This is going to become embarassing if I ever sell out and work for the big pharmaceuticals, or go for the money and become a radiation oncologist…
I’ve decided I can’t be a pediatrician. The transition from happy baby gurgling to holding down screaming children and knowing that as they leave they are crying from you trying to help them is not for me. The first rectal exam I did on a baby was traumatic for everyone involved. I have no desire to repeat the experience. Men over 50 however, beware. I also have discovered that while finding the cervix your first through 10th time is very satisfying, I have no desire to repeat the experience everyday all day. And so, without further ado (rumble drums and such) I am becoming (trumpets sound) a Family Physician ( I can almost hear the deflating balloons). I feel a bit like a person becoming a teacher, or someone joining the military after 9-11. Everyone is all gung ho telling you that someone needs to do it, but no of them are signing up beside you. It’s a bit isolating actually, to be the only one who doesn’t think it’s crazy to work with the masses. And a bit frightening as well. It frightens me that newly trained doctors don’t want to go into family practice because we only make, on average $150,000. It frightens me that no one wants to work with underrserved urban populations. It frightens me that no one wants to be on the front line tackling the rapidly changing healthcare system and all its ails and wonders. I frighten myself when I start to listen.
I’ve found however, that whenever I’m scared, regrounding myself, rerooting myself is all it takes to make me fearless again. The last sentence in my personal statement applying for medschool was this:
I still struggle with how to fully integrate my academic studies of the environmental sciences, my intellectual interest in the survival of Black youth in America, my desire to find solutions to root causes of health disparities, and medicine. However, all of the experiences I have mentioned have helped me to recognize that being a physician is one of the ways I will be able to meld these aspects of my personality into
a cohesive career path.
That struggle for continuity and cohesion continues, but I’m sure I will not find the answer in becoming an overpaid (which is more dangerous than you think), overworked, and overtly admired specialist. Blessed are the meek.