I often wonder: why am I a doctor?
The truth is, I want to live in the real world, a world without pretense, a world where people can’t hide behind money or status.
Illness uncovers our authenticity. Doctoring satiates my need to be witnessed and to witness the raw, uncensored human experience. I crave intensity.
Like an emotional bungee jumper, I live to inhale the last words of a dying man, to hear the first cry of a newborn baby, to feel the slippery soft skin in my hands, to cut the cord and watch a drop of blood fall on my shoe, to wipe a new mother’s tears, to introduce a father to his son, to hold a daughter’s hand as she kisses her father good-bye one last time.
I am a doctor because I refuse to be numb. I want to live on the precipice of the underworld, the afterworld, to look into patients’ eyes, to free-fall into an abyss of love, despair, death and then wake up tomorrow and do it all again.
Maybe doctoring fills a hole, a void. I doctor for connection, to be needed—to be loved.
(Excerpt from Pet Goats & Pap Smears)
we need to know the healthy and unhealthy reasons for choosing to become a doctor and medical schools should have that class as part of the curriculum. we need to be prepared for death and not see it as a failure and disease as something we must battle. we need to heal lives in order to help the body to be cured. do we choose oncology in order to fail? do we choose surgery as a reaction formation to our destructive tendencies? did kevorkian need help dealing with death and, therefore , choose pathology as his specialty and killing people? we may love the human body butt people come in it. we need to help ourselves and our patients to live and cope with their experience of life and disease.
Yes, Bernie! We need a holistic approach to medical education so that we can approach patients with holism. Greater personal insight into our motivations to be in the field of medicine will certainly help us as we try to help others.
Beautiful, Pamela. Exactly right on.
Thanks Lonna! Transitioning from a fear-driven to a love-driven health care model certainly is FUN!
I love the poetic resonance in your description about medicine and being a physician. It redefines the stereotypical notion that medicine is supposed to be non-poetic and dry.
There is so much beauty. We move so fast that we often miss the awe-inspiring moments that we are blessed to have with our patients. Medicine is poetry, song, dance, laughing, love, with a few CBCs and an MRI every once in a while.