When you study diseases and cancers and other terrible things all day long, you start to formulate the most invalid of hypotheses: this is pathology that affects other people. I will not get cancer. I will not have a risk of dying. I will go on my merry way, helping my patients. I will remain 24.
We need to know these diseases and their symptoms and complications to help our patients, never us. Maybe it’s an “us versus them” mentality, or maybe it’s just a psychological defense mechanism, but either way, I’m constantly reading about some disease and thinking to myself, “Man, that would really be awful to get that. I feel so bad for what they must have to go through.” But then a moment later, the reality hits me-and it’s frightening. I’m assuming that these awful cancers with awful prognoses and awful survival rates and awful treatments will somehow skip me. I’m just as likely to develop some of these cancers or diseases. I don’t get a “by” just because I’m going to be a doctor.
Perhaps that’s why doctors are more likely to smoke, drink in excess, or do recreational drugs than you’d expect. Less likely to get a regular checkup and physical. These aren’t diseases that affect all people. They affect other people.