Ever wonder what lies beyond weekly exams? This is for the uninformed us. The naked reality of what lies ahead.
1. I will never be not busy. Its common and “valid” excuse when we were medical students to vow out of social life duties because of academics. It is understandable. After all, its M-E-D-I-C-I-N-E. But what I realized after graduation and passing the boards, that being busy and available and haggard is a choice. It’s a matter of prioritization. Right now, I am still as busy as I was in medical school, it’s just that I’m busy with different things. So if you can’t make time now, you can’t make time after graduation either. It will always be your choice to say YES to cultivating important relationships and say NO to things that are unnecessary to whatever season you are in right now.
2. It is not glamorous as I thought it was. I am the first doctor in the family. Coming from outside of the medical social circle. I’ve always taught being a doctor is gitzy. But no it is not. There will be days that you have no choice but to sleep on the operating room floor or drain urine bags. You rid yourself with all sense of entitlement and stack yourself with humility if you want to push through.
3. It is tiring to be asked “anong speciality mo?” You always have to explain yourself why chose that specialty or why you haven’t chosen one yet. Can’t it be just because I plainly want it?
4. It is somewhat offensive when people comment “GP lang”. We may not have specialized training but I don’t think that gives people the right to look down on us. Especially that we’ve worked so hard to earn being a general practitioner.
5. The title comes with authority and privilege. It amuses me how people would suddenly change their indifferent attitude to reverent attitude when they found out one is doctor.
6. Expectations become higher. It soon becomes a responsibility to meet them. I want to look at this in a positive way. Though impossible, our patients expect us to know EVERYTHING. And it becomes a responsibility to continuously improve ourselves. I was once asked by a patient if the coconut juice being sold in one of the convenience stores is authentic coconut. It’s amusing and challenging to be expected to know most if not all.
7. The society has a hidden hatred against the profession. The increasing number of doctor shaming is proof of this. Outwardly, society seem to regard doctors with reverence, but it feels to me like deep within the core of the society’s soul is the longing to find fault in us and ready to pounce once an opportunity presents itself. No matter how small it is or absurd.
8. We are abused. We are undercompensated. We are overworked. We are overlooked by the government. We are disregarded by the human rights groups.
9. We are boxed by people’s perception. Society perceives us as smart asses dressed in branded clothes under our white coats with the stethoscope hanging on our necks. They assume we spend our free time buried in our books and go to the clinic the following day. Repeat cycle. I doubt if they ever imagine us sleeping or eating or going to the movies or fangirling. We are humans too.
10. It is worth it. It’s more or less 10 years of education. And a lot of disadvantages surfacing. It may be tiring and disheartening but to be able to do what you fought with your life for so long, is worth it. Now you are where you saw yourself 10 years ago.
11. It is a calling. With all the sleepless night, the disappointments and the failures, this is more than a profession. It’s a calling. And I believe once it’s calling, it is not I who will sustain myself but it is God. He does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.