I don’t think I have an answer to that question. Why did I become a doctor? Was it because my dad is one? Maybe. But he is mostly administrative, Thus not representative of the profession. For the prestige associated with the title? Definitely not. Is it the pay? To be honest, we are over worked and don’t really get paid enough. Was it to save lives? See the problem here is that I do know that saving a life is the right thing to do but am I emotionally invested in humanity? No, not at all. I think humans are the worst creatures to ever tread on these grounds. All that I can say is that at some point in my life there was an idea or thought that got lost along the way.
So, what keeps me going to work every day? It is not a happy and pleasant job. I go to see someone in excruciating pain which I can’t fix so I learned to ignore their screams. You’ll see family and friends crying so I avoid them in the hallway. I go to see someone who won’t be there the next day. Or see someone die right in front of me. And even worse I’ll be the one telling someone that they will die soon. I am so used to blood to the point that I enjoy it. My stomach will growl because the smell of burned muscle and fat reminds me of food. I am accustomed to the presence of urine and faeces (and sometime other bodily fluids) as they usually cover some part of my attire. Every morning I go to cut people open and play around with their guts. I do that every morning and I’m able go back home and have a good night’s sleep at the end of the day. Why? I can’t really answer this.
What I can tell you, if you ever decide to go into medicine, is that things will change. Right now, you are innocent and naïve. You absorb everything that is taught and are mouldable. You’ll begin your journey with them handing you never ending list of books and articles and tell you to memorise them all. Then they take you to a room full of dead people and tell you to play around in them to learn. They’ll bring you to people and tell you poke, probe and listen to. As time goes by, a patient will transform into a puzzle that needs to be solved. You’ll begin seeing things differently. You’ll notice things that you’d never think about. You will pick up things that you weren’t supposed to.
As you dive deeper into the ocean of medical knowledge you’ll find your self going out less. You see your friends and family less. And this will continue until you forget the last time you socialised and felt happy. You always have the thought that I need to leave to go read and study. You’ll always be prepared for exams. And don’t get me started on exams. Just think about what I am about to say. I do not remember a time in my life from first grade till this day that I haven’t had an exam at some point during the year and needed to prepare for it in some way or another. Your social events will consist of study sessions with colleagues and going out to hospitals to practice on real human beings.
People will then start to notice you have become more of an introvert. You will forget all your social and communication skills. Human interaction will later become a dreadful event. The medical school higher-ups will then start giving you classes on how to deal with human beings. But aren’t we taught that as kids? You may ask. See, you’ll lose them as you progress in the field. They will teach you how to speak, what to say, what facial expression are appropriate and how to “feel” and be more “empathetic”. They will teach you when and where to touch people. So basically, what they teach you is how to become a liar and how to bullshit your way through a difficult situation.
As all of this starts happening and progresses, you’ll see your self less and less emotionally attached to fellow human beings. After all they are just a game with many puzzles that need to be played and solved. Then you’ll begin to want games with more complex puzzles because the simple puzzles don’t interest you anymore. You’ll think “anyone can solve that”. I need more of a challenge.
All of that is done on purpose. See, the greatest enemy to a medical professional is emotions. Feelings cloud judgement. When you start seeing patients as humans that’s when things start to crumble. You can’t solve a puzzle if you knew that every piece you put causes pain. You cannot purposefully cut open an individual and start thinking about what they may think and what will happen if they die. Because emotions make us take unnecessary risks. They make you go a bit too far. And most importantly will prevent you from ceasing your efforts. When you become emotionally invested into an individual it is very difficult to decide when that’s it. I can’t do more. Let them die. You’ll push for the extra mile even if you know it wont work.
What will happen? See basically humanity will be drained out of you. You’ll be without feelings and without emotions. So… what medical school is trying to do is to convert you into a sociopath. This will go on until you reach the ultimate level. The highest of positions. When the only thing that will ever get you excited is solving the puzzle of a dying patient. To keep them alive is the only thing that’ll ever give you any satisfaction.
In short, you will become lifeless to be able to save a life. And you’ll only ever feel alive when someone is about to lose theirs.
By the way, you can stop the compressions. She’s been dead for a while now. You can clean and cover her up and I’ll just get prepared to tell the people outside the bad news. So, tell me, which one looks more appropriate… Face one or face two?… Face one right… Always thought Face two is a bit too dramatic. Anyways, see you on the other side.