Shedding Tears for My Patients
The best way to cheer yourself up is
to try to cheer somebody else up.
I am a pediatrician, that is, a children’s doctor, at a hospital. I specialize in childhood cancers.
I was born soon after World War II, when Japan was still a poor country. Although living standards were not high then, I look back on my childhood as a golden age. That was such a wonderful period of my life, when I studied hard and played hard with my friends.
But being a child is not nearly so much fun if you are stuck in the hospital with a serious disease. You miss your family and friends, and it is so painful and distressing to be pricked and poked and go under the knife. I wanted to do something to help such sick children. That’s why I became a pediatrician.
When I began working as a physician in the 1970s, childhood cancers were still considered incurable, and many young lives were lost. Although drugs might have brought about a brief improvement in a patient’s condition, too often the child ultimately succumbed to the disease. In the natural course of human existence, the baby grows into a child and the child into an adult; the adult gradually ages and after many years, passes away. So how can it be right for life to be snuffed out at such a young age? I wanted to save children’s lives, and so I made up my mind to become a specialist in childhood cancers.
I will never forget one little girl whom I treated in my first year on the job. She was the first patient I lost. When her heart stopped, I kept pressing my stethoscope against her chest. I gave her a heart massage and mouth-to-mouth, but there was no reaction. I could feel my heart pounding and my fingers trembling. Her eyes closed and her breathing had stopped. She was only five, and she was dead. I could not stop crying.
After that, I broke down in tears every time a patient died. “Were I really a pro, I would not cry,” I thought. I began to wonder if I was too sentimental to be a doctor. Observing how emotionally involved I became with my patients, a senior colleague gave me a piece of advice. “It’s important that you be dedicated to helping children with cancer ― but remember that’s just your job. You have to keep your job separate from your personal life; otherwise you won’t last long in this career.” I had never seen that doctor shed a tear.
Perhaps the generation of doctors previous to ours had to be so cool and collected, since they lost far more children to the disease than we did. Nevertheless, in the course of spending time with child patients and watching several of them pass away, I came to feel that if I became burned out from too much grief, then so be it. If I ever ceased to be capable of crying over the death of a patient, I might as well quit being a doctor.
Even on the brink of death, sick children remain admirably considerate of others.
One girl named Shiho was diagnosed with a malignant tumor around the time she graduated from high school. At first we managed to shrink it with drugs, but then the cancer spread to her lungs. There was nothing left to do to save her.
“If I’m going to die, there’s one thing I want to do first,” said Shiho. She had plans to go on a skiing trip to Hokkaido with her family and boyfriend. I talked to a doctor I knew in Hokkaido, and together we helped make Shiho’s wish come true.
On Shiho’s last day of life her father was overseas on business. With her family and boyfriend by her side, she phoned her father. In agony she said the loving words: “If I’m ever reborn, I’ll come back as your daughter again. Okay, Dad?” She was dying and she knew it, and this was her way of expressing her final thanks to her father. What tenderness in the face of death!
More children than I can record the names of have left me with memories like these. Once my tears had been caused by sadness and frustration at my own helplessness. At some point, however, they changed to tears of admiration for the courage and dignity with which gravely ill children had lived their all too short lives. If there was no way left to cure a child, then I wanted to do my best to help him or her find peace and feel glad to have been born into this world.
Six-year-old Tsukasa and five-year-old Sohei occupied adjacent beds in the hospital. Tsukasa had a compound fracture in the leg and could not walk. Sohei had a tumor that had spread to the brain, leaving him blind.
One day the two little boys were going to have a story read to them. As Tsukasa was making his way in his wheelchair across to Sohei’s bed, Sohei said with concern, “Be careful now!” Tsukasa in turn, well aware that Sohei could not see, described the two storybooks lying on the table and asked which one Sohei wanted to hear.
When children encounter someone more vulnerable than themselves, they instinctively say a kind word and show special consideration. It is a natural human urge to want to help those less fortunate than oneself. That is one thing I have learned from children struggling with illness.
I have almost lost hope more times than I can count since becoming a pediatrician, but one thing has kept me going: the conviction that my life is worth living if I can do something to relieve the suffering of my patients. A commitment to helping others gives you a sense of being needed and makes you feel that your existence has meaning.
Get the Picture
How does Dr. Hosoya remember his childhood?
