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Sunday, June 16, 2013

a day in the life of a doctor [source: unknown]

I’m in my second year of medical school now. I feel like I’ve settled into a certain routine now. When I go to school, I recognize the faces and my lecturers know my name. I look at the first years who are so lost in this space and sometimes I find it strange being in this part of my life. I feel like I know just enough so that I can get away with messing with the first years. But I don’t know nearly enough to hang out with the cool third years who are out seeing real patients on the wards. Two weeks ago, my entire class went on a rural medical placement. I spent a day with a doctor who had been practicing for nearly twice my lifetime. I got to observe him just talk to his patients. It’s a real art, this whole medicine thing. Back when I used to dream about being a doctor, I always thought that the answers were always clear cut. They were in some textbook that only doctors could read. They were in a secret safe that only doctors could access. But it’s only now that I’m here, drowning myself in the harrowing grips of being a doctor in a couple of years, I realize that there is no secret. There is no great plan. The secret is wide open — it’s just as mysterious for the doctor as it is for the patient. I mean, now that I’ve watched it happen, I can appreciate it more. When you’re sitting in your off-white office and a patient walks through the door, you have no idea what’s going to happen. You’re taken for the ride. The questions you are trained to ask are just ballpark. Somewhere close. And all you’re trained to do is to sift through the mountains of ridiculousness and rule things out. In fact, I was surprised to find out that there aren’t actually cures in medicine. Only treatments to symptoms, nothing more. It’s not as though doctors are privy to some kind of code of information that anyone else isn’t allowed to look at. In fact, anyone with an Internet connection and basic Googling skills can work their way through this mess.

At least, that’s where I am now. That’s who I am. I’m a medical student whose expertise has been thus far derived partly by lectures, partly by my own interest and mostly by Google. I’m no further up the payscale than a homeless person. In fact I am really nothing except for a critical sponge. I’ll push and push until my questions are answered and I’ll ask you more questions. At the end, maybe I’ll learn the art of being a doctor. It’s a long leap and I feel like I’m in a prime position to see into the future and into the past. I know who I was last year. In fact, this blog was who I was. It is a running diary of who I was. This blog started as a recording of my headaches. Believe it or not, I started it to record my experiences of having a migraine for the first time. And then I just started writing about people. Eventually it just became a place where I could come to just to dump all of this thought-nonsense.

If it’s making sense to you, out there, I’m happy about that. If you think I’m talking to you, maybe I am. But I believe I’m talking to myself. I’m talking myself out of making some bad decisions.

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