The Gum Wall is my favorite part of Seattle. I love the sticky gross pieces of gum all chewed by people and placed up on the wall for people to see. I loved the realness. It’s what I like about medicine.
I love meeting people in my office. I love caring for their children and developing a friendship. I love crying with them and laughing a big belly laugh.
It’s painful to see them go. Sometimes I don’t even realize they are gone until months or even years later when it crosses my mind that I haven’t seen them. But for that moment that they show up and we connect, I am a better happier person. They are real and unapologetic.
They are like that gum wall art. A little messy and real and so much better than the artificially created perfection. We connect and share. People say doctors shouldn’t share. They say it takes away from the patient and the purpose of visit. Well, I share. I relate. We’re human and I’m going to likely say “Me too” to your problems and then get down to what we can do about it.
When we are real and we put our sticky chewed up pieces of life up on the wall to see, there will be some that lean back, say “Ew Gross!” and move on.
But there will be some that take their sticky chewed up pieces of life and place it next to ours. And it becomes this beautiful color combination of art.