Saturday, June 30, 2012

I guess this must be the place

Today I am roasting strawberries. Tomorrow I will be a second year resident.

I still have so far to go, miles to go before I sleep, and yet I am still in wonder that somehow I've gotten to this point. It's funny (not really funny haha). Those around me, who are significantly younger, are getting to that point in residency during which they are realizing the toll this training takes, the sacrifices it exacts, and some of them are doing the math. They are realizing this isn't some job you get into for the security of it, or the financial perks, or the respect. Plenty of other jobs are just as safe if not safer in this climate. Plenty, plenty jobs pay better, especially if you take into account the years of schooling and training. And in training, you encounter a lot of people who view physicians with great disdain, and sometimes with good reason.


They should have known this, I've said in the past. They should have walked in with their eyes open. But now I see how unfair a statement that is. Your eyesight, your hearing, all of your senses are just different when you are younger. Not necessarily better or worse, but different. More easily tempted, more easily disappointed, I suppose.

I've had moments too. When I've been tired. Or taken stock of how this past year has taken a chunk of my flesh along with it. I've thought of my past life and those years and wondered why they didn't satisfy, why they weren't enough. I don't have the right answer. It's too romantic to say that this is a calling or fate or an altruistic mission. I save romantic talk like that for romances, not work. I don't have an answer. I just know that I wasn't happy that way, with a very good salary and very good hours and time to contemplate my life, work out, play around in my kitchen.

I am happier now.

It makes no sense. I'm more tired now. I'm less healthy now. I travel less, have fewer indulgences. Sometimes, I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack from the stress of having this kind of responsibility. I have, in some ways, fewer friends. But I love more things. Go figure. I love more things; sometimes they are lots of little things, sometimes they are big.

I keep thinking, despite the fear pulsing through my arteries, despite the occasional annoyances, I keep thinking- I am so, so lucky.

It's easy to forget that. It's easy to forget when there are other things too. Life, for example, and the non-medical matters of the heart. I thought my heart would be at 100% when I had really sat and wallowed in the blues for a while. I thought maybe it would jump start when I had a flare of anger, fits of rage. And then I thought it would beat steady and true when I regained my full capability to laugh and feel really, truly happy. But none of it repaired the damage. It's still got this nuisance of a wound that doesn't let me take a full breath. And let me tell you, it is annoying. But then I remember medicine and know that time does more than any physician ever can. So I try to learn a little more patience, and to remember to feel grateful.

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