Since starting my clinical rotations, I've begun to appreciate much more the level of human suffering that normal, everyday people are experiencing. Not third-world-starvation suffering (although there is that, too, in areas of this city) but the kind you might not ever know about unless you were that person's family, friend, or doctor.
Consider these patients (identifying details changed of course):
A 70-year-old man who buried his 45-year-old daughter yesterday after nursing her through a horrible battle with lung cancer.
An elderly woman who told me that "being alive is hell on earth" (over a dozen suicide attempts in the last 5 years).
A kid barely out of his teens with terminal cancer. He told me he would be relieved to die since his life had been so full of suffering from his illness.
The teenager who lost her two sisters, her unborn child and ultimately the womb that carried him in a horrible car accident. (That case had all the surgery attendings in tears at rounds that afternoon.)
It makes me feel like an ungrateful whiner, and rightly so, when I catch myself complaining about the price of gas or someone choosing to pay by the method of the check in the grocery line in front of me (props to anyone who caught the reference there! MK I'm looking at you).