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Chinese Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Editor’s note: Rita Charon, the initiator of "Narrative Medicine", stated that "Narrative Medicine consists in constructing the narrative ability of clinicians. It is the ability to absorb, interpret, and respond to stories and other humanistic dilemmas. This ability helps doctors improve the ability of empathy, professionalism, affinity, and self-behavior of patients in medical activities. The core of this is empathy and reflection." Medical humanities education based on the perspective of narrative medicine is a hot spot in the field of medical humanities education at home and abroad in recent years.


"We are working hard, please always be determined to the sun"

——A Narrative Medical Diary from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine

The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine established the "Angel Wings" medical student volunteer group in 2012 to encourage the first and second-year medical students of Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine to enter the oncology and hematology departments of the hospital as volunteers to carry out volunteers. Services include escort chat, psychological counseling, etc. At the same time, medical students are required to write observations and experiences as volunteer diaries, reminding medical students to pay attention to experiences and feelings when completing diaries. Up to now, medical student volunteers have completed more than 9,000 diaries, Effectively improve the humanistic literacy and humanistic care ability of medical students. The following is selected from the narrative medical diary of Zhang Yujin, a student of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, to share with readers.


Sunday, April 9, 2017, sunny

Today is the first time I entered the Fourth District of the Oncology Department of the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine as a medical student volunteer, and it was also the day I met Uncle He for the first time. After catching the morning bus from the University City campus early that morning, I was slightly nervous and excited to make rounds with Dr. Yu. When Uncle He, who was in bed 20, saw us, he greeted us with joy.


After the rounds, I chat with Uncle He with other volunteer partners. During the conversation, we learned that Uncle He is a veteran. Both husband and wife have their own businesses and have a pair of lovely twin sons. During the period when Uncle He was diagnosed with lung cancer in the middle and late stages, the couple suddenly fell into a state of despair. Later, his wife took the lead to cheer up, enlighten and encourage Uncle He to deal with cancer with a face-to-face and problem-solving attitude. With the firm support of his wife, Uncle He actively sought treatment. After being introduced here, I got professional and warm help from Dr. Lin and other medical staff. After treatment, the tumor on the right hip of Uncle He has shrunk, and related indicators have also improved. Morphine is no longer needed for pain relief. Uncle, He has a more positive attitude and a firmer conviction. In addition to cooperating with the treatment, Uncle He also independently consulted the literature and traced the roots to understand the cancer-related research from the earliest to the most cutting-edge, and became an "expert". Seeing emotionally unstable patients, Uncle He will enthusiastically help them analyze the treatment plan so that they can strengthen their confidence in the doctor. His brilliant smile and bold words shone the brightest sunshine into the tumor ward.


Sunday, April 23, 2017, cloudy

Two days after the last meeting, Uncle He was discharged from the hospital and returned to his hometown. I couldn't rush to the hospital because I was in class, so I had to say goodbye to him on WeChat. He encouraged me to be brave and persevere on the path of studying medicine because many people just like him need us to continue to explore better treatment methods. His sincere encouragement, his own research spirit, and his courage to face problems directly gave me a lot of motivation to learn and made me fall in love with medical volunteer work.


However, the impermanence of life is unimaginable. On the second weekend of becoming a volunteer, looking forward to serving the patients again, I suddenly received news from home that my aunt, like my biological mother, had a brain hemorrhage and was in danger. I experienced the biggest panic in 20 years and rushed back to my hometown overnight. During the eight or nine-hour drive, my mind kept echoing what Uncle He said when he told his story: "I don't think I am sad. What is truly terrifying and regrettable is the sudden passing away, and there is no room for retention. "I really understand the impermanence and fragility of life.


I prayed for a miracle while grieving. One night when it was close to midnight, Uncle He asked me to chat. He said that he secretly cried in the past two days. One is because his company is shutting down because of illness, and more importantly, he thinks that he might leave his beloved wife and children soon. After all, all his struggles are For them. Although I was suffering at the time, the love of the medical staff in the tumor ward in every detail reminded me of my responsibility. So, I resisted the grief, comforted and encouraged him patiently, and strengthened his confidence with the therapeutic effect that I had achieved until he was full of fighting spirit and went to sleep at ease. No matter how strong the fighter is, there will be times of loss, and giving the patient the strength to persist in time is also an important part of the treatment.


