Archive for the ‘Medschool Bits’ Category

Just a really quick thought as we are ending this clerkship year with a bang.

“Don’t go Grey’s Anatomy on me now” is what I often tell myself when I find myself in situations that could be worthy of a scene in that infamous medical TV drama that has dominated television for quite some time now.  Although I love that TV series and have been watching it for the past six years or so, no way in heck would I ever wish to be one of the cast members in real life because, really, if ever I go through what any of them has gone through in the past nine seasons or so, I’d probably have to check myself into a mental institution out of necessity.

Over the course of the past year, there had been many circumstances when emotions would become so uncontrollable that we are thrust into situations that we would later wish we could forget.  See, drama in medical school and in the hospitals cannot be avoided.  It seems as if we become so fed up with the medicine that we desire to feel just to affirm our own humanity.  Is that too philosophical?  Yeah, I’m profound.  Medical training forces people to interact on such an intimate and constant basis.  That is enough to drive anybody crazy.  It often drives me crazy.  However, for me, it takes constant self-reminder of what it is I came here for.  I came here for the medicine, something that genuinely makes me happy, for some weird reason.  The time I spend here could have been precious time with a family I will not have forever.  With what I gain with this training, I lose a whole lot more where people I love are concerned.

Often, I wish I were the Tin Man.  No heart, no emotion, drama like that.  Or, no drama like that, if you get my drift.  I really do believe that, in this profession, emotions do get in the way of good judgment calls.  This year is testament to that.  But, of course, we are human.  We had been created to feel a significant and diverse amount of emotions, which unfortunately puts many of us into unbelievable positions – positions I would never wish on anybody.  I like medicine because it is very objective – there is a definite practice guideline for a particular condition and such.  But with the human heart, there’s no such thing.  We feel and we work with people who feel and sometimes our feelings… they go haywire and that is when working with each other become so damn difficult, which is inevitable and inconvenient.

This is why I honestly believe that, in this profession, we have to endeavor to place our personal lives as far away from our professional lives as possible.  It is not a requirement but, hot damn, it tends to absolutely decrease the level of stress in one’s life.  Well, that is what they tell me.  Who am I to say stuff like this anyway?

Well, that wasn’t so quick a thought but a thought it truly had been.

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I don’t know about other people my age but, between you and me (and the rest of the World Wide Web), I have this intense, almost irrational, fear of marriage.  The thought of waking up beside the same person for the rest of my life, knowing that this thing we have is a forever kind of thing, makes my fingers go cold, the hairs at the back of the neck to stand up, and my stomach to coil and recoil about itself violently.  I’ve never understood it.  It surely is not a result of some personal craving for as many lovers as possible.  Wouldn’t that just shock the Catholic nuns who had given me my elementary and high school education if that were true?  Some close friends have actually scoffed at this fear, saying that I’m just probably trying to appear strong and independent.  Oh how I wish that were the case because it would make everything else so simple.

I’ve always been told that this type of fear could be outgrown.  It simply has something to do with youth, that inherent desire of young age to not be tied down by anything irrevocably permanent.  Although I believe that divorce and/or annulment may be utilized sparingly in situations that necessitate them, I also believe that if one has to enter into something that institutionalized in the first place, one has better be damn sure one stays in it and keeps the vows that had been made before God, spouse, and family.

In the real world, normal people in their mid-twenties generally are already starting to get married, get pregnant, and have families.  However, for those who’d gone to medical school, that normal phase in life gets pushed further until after passing the medical boards or even beyond.   Only a select few would tempt Fate by getting their girlfriends pregnant and getting married prior to that just as my older brother had.  My mother used to nag me to hurry up because she believed that, when a female medical student is still not in a serious relationship by the time she turns twenty-five, chances are she will turn out to be an old maid with bilaterally dried-up eggs to match.

The life of a surgeon is not an easy one, much more if one is married to a fellow doctor with very little time at his disposal as well.  Even if one gets hitched with a non-medical/lay person, the arrangement would still be a difficult one because a) one will only be unfair to the partner because one will not be able to give him the time and affection he needs/deserves and b) one will only be unfair to one’s self because one will not be able to completely immerse one’s self in that relationship enough to maintain it.

There’s a saying that goes work is not a warm bed partner or something to that effect but I’d personally rather take the risk of a cold bed than to have a bed partner, warm or otherwise, who could, at any moment, abscond or die, leaving me with too many problems and too many uncontrollable emotions that I would have no time to deal with.

I’ve always deferred to my mother where a lot of things are concerned.  I’ve always respected her experiences and the choices she had made in life.  So, the ultimate question I was asking her was this: in case I do outgrow this irrational, immature fear of marriage, where is it supposed to fit in a medical career, especially in the kind of career I want for myself?

This was what my wise mother replied, for she is such a sage (and I’m being sarcastic here):  “Marriage is a choice.  It takes effort so you make it fit.”  A lot of help you are, Mom.  You are a freaking fountain of golden answers.