The ivory tower has a view

June 20, 2011 Amy GeneralPatient-nessRandomResidencyThe Future

Occasionally I stare down from my ivory tower of my home away from home… my premier world famous childrens hospital into the rainy streets  below and ponder the ironies of where I stand.

I am among a very friendly, although intense community of young physicians who inspire me and challenge me.  They also want to do things like a be a pediatric heptatologist when they grow up or a palliative care/hematologist/oncologist or be a cardiac ICU doctor.  They are impressive and are being groomed to have impressive careers.  Occasionally I get caught up in the mist of it and try to play the game  but win or lose I find myself looking down at those streets and thinking about how different my life will look in 10 years than nearly every other graduate of my program.  Sometimes I don’t know how to fit my career goal into some sort of acceptable academic mold. (Although if I was really trying to FIT IN maybe I would give up the TIE DYE t-shirt collection on call…and actually WEAR my white coat).  WHen people ask me what I want to do with my life….the expression on their face when I say global health doctor is something akin to shock or a sad smile as if to say “We’ll see how long that lasts….”  Then there are my recent attempts into the array of ACADEMIC global health which is just like what it sounds…. a complete paradox. So far it also seems like a mess….its like combining developing world bureaucracy with academic medicine bureaucracy which make s system that makes Africa time look like a New York minute and Eastern European bureaucracy look like excellent customer service… In T-minus 24 months I am supposed to have a plan. I am supposed to live the dream and all that jazz. In a year I need to be turning in applications for either EM or a mission agency.  This is it…this is what I want to do with the rest of my life…but who knew the rest of my life was only 24 months away and who the heck knows how to get there….

Then there is the typical double agent-ness.  Although its been a really good year in terms of my life as a patient. Its a calm before a familiar storm.  The steroid shot is buying me time.  How long is yet to be determined but if I have another winter like this past one I don’t think I will want to go through a third.  So despite the fact I haven’t taken the green machine to work in two weeks, I know I am simply riding a false high that will eventually bottom out most likely sometime like the middle of PICU or worse my first month as a Sr in the ED and force me to come to grips with despite two years of magic I still have a chronic illness and I am facing another life altering 6 months of a massive surgery that will most likely per usual live me with a hgb of 7.5 followed by mild hysteria over how can I work 7 days a week and go to PT 5 days a week and keep my health insurance….so that I can pay for the monstrosity and live to tell about it.  Its most likely going to happen before I graduate.    I may be the doctor now but that does not give me a immunity. I also cant help but occasionally despite how different here is than back home in terms of patient/family care….chiming in with the other half of my life on rounds….and finding everyone staring at me like I have three heads when I suggest we introduce two of our patients close in age and with the same type of cancer…. FOr the love….we can get their parents’ premission first…I am not crazy I just happen to have be a agent from the light side (for we all know that the doctors are part of the DARK SIDE ;) )…on second thought I will go back to updating discharge summaries….ignore me I just work here…


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