Saturday, January 28, 2017

Dear Doctor

Dear myself-8-months ago,

Do I even realize how tough this job is? I have encountered many specialists who kept saying, 'Are you sure you want to be a doctor? It is not easy,' and I pooh-poohed their words, thinking that it was their way of discouraging young aspirants to become a future doctor.

Oh boy, how wrong I am.

8 months in, I am still as clueless as my 8-months prior self. I'm nowhere close to be a competent doctor, even after I graduated my 2 previous postings. Even if I passed my viva and examinations, reality is, there are still millions of things that I don't know.

Work in reality is nowhere near how medical textbooks teach you. Textbooks are pretty simple, if A has disease B, management is C. No one actually tells you that, A also has disease D in which disallows A to take medicine E from management C. No one tells you that procedure F is not available in the country as we do not have trained specialists or equipment thus, procedure F, which is the mainstay of treatment for disease D is null and void.

I have encountered many situations that question my knowledge. Do I even learned ANYTHING in medical school? While I never claimed to be the brightest, most learned nor diligent, I still believe that I know SOMETHING. WRONG. AGAIN. My something turns out to be little thing.

Yes, I know very little. Very little. I feel discouraged daily. Workload is crazy, working hours are endless, remuneration is pitiful, your superiors are definitely not on your side, all adding up to piles and piles of stress that makes waking up daily extremely difficult.

Daily, I would have stomachache in facing my day. Daily, I will have blazing headache by 4-5pm. As would seniors, MOs and specialist will often say, 'In my days, things are worse'. Well, it is already as bad as it is. I learned to vent and let go. I have learned that a lot of things are beyond anyone's control. I have learned that whatever it is, it will always be my fault.

So, my dear self 8-month ago,

Do you think that, if you have known this earlier, would you still take this course in life?

My answer, back then: YES

My answer, now: YES

I believe in myself. No matter how ignorant I am, I know I can take it. I know I will learn. I know, I can do this. While future is still uncertain and uncharted path, I will still soldier on. My parents believe in me. I have to believe in myself. 

So dear doctors out there. Never get discouraged. No matter how many times you are called 'idiots' and 'waste of space', no matter how many times you get hit by case-notes and whatnot, no matter how many explanation letters you have to write day in and day out, stay strong. We all face the same thing. We all know that no one cares, not the system, not our superiors. However, we have our families, friends and fellow housemen. Learn well and be a safe doctor.

Save lives and save ourselves.

I have known many of my friends who are on the verge of suicide. Hospital is not our start and end. There are many things that we can all take pleasure in. Be happy that your patients are discharged well. Be happy that another day has passed. Be happy that you are alive. 

Be happy.

P/S: I lost my stethoscope at MOT a few months back. Paging anyone who sees my moss green stethoscope, please do return it to me, many THANKS! It is missing the ring around the diaphragm.

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