How many times over the years have I thought about doing something else? I don’t know, maybe a hundred times. A thousand. Usually it’s when I feel overwhelmed. Too many patients. Too much time away from home. Too many phone calls. Too many demands. Too many complaints.
Sometimes it’s when I’ve been annoyed by my partner. He’s old school. Dismissive. He thinks he’s the smartest person in the room. Probably because he is, but I’m not going to tell him that. I’m good cop and he’s bad cop. Mostly it works, until he steps on my toes.
Sometimes it’s the staff. They were his staff first. Then I came along. They have had to adjust. Sometimes they regress. And I wonder, will I always be the newby? Will they ever be mine? Will they ever think of me as theirs?
Sometimes it’s the patients. Always wanting more than what a fellow human can provide. Fix me. Undo all the wrongs of my life. Give me that magic pill. Always be available. Always be cheerful. Helpful. Make that extra phone call to the consultant, to the insurance company, to the pharmacy. Always go that extra mile.
Then there’s the insurance companies. The electronic medical records. Documentation. Big Brother glaring over my shoulder.
I wonder, what would I do if I didn’t do this?
Firstly, I would tear through my house, cleaning every closet, drawer, under the beds, wash every curtain, blanket, clean the carpets and floors. I would throw out every text book I have held onto just in case I needed to look something up. I would clean my van inside and out. Then I would schedule a massage, manicure, pedicure, haircut and color. I’d go to the mall and actually buy a complete outfit including shoes and jewelry. And I would get fitted for a new bra. I know, TMI.
After the first week, I would sit in my clean house, looking around for something to do, all manicured in my new outfit, with my boobs held in just the right place and say, oh shit, what have I done? Now what?
I kind of have to do this job -at least until I pay off my student loans. No other job will give me the kind of money I need to pay off those ridiculous loans. Plus, I kind of like my job. I get to talk to people, get to know them and their families, help them. What other job would do that for me? What other job would pay me to help others? I get to keep my brain sharp. I get to think for a living. It’s challenging. It’s fun. It’s heart-breaking. I laugh a lot. And sometimes there are tears.
To call it a job in so many ways undermines just how important what I do is to me. How it is my God-given purpose. How there is no other explanation for how I got here. I could never have imagined the way that this job has grown tendrils that burrow into my soul, take root into my being, and bears the fruit of my humanity.
Why would I ever want to do anything else?
From knowing SO many Doctors and just reading your blog…I’m asking you to please don’t give up being a Doctor just yet!! I can tell you are just too darn good at it! I simply know that you care, just by reading your blog….and that’s more than most Docs I know! Maybe instead just try to work to go into practice for yourself! xo
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I was in practice myself with my partner until about 3 years ago when we joined an ACO and it’s been downhill since. It wouldn’t have been much different if we stayed private. It’s just the way things are changing. Thanks for the pep talk, though😊
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