I chose this medical path. I may have not been fully aware of the life or the culture or the system in which I’ll be working, but it’s my doing. The $120,000+ debt, the long hours, the physical and emotional exhaustion, the paperwork, the monotony, the stress; the excitement, the joy, the career, the opportunity, the adrenaline rush, the wonder, the science, the body, the people. The bad and the good, the yang and the yin; I want to embrace it fully.
One of my medical heroes, Dr. Quentin Young, has told me that “medical school is the best behavior modification system the world has ever seen.” He warned me that through all the on-call nights, the pager (cellphone now?) beeps, and stress, doctors begin to think they deserve a better or higher-class life. Or even that I’m above some of my patients. But after all the sleepless nights, the stomach ulcers, and baggy eyes, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll still be better off than most of the world, and still probably most of the United States. It’s not just me that deserves a better life; it’s everyone. And I don’t want to lose sight of that fact.