Change of Heart

posted on: Monday, October 12, 2009

It occurred to me that I might need to explain why I'm not heartbroken about my lack of surgical experience thus far. Especially since my aspirations have been to become a surgeon for a long time now. Well, in short, no more.

Through a series of circumstances which I will describe below, I have decided to pursue Emergency Medicine instead of Trauma Surgery. Here's my story:

My doubts about Trauma Surgery first hatched when I met Nick. I had come to medical school with visions of grandeur about being a career woman--a complete sell-out to medicine. I always knew that I wanted a husband and a family, but those were things that seemed to exist only in a very distant future. Well, once Nick came into the picture, that "very distant future" suddenly became more of a here and now kinda thing. But as an independent woman, I would be damned before I'd let a mere mortal MAN deter me from my dream. I was going to BE Meredith Grey, remember?

The doubts continued, but my heart rate would quicken with excitement every time we had a lecture on Trauma. This was conflicting, as you can imagine. I told myself I was going to wait until I started my clinical rotations before making any decisions.

Now, MY clinical rotations haven't really done much to help sway me one way or another (well, that's not entirely experience with surgeons has been rather dismal. they are, on the whole, a boring and arrogant group. my experience at St. Mary's spoke against this, but then again, they were an incredible motley crew.) BUT one of Nick's rotations really served to tip the scales. Nick was working with this OB/Gyn doc (a surgical subspecialty in its own right) and he literally never saw the light of day. Seeing him be SO absent and miserable gave me opportunity to see firsthand the downsides of surgery. And I was totally turned off.

I no longer care about being a sold-out career woman. I want to have a LIFE! I want to be able to go to work, love and do my job, then come HOME and forget about it. I want to be able to take my girlfriends on destination shopping trips, travel the world, have kids and really BE their mom.

ER really allows me all that. I work my 3, 12-hr shifts a week, then I'm done! And I know I'll love every minute of being there...just as I loved (almost) every minute of my working at St. Mary's. Plus I get to pretend like I work with George Clooney...

Fall has Fallen

And I have been remiss in tending my blog. I wish I could say it's been a busy, busy 6 weeks. It has not. I'll give you a recap of what's been going on in my neck of the woods--or city, as the case may be.

I finished Psychiatry and moved on to Surgery. Typically, among medical students, even those medical students who want to BE surgeons, the Surgery Clerkship is a dreaded and formidable undertaking. The hours are usually very long (5am-7pm, most days), the attending physicians rude and demanding, and the surgeries themselves require physical stamina like none other (try standing very very still for 3 hours holding a laparoscope very very still and trying to steer the camera so that the surgeon won't tell you he's "getting nauseous". yes, that happened.).

Continuing with my theme of coasting right on through medical school, I managed to land a Pediatric Surgery subspecialty rotation at Cook County Hospital. My hours are typically 5:30-11:00, noon at the latest. I even had a day last week where I left at 8:15am. I don't have to be in many surgeries (3 thus far, in the past 2 weeks), and I get to play with the babies in the NICU to kill time.

Now, allow me to shed a little light on why this is such an easy rotation. The answer is simple, really. We have no patients. But the reason WHY we have no patients is this: in Illinois, every child is born with Medicare (medicaid? i can't remember...), and therefore they can go to any hospital in the city to receive care for free. Considering that there is a Children's Hospital in Chicago, along with several big University hospitals, very few people actually CHOOSE to take their kids to the government institution that is Cook County Hospital. So...we have no patients.

So that's what I've been doing, work-wise. Playing with the babies will be another blog for another day. And as you can see, I clearly have no excuse for abandoning my vast cohort of readers.
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