Why did Dr. Hosoya become a pediatrician?
go under the knife: have an operation
bring about ～ ex. Their protest finally brought about a change in the law.
shed pediatrician specialize standard
golden nearly stick distressing prick
poke knife drug improvement
Get the Picture
Why did Dr. Hosoya decide to specialize in childhood cancers?
pass away ex. She passed away last month.
be snuffed out ex. His life was snuffed out by a bullet.
existence adult snuff specialist
Get the Picture
What was Dr. Hosoya’s reaction to the death of his patient?
Why did a senior colleague give Dr. Hosoya some advice?
break down in tears: lose control of one’s feelings and start crying
press stethoscope chest massage
reaction tremble pro sentimental
involved senior colleague dedicated
Get the Picture
Why did the doctors in the previous generation have to be cool and collected?
Raising awareness about childhood cancers
Thanks to advances in treatment of childhood cancers, some 80 percent of cases can now be cured. But as in the past, patients and their families still erect walls to protect themselves from the outside world, while other people, uncertain how to deal with those in such trying circumstances, keep their distance. Besides treating patients, Dr. Hosoya also engages in various activities designed to support sick children and their parents psychologically, including publishing books on the subject. His writings and translations are intended to bridge the communication gap by making people aware of the suffering and sorrow experienced by children with the disease.
Dr. Hosoya translated into Japanese Why, Charlie Brown, Why?: A Story About What Happens When a Friend Is Very Ill.
He wrote a picture book about a small girl whose brother died of a disease.
lose ～ to ... ex. She lost her uncle to cancer last year.
be burned out ex. She was burned out and decided to quit her job.
previous collected nevertheless grief
Get the Picture
How did Shiho express her final thanks to her father?
so be it ex. If that means delaying the trip, so be it.
be capable of doing ex. You are capable of taking care of yourself.
might as well do ex. If no one else wants it, we might as well give it to her.
cease capable brink admirably
considerate diagnose malignant tumor
shrink lung boyfriend agony
Get the Picture
How did Dr. Hosoya’s tears change?
Bringing peace of mind and joy to children
Even though 80 percent of childhood cancers can now be cured, the fact is that 20 percent of patients still die from the disease. Dr. Hosoya believes strongly in making the time remaining to such children as meaningful as possible. Some children hate being in the hospital and just want to go home, so he treats them in the comfort of their own home, visiting at night after the end of his hospital shift. He has even been known to deliver oxygen cylinders in the middle of the night. He also established Solaputi Kids’ Camp, a “dream camp” in Hokkaido where children with serious illnesses and their families can enjoy themselves in nature. Here kids can have fun horseback riding and playing in the snow, while a team of doctors and nurses are on standby.
in the face of ～ ex. He showed courage in the face of danger.
reborn Dad tenderness frustration
all too ～ ex. The happy days passed all too quickly.
make one’s way: to move toward something, especially with difficulty
helplessness admiration dignity gravely
cure occupy adjacent compound
fracture brain blind concern
Get the Picture
What is one thing Dr. Hosoya has learned from sick children?
Dr. Hosoya has almost lost hope many times, but why is he able to continue his career?
storybook vulnerable consideration
urge illness conviction worth relieve
Part 1 Dr. Hosoya, a pediatrician specializing in childhood cancers
The reason Dr. Hosoya became a pediatrician
Being a child is not nearly so much ( ) if you are ( ) in the hospital. So he wanted to do something to ( ) sick children.
The reason Dr. Hosoya decided to specialize in childhood cancers
In the 1970s, childhood cancers were still considered ( ) and many young lives were ( ). So he wanted to ( ) children’s lives.
Part 2 Facing the harsh reality
The first patient Dr. Hosoya lost: a five-year-old girl
When her heart stopped, he tried a few things to save her, but there was no ( ). His heart ( ), his fingers ( ), and he could not stop ( ).
A piece of advice to Dr. Hosoya from a senior colleague
“It is important to be ( ) to helping children with cancer ― but only as a ( ). Keep your ( ) separate from your ( ) ( ); otherwise you won’t last long in your career.”
Part 3 Admirable consideration sick children have for others
Shiho’s loving words and tenderness in the face of death
She ( ) her father, who was overseas on business, and expressed her final ( ), saying, “If I’m ever reborn, I’ll come back as ( ) ( ) again.”
Tears of admiration
Dr. Hosoya’s tears changed to those of admiration for the ( ) and ( ) with which gravely ill children had lived their all too ( ) lives.
Part 4 A life with meaning
A natural human urge
Dr. Hosoya has learned from ( ) ( ) with illness that it is a natural human urge to want to ( ) those less ( ) than oneself.
