An elderly woman from China, who spoke little English, sat across from me and listened attentively to my counseling points of her new diagnosis of diabetes mellitus type 2. Her teenage grandson sat beside her and listened just as attentively.
He was writing down almost everything I said — which medications his grandmother would be on, how often she would need to check her blood sugars, what specialty visits she would routinely need to attend, what labs needed to be monitored, and what red flags to look out for that warranted urgent medical attention. It certainly was a frenzy of information, yet the grandson confidently spoke up with any questions that came to mind, and then translated anything his grandmother needed to address.
As I listened to the boy, his active yet mature engagement sparked memories of my own earliest footprint in health care. It was not too long ago that I, too, was wearing the same shoes as the patient’s grandson for my own grandmother.