A week ago I met with a patient who was staying in hospital for a few days after having had bowel surgery. He was upbeat. Telling me about plans for when he would go home. Telling me about various events in his life. I took a history. In medicine, ‘taking a history’ basically means finding out as much as you can about a patient, as efficiently as you can, so that you can plan their treatment and hospital stay optimally. It requires practice and there is a technique so I thought I’d get some practice in. I was feeling quite happy by the end of the chat. The patient was jovial and I had done my duty. I got up to leave, smiled briefly and he went back to reading his newspaper. I went home that night, narrated my experience to my family and thought nothing more of it. Continue reading
I write when I’m excited. I write when I’m sad. I write when I cry. I pretty much write with the easiest of triggers. And yet I came here today to write about my surgical placement and found that I just didn’t want to. I actually came to my blog as a way of trying to get myself in the mood for studying. But I’m in this strange limbo where I want to work and I just can’t convince myself to actually open my books. I want to become a doctor and yet I just don’t have the energy to look at yet another x-ray, another blood result, another exam question. I feel as if my life is a video and somebody has turned the speed down to 1/2 speed. And the weird thing is I don’t feel particularly sad, happy or anything really. I’m sort of in an apathy. This is certainly not the first time this has happened. In fact I struggle with this pretty much all the time.
The thing that always gets me going is that I’m scared to fall down a path of darkness and despair. I feel like an ex-smoker who desperately wants another cigarette but knows damn well the consequences of cancer and COPD and that’s their single motivator to not do it. And my motivations are that I want to be a doctor. I love being with patients, talking to them, finding out about their life. I’m well aware that I’m not at all an unfortunate person. I have a roof over my head, a family, food and education. Not everyone is as lucky.
Rationally, I know all this. And yet I still feel this way and I can’t explain it. I’m sure in a little while I’ll be fine. It’s just a passing mood but what if one day this mood is here to stay and its staying becomes a permanent part of my life? It’s strange because all this is in my head and it is my own mind that scares me the most.