The conviction of his life’s worth
When you are committed to ( ) others, you feel that your existence has ( ).
LISTEN & REACT
- What job does Dr. Hosoya have besides being a physician?
(a) He is a pediatrician.
(b) He is a specialist in child psychology.
(c) He is a translator.
- What did one of his senior colleagues advise him to do?
(a) To quit being a doctor because he cried too much on the job.
(b) To control his personal feelings if he wanted to continue his career.
(c) To show more concern for his patients if he wanted to be a good doctor.
- What has made Dr. Hosoya continue his career?
MAKE YOUR COMMENTS
My name is Sasaki Megumi. I am a nurse at a children’s hospital. The reason why I chose this career was simple: I wanted to take care of sick children.
When I was eleven, I became very sick. I was diagnosed with leukemia and was hospitalized for a year. Not only did I miss my family and friends, but I was afraid of those painful examinations and treatments. The nurses were kind and encouraged me to be positive so that I could get well soon. When I needed them, they stayed with me, attentively listening to me. Gradually, I took an interest in their job and decided to be a nurse like them.
Although I had a hard time when I was younger, something good came out of it. That experience gave me a chance to think about my future career. Now, I am very happy to be a nurse and to be helping people in need.
V leukemia 白血病 attentively 気を配って
- Why did Ms. Sasaki choose her career?
- What happened to Ms. Sasaki when she was a child?
- Is Ms. Sasaki satisfied with her career? Why?
What career would you choose in the future?
Why would you choose this career?
How would you prepare for this career?
Tool Box study, go to college, go to a specialized school, go abroad,
pass an examination, get a qualification / license
Hello, everyone. I’m ( your name )
Today, I’d like to tell you about my future career plans. I’d like to be ,
In order to be .
I would have to .
Thank you for listening.
Grammar for Communication
I will never forget one little girl whom I treated in my first year on the job. → 75.1
過去 現在 未来
I will leave for London next week.
過去 現在 未来
I’m going to leave for London.
1. She is going to have a baby this winter.（～することになっている（予定））
2. She will have a baby some day.（～するでしょう（推量））
3. My birthday falls on a Saturday this year.（確定している未来の事柄）
4. He is coming home tomorrow.（近接した未来の事柄）
5. I will be waiting for you here tomorrow afternoon.（（未来の時点において）～しているでしょう）
6. The show is just about to begin.（今まさに～しようとしている）
※未来表現は，一般に，未来の副詞的表現をともなう（例文1～5）．be about to doは “about（～のあたり）” から現在の周辺が特に意識されるため，未来の副詞的表現はともなわない．
The next song is a song that’ll be on my next album, which will be coming out shortly. The album is called “David’s Album.” David is my husband. David’s sort of a California hillbilly, and so the songs on the record are all country and western, and it’s a kind of a gift to David because he’s going to go to prison, probably in June, and he’ll be there for three years. The reason he’s going is that he refused to have anything to do with the draft.
V hillbilly 田舎者 country and western カントリー音楽 the draft 徴兵（の召集）
Structures and Expressions
- A true friend would not say such a thing.
- Without your support, my dream could not have come true.
- Ten years ago, it would have been much easier to get a good job.
- I would give anything to undo what I have done.
- Were I really a pro, I would not cry. → 75.11
※ would do, would have doneなどの形から，その仮想状況が現在か過去のことかを判断する．
Task 以下の状況に合うように，英語で表現してみよう．（ ）内の動詞を，助動詞を補って適切な形に変えること．
- 状況 医者が不注意なミスをすれば，患者は死んでしまうだろう．
A doctor’s careless mistake (mean) the death of a patient.
- 状況 口止めされていなければ，話しますが…．
She told me to keep this a secret; otherwise, I (tell) you.
- 状況 君が機転を利かせてくれたおかげで命びろいした．
The car (hit) me without your quick thinking.
- Someday you will regret not following my advice.
- A commitment to helping others gives you a sense of being needed. → 80.13
- Do you mind my[me] opening the window?
- I am convinced of the rumor being false.
Task 以下の状況に合うように，［ ］内の語句を使って，英語で表現してみよう．
- 状況 待ち合わせに遅れてきた相手にクギを刺そうとして．
You should remember what I hate most [ kept, being, waiting, is ].
- 状況 喫茶店でテーブルに相席をさせてほしいとき．
Excuse me. Do you [ my, mind, here, sitting ]?
- 状況 手紙をもらって，すぐに返事を出せなかった相手に．
I’m sorry for [ letter, not, your, replying, to ] sooner.