Wednesday, September 12, 2007


What every man needs, regardless of his job
of the kind of work he is doing,
is a vision of what his place is and may be.
He needs an objective and a purpose.
He needs a feeling and a belief
that he has some worthwhile thing to do.
What this is no one can tell him.
It must be his own creation.
~Joseph M. Dodge

i've discovered in the past two days that the combination of Grey's Anatomy and my strict study schedule is somewhat toxic to my learning environment. almost as toxic as that girls blood that caused half the surgical staff to fill up the gurney's lining the hallways of Seattle Grace hospital in Season 3. except that i don't exactly consider Grey's Anatomy a neurotoxin. well, not right now at least.

but i realized something. something kind of....big. something about the profession that i am apparently going into. (although these days i am not so sure about my choice). it isn't like i haven't realized this before, but today it was just more real. more here. and kind of overwhelming.

not the overwhelming that McDreamy feels when he does cranial labotomies or separates 35-year-old conjoined twins. but overwhelming, nonetheless.

i realized that medicine, for all its advances and technology and flash and sterility and apparent 'glamour' really hasn't advanced at all. in its truest form, medicine is about caring. it is about touching peoples lives--giving them hope when all seems hopeless and inspiring purpose when their life's purpose has been interrupted by disease or dysfunction.

but all that mushy stuff--the emotional part--gets lost. and these days, it gets lost way too easily. lost in textbooks. in algorithms. lost in the shiny machines and $250 stethoscopes and sterile surgical rooms. it gets lost in the growing stacks of insurance claims and the shrinking bank accounts of overworked, overwhelmed doctors. and all of the sudden the hope and purpose that we are supposed to inspire has been eaten up; consumed by the pressures of just staying afloat. in a world where death and dying are part of everyday life. in a world where hand washing and sterile technique sometimes seem to be more important than hand holding and bedside manner. and we are left tired. exhausted. burnt out. and sometimes, even broken.

some people say that it is all relative. that it depends on who you talk to...or where you look. and apparently right now, today, i'm not talking to the right people or looking in the right places. because i am tired. exhausted. burnt out. and yes, even feeling just a little bit broken.

this dream i had; this 'thing' i've wanted for all 21.5 years i could talk? the one i'm supposed to be working toward? it isn't exactly what i'd thought it would be. and where i once thought that i could conquer the "world of medicine", change lives, give hope, and inspire purpose...well, i'm not so sure anymore.

but this is what i am sure of: i am going to find something, anything, to hold on to. i am going to find even just one thing about this profession, this insane journey, this ridiculously difficult choice, that makes me want to hold on. and hold on tight. and make it all worthwhile.

because there is a lot (a LOT) at stake. and because even though i feel like i've gotten somewhere. i've really only just begun. and i've got a long way to go.

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