Today, Uncle He's mood fluctuates again, because a relative used various "realistic" reasons to persuade him to give up treatment, which caused him a great blow. And I, who just experienced the desire to keep my relatives and the helplessness of the deepest helplessness, have never known how important Uncle He's persistence is to himself and to the people who truly love him. After talking, Uncle He's inner love and cherished for life and life finally gained the upper hand again. He said that he must cherish precious hope and always guard his beloved wife and children.


Thursday, April 27, 2017, sunny

Today, Uncle He came to Guangzhou again to prescribe medicine. He sincerely said that he wanted to see me again, and I agreed without hesitation. After class, I rushed to the bus stop to the hospital. Although I had a lot of things to deal with that day, how I wish I could go there more! Uncle, He has excellent eyesight, so he saw me from a distance and waved excitedly. Uncle He's complexion and spirit are much better than last time. He proudly said that he can now eat 6 meals a day and feels that the targeted drugs he is using are effective because his body is getting better and better.


We talked a lot. He talked about the places where he played, the dinner with his friends, the growth of his sons, etc. He laughed heartily and looked very bright. His wife was also happy to see him become so cheerful and active during this time. The couple ridiculed each other, and the infinite love flowed from each other's eyes. The haze brought by cancer was scattered by love and faith. Looking at them in front of me, I seemed to see the most beautiful scenery in the world.


When we parted, I gave Uncle He a book "Your Heart is Soft but Powerful" that I often accompany my pillow. On the title page of the book, I wrote down solemnly and sincerely: "You persist, so we strive to never slacken; we work hard, so please always be determined to the sun." This is my sincere hope for Uncle He, and it is also me. As a reminder and exhortation to myself as a medical student, at the same time, I think this should also be the common love and commitment of all medical workers to life.


I am really happy that I rushed to such a beautiful meeting, and I hope the warm and beautiful words in the book can accompany him to appreciate the full moon of Shu Yun in his life, and accompany him through the fierce rains of the years, all the way to the sun.


Monday, May 22, 2017, sunny

A few days ago, I saw Uncle He in the circle of friends saying that he would read the book every night before going to bed and then fall asleep peacefully. I was so happy and moved in my heart. Xu Shi's beautiful words inspired his interest and inspiration. He who originally likes photography now always travels, he will share the beautiful scenery and vivid life in his lens with his casual poems. Looking at the words and sentences of this veteran's love and sex, I can't help feeling that when the soul is free and truly enjoy life, everyone can live a free poem.


I remember when I first met Uncle He, he said that traveling around the mountains and rivers was something he always wanted to do, but the busy business and the hard work for the family made him put his ideal life on hold. Until the illness was found, his wife said to him affectionately and firmly: "Take advantage of doing what you want to do the most. Once you thought about everything for the elderly and children, now I want to try my best to do the best. It's all for you to enjoy." Obviously, they have invisibly transformed this encounter into an opportunity to return to their hearts and change their lifestyle and focus. Now, Uncle He is doing things that make him happy. The couple is more focused and cherishes each other's emotions, and gratefully watches the growth of the lovely twin sons together.


I am honored to have the opportunity to witness a patient and a family from despair and hesitation back to the right track of life with my own eyes at the beginning of my medical studies, and to add treasure and beauty, to witness the transformation of a heart to happiness and freedom. I also think from this, we should jump out of the inertial thinking of talking about cancer, and look at cancer from another angle. Cancer, like other diseases, is a signal sent by the body, reminding us to turn our eyes back to ourselves, and pushing us to think about how to treat our body and mind well. If we can know how to get along with our body in time and how to take care of it, then the body will naturally recover. Therefore, all of us should not treat cancer with fear, confrontation, or hatred, but should reflect and change through it, to find the path to true physical and mental freedom. In this process, the guidance and encouragement of the medical staff to the patients is particularly important, and the trust, acceptance, and transformation of the patients are also a great encouragement to the doctors. Let doctors and patients work together to take care of the freshness and beauty of life, and use humanistic care as an umbrella to escort life to a healthy clear sky.

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