My Doctor Reading List

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hacking it

As part of my journey towards becoming a doctor, one thing I've been doing is reading blogs of doctors (or at least people who claim to be doctors). I like to see the not-so-glamorous side of what it means to be a doctor and the process of becoming one, because most of the blogs I read out there do focus on these topics, I suppose, as an outlet for these doctors. I admit that sometimes I might do too much of this blog reading (it gets a bit addictive) and what I really should be doing is studying, since at the end of the day, if I don't have the prerequisites and MCAT scores to get me it, the closest I'll get to being a doctor is reading other doctors' blogs. But I digress.

A lot of what is out there is funny - doctors who complain about having a hard time in medical school or as interns...but I feel like in a way, it will prepare me for the time when I'm being yelled at by an attending or a senior resident and will hopefully be able to remember that all doctors go through it and not to take it personally.

But recently, I came across a different, more serious type of blog while I was reading another one and noticed it on their blog list (and which incidentally is called "Incidental Findings"). Its a great blog and many of the posts that I've read are truly inspiring. But this doctor also has a bunch of posts that are part of a series called the "Don't Become a Doctor" series. In it, he goes on to describe the ugly side to being a doctor.

Reading this series is hard for someone like me. Hard not because I don't want to know it or that I like being in denial about this side to the profession. But hard because I still really want to be a doctor and this type of stuff can really put a damper on my motivation. I haven't read all of the series yet because its hard to read about all the stuff that I will  have to deal with if I ever obtain my MD.

One thing that he writes about is that as a doctor you fall into a group of people who have to keep secrets. The law protects the conversations with your lawyer, your priest, your spouse - and your doctor. And he mentions that in this capacity he has heard some horrible things that happen to his patients: spousal abuse, drug abuse. Greed. Infidelity. Rape. And worst of all, child abuse.

This is probably the one side to being a doctor that not only sucks, but that can destroy a person and I worry about how I would be able to deal with it.

Indeed, I worry in general about how I will be able to deal with a lot of the hard stuff.

I started my MCAT course today and Jordan and I were having a conversation about it. I think that if we both took it, even after studying, Jordan would probably do much better than me on it, at least on the science parts. So I said, You should do this too!

But Jordan says he couldn't. He says that one thing he doesn't think he could ever stomach doing is telling a parent that their child is going to die. He said he would rather shovel garbage for a living than have to do that. And it made me think. If I become a doctor, this is something that I will undoubtedly have to do one day. As a parent, I know that the worst thing that I could possibly ever hear is that my child is going to die and there is nothing I can do about it.

So I wonder - will I be able to hack it? I hope so. Because I really think that I can do some good.

But I guess if I don't get it and this dream doesn't pan out, at least I will be thankful for not having to deal with that ugly side.

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