My Answer Hasn’t Changed

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember being asked this question for the first time in the first grade. “I want to become a doctor!” and twelve years later my answer has not changed. In the first grade I wanted to become a doctor because I believed that I would be able to cure my brother who was diagnosed with a rare disorder, Fucosidosis. I saw my younger brother go from being a healthy baby to a sickly infant and then to handicapped preteen. My parents took him from doctor to doctor only to repeatedly hear “There is nothing we can do about it; it is just a matter of time.” As my brother grew sicker I grew wiser, I always knew how bad his condition was no matter how hard my parents tried to hide it from me. And I always knew that his disorder had to do with my parents being first cousins. But, just like my parents, I naively believed that there was a cure out there for him. Then sixth grade happened. My brother passed away at the age of 10. I was only 11 but I remember feeling angry at myself. I was angry at my helplessness, and angry that I could not stop what had happened to him. After September 19, 2010, I decided that I was going to become a doctor for all the children who are born with rare disorders.

Then tenth grade happened. My grandma was diagnosed with a tumor. I saw that tumor take her life in less than three months. I was only 14 but I felt the same anger I did when my brother passed. After September 13, 2014, I decided that I was going to become a doctor for people who had cancer. Then eleventh grade happened. I had spent the summer before eleventh grade in Sudan, my parents’ home country. I saw the hospitals there. The unsanitary conditions. The dirty water. I was shocked. I heard of people who went to the doctor with something as simple as a stomach flu, who ended up dying because the doctor diagnosed them with the wrong disease thus giving them the wrong treatment. When I went back to Sudan this summer I volunteered at a training hospital. I saw babies who were burnt from head to toe. I met a woman whose sister came into the hospital with a high blood pressure of 140, and the very next day fell into a coma because her blood pressure jumped to 540, simply because they could not afford medication. I was 16 years old and I felt furious. I was angry that I had the advantage of receiving the best health care while others could not even receive mediocre healthcare. After August 21, 2016, I decided that I wanted to dedicate my medical career to helping those who do not have the advantage of receiving proper health care.

Although my answer has not changed in twelve years, I have changed. And the more I experience, the more reasons I find for becoming a doctor. I am going to become a doctor for me, so that I can be responsible for the change that I have wanted to see others make for most my life.

– Ayatt