"I want to be a doctor, mom"
Okay so she bought me the little black kit at the grocery store. Later she bought me the books I wanted to read. I was allowed to make the family first aid kit. I got straight A's. I volunteered at a local hospital as a candy striper. I got in to a good college.
That's when things started to get weird. "I want to be a doctor, mom."
"No. Those are the best years of your life. Only sick people want to work with those who are sick."
I knew there were a lot of forms, expensive forms, to fill out to apply to Medical School. I gave up.
Two years later, I was in a hospital bed myself. I had been given two invitations by friends who were AT that medical school to spend a day with them taking class. Both times I had said, "No". Why? Because I was afraid I would LIKE it and have to change my life. I had been hoping that marriage, a white picket fence, and 2.5 kids could stifle my dream of being a doctor. Nothing doing. Here I was, a patient, and faced with my dream all around.
I took a good long look at myself. I did not want to become the mother who shoved Medical School down her children's throats. I had to try. At least take the MCAT. And I did.
That is also when the sacrifice started to begin. The studying for the big TEST. At first it was fun. And I had Stanley Kaplan to help me. My husband was at the lab for his graduate school all the time, anyway. I got in. I moved far away. I never wanted to be married any more (compared to the way I was treated by my male medical students who were kind and polite, I realized my ex was 'mean').
Classes were hard. But I was still me. It wasn't until the wards the last two years that I started to give up sleep. I hardly slept more than five hours to accommodate my studying. But as a medical student on clerkship, you had to take admissions overnight. My beeper lost its cuteness and novelty really quick.
At this level, though, it was always a choice. And we had to pay for our food in the cafeteria.
Once an Intern, all of that changed. I was the lowest-ranking paid person in the medical team. I had to do everything no one else wanted to do. They had a word for it: scut. Admissions. Discharges. Dictations. On rounds I had to carry the large box of orthopedic bandages like a cigarette girl for the team. If every something needed to be fetched, I had to go and get it. I'd hardly every operate because there was so much work to be done. That's when it started to happen. I had free food but not time to eat it. I stole Ensure from the Burn Unit when I was starving and the nurses looked the other way. I went without sleep for days at a time, sometimes 40 hours straight two or three times a week. And the call room was in an old Psych hospital across from the ER in another building. The mirrors in the bathroom down the hall were stainless steel. There were cages on the windows. Our Medical Center was in a bad part of town. That's when I started to sleep on the floor in the conference room. Our senior residents had beds in the hospital. But not us interns. But I found if I hid my blankets, I could sleep on the floor of a conference room, with a phone, and nobody would know the difference. I slept without a pillow. That would have been too obvious to walk around with.
As I moved up, it got more comfortable. I got a bunk bed. And then a call room with a bath next door, not down the hall. As an attending, I got a bathroom in the call room. (But later, as the new hospital was built, the bath went down the hall again and the call room got smaller).
The basic premise is: the patient gets sleep, not you. If anything is needed, you are up doing your job anywhere in the hospital. That's when the Zombie days started. Until I was a mother I could rest. But with a toddler? No way. I had to parent him first.
Last week the Ortho team was so loud with all their hammers and saws on the bones my ears started ringing. They haven't stopped. I have caught a nasty viral conjuncitivitis from an adorable two year old in a Pediatric Clinic in Chula Vista for my spanish class in 1994. It keeps coming back when I am run down. I have caught colds, diarrhea from my patients. I am at risk for Hepatitis C and HIV when I work with those patients, since I use needles on them and could stick myself. During the SARS scare, it was Anesthesia who got sick from being exposed during the brief time of intubation. I have bruises in various stages of healing all over my body from the OR equipment I bump into as I push the patient down the hall in the gurney.
And my back! Lifting the head of the gurney for the patient to breathe better. Moving them from the gurney to the O.R. table and back after surgery. Pushing the gurney with a bariatric patient on it down the hall in the O.R. All of these are physical exertions that take a toll on my well-being. Emotionally, the hospital is a meat grinder. I made ONE comment about a patient calling me by my first name. And now everyone is on edge, wondering if they were the ones that upset me by calling me by my first name. My coworkers, nurses, RT's, everyone. Yes, it was a little annoying to be called that when everyone else was Dr. So and So. But I didn't care. I just don't like PATIENTS calling me that. But everyone is so hypersensitive. At my old work, the emotional rancor got so bad it was like being on SURVIVOR. And routinely they would make me cry at work.
I don't want to go to work this morning. I miss my family. I would like to take some time off. A weekend here. A vacation there. It has been two weeks and three days off all 2011. The pace of this work is frenetic. Once I am there, it feels right. I have my friends in the O.R. But to leave the comfort of home? To spend a day where I am uncertain when I am coming home? The inability to make plans?
The time spent filling out forms every two years for reappointment to the hospital...the expense of licensure, CME's, and insurance. Carrying my own medical insurance policy.
And the psychic attacks. I am fortunate in my career as a psychic to have met someone who could put the gold web of protection around me. I see some pretty dark souls out there. And I am sure in a hospital there are many negative entities out there constantly seeking an energetic system (aura) to attach to. I used to wear a religious medals, actually four of them on one chain, to protect me. Now I know I am protected. This is important if you are doing energy work. Margaret McCormick. She works long distances. Get yourself cleared, sealed, and protected on your aura before you do serious Reiki work on anybody, especially in a Hospital though.
Healers put themselves on the line. The nurses I know on L&D are starting to break from the repetitive demands on their bodies. The backs. The knees. The hips. Carpal Tunnel. That is probably what comes next for doctors too.
I love my work. I couldn't have done it any other way. But to get to be a Reiki Doc, took a lot of sacrifice.
Next time smile at your doctor. Ask how they are doing. Really mean it. And you will be the one they remember with gladness all the rest of the week.