as well as the people who you help, will be forever grateful." 

These are the words my mother said to me on the day my father died.  Because of the untimely death of my father at such a young age, and the circumstances surrounding his death, my mother's words will remain with me forever.

My family's tragedy

What happened to my father? 
He was such a healthy person!
  I can't believe he is gone today when just yesterday he was so healthy!
 Why had we not noticed the situation of his ailing health in time?
Especially since my father was a doctor, why was he not able to tell us that he had not been feeling well?
Why was modern medicine not able to prevent his stroke?

I couldn't believe he was gone.  I feared for our future and wondered if we would ever be able to have a normal life again. 

My father died when he was just 42 years old.  he was a very famous surgeon whose specialty was cancer surgery.  He had a tremendous amount of drive and energy. He started and developed the Ohno Hospital in Osaka, Japan into a very renowed institution. He was driven to become the president of the Japan Medical Society. 
He was an exceptionally hard worker and never believed in taking a break.  He went to hospital every day to see his patients, even on Saturday and Sunday. The only time he took a day off was on New Year's Day. 

His main interest was pancreatic cancer, and he had a research center in the hospital so that he could continue his search for a cure. After he finished his daily schedule of surgery , he would always go to the research center to study until midnight.  There were times he would stay longer if he was performing an animal experiment.  I rarely saw him and I would ask my mother why he wan not home. She answered, "Father has stayed at the research center to finish his experiment." 

December 8. 1963, was a cold winter's day with the forecast of snow. I was just 16 years old. that morning  when I woke up,  my father was still home. To see him home at this hour was very strange, because he always left for the hospital very early in the morning.  He was never home for me to see him when I got  ready for school.

"Good morning,, Father!" I said.
He did not answer me immediately because  he was not feeling well.  I wasn't aware at the time that he was in physical  pain , so I ignored his delayed response and didn't think very much of it at that moment.  Seeing him home that winter morning is the last memory I have of seeing my father alive. 

As soon as he arrived at the hospital that morning, he asked a nurse to check his blood pressure.  The nurse took his blood pressure and said, " Dr. Ohno! Your blood pressure is dangerously high! Your blood pressure is exceptionally high and the reading is 22/120!  It is impossible for you to perform the surgery  you have scheduled today !"

"Please cancel today's surgery because your own health is in a very serious situation ! Dr. Ohno, I am very concerned that  you will suffer a heart attack or a stroke ! Please stop your plans to operate!"  

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