“I can’t wait to carve the pumpkin! Maybe Mom will even let us go trick-or-treating when she gets home.” Min’s smile stretched to the roof of our five-story apartment building in Brooklyn, New York. I turned the rusty key in the lock and we walked into the corridor.
“Hi girls. How was school?”
We jumped in place. The sound of her voice at that untimely hour surprised us both. My mom was lying in bed on Halloween at 4:30 PM. She usually came home after all the delicatessens on our block had closed for the night.
“I left work early today. I kept vomiting and Annie told me to take the rest of the day off.”
“Mom!” I cried. “Why are you vomiting? Did you go see the doctor?” I had never seen her so vulnerable.
“It is okay, my daughter. It was probably yesterday’s dinner. I have been having indigestion ever since. I do not need to go to the doctor anyway. Just some rest will do.”
I wanted to pick her up from the bed and carry her to the hospital, but my efforts to convince her to seek medical attention would only, once again, result in a long discussion about the lack of money in our household and nowhere close to a doctor’s appointment. How could she not see that her health and well-being mattered more than her ability to pay for treatment?
Living in a nation governed by economic class, I witnessed first hand the silent persecution of the poor when I saw my mom lying on her bed that day. I believe that the sick are entitled to proper medical treatment, regardless of whether they can afford it or not. My experiences have molded what I aspire to do after I graduate from Carnegie Mellon University: become a physician, travel to developing nations, and perform free health care in communities that would otherwise have no access to medicine.
America is reputable for producing some of the world’s most renowned doctors. Some of my colleagues may choose to stay here and minister to those within the states. My calling, however, is in serving communities like Phú Tho, Vietnam and West Bengal, India, places where doctors who seek monetary benefits will never venture into. It is in these places that I choose to serve, and I will serve with my best.