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Thanksgiving's Marginalized

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In past years I've celebrated Thanksgiving by donating to the needy and praying for a bountiful feast. This year is different.

I am especially grateful for my family and friends who are fighting their way back to health from serious medical illness.

How can Thanksgiving make me a better person: a more empathetic family member and physician?

I've been thinking about the people I know who might not have a seat at the table. Not just the homeless or penniless most of us think of first.

There are those among us who who are marginalized, they don't belong: They are the sick.

I'm talking about people who literally cannot sit at any table. Some suffer from nausea so severe that the sight or smell of food makes them physically ill. I'm thinking about those struggling with mental illness or other medically debilitating disease that keeps them confined to a hospital or psychiatric facility. Others want to eat but have no appetite. There are also those who just weren't invited.

Only the people who are suffering can truly understand their struggle. As Woodrow Wilson once said.

"The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."

This year I'll be praying for empathy so I can be a better caregiver.