i am shitting bricks
a few posts ago, i wrote that i had a major breakthrough and that i’d write more about it later. well i’m going to now, and writing this may be more for me than for my few readers, haha, but if you happen to come across this and end up reading it, then i hope you enjoy reading about this crazy turmoil going on in my head/heart, lol.
so for the past several months…i’ve been asking myself a lot of important questions about my life and the path i’m expected to take. (hmm…i can already tell that i’m going to go off crazy tangents in this post so bear with me!) i guess i should start off with a little background? ok! so ever since i was a little girl, i knew i was going to be a doctor. i played doctor with my brother and cousins and even nursed my dear simba (yes, a simba stuffed animal from lion king) back to health after he was severely injured in a buffalo stampede. i didn’t want to be anything else (except for that time in my 4th-grade life when i came across a fork in the road and adamantly wanted to become a dolphin-trainer at seaworld) and as middle school and high school came and went, it was my only reason for trying to get good grades. i got into college and still only worked for that. my first panama trip came and went, and fueled what i thought was my fire for becoming a doctor. (btw, i’m skipping a lot of other significant events because it’ll just take too long to write about). a horrible summer studying for the MCAT and my second panama trip came and went, and that’s when i started to realize that i never had really asked myself why i wanted to become a doctor. of course the default answer is that i wanted to help people. but was that it? was that all i could say? senior year started, and i felt myself becoming more unhappy each day thinking about the prospect of med school applications and continuing studying for the stupid MCAT (i effing hate that test with an effing passion!). a few people asked my why i wanted to become a doctor and i remember having difficulty giving them a response that i pulled out of my ass…very slowly. there was something wrong with that picture…and i knew that people who wanted to become a doctor knew EXACTLY why they wanted to become one and could tell you in a passionate second why they’d be willing to make all the sacrifices that come with pursuing that field. so why did it take me forever to come up with an answer to that simple question? and tell me why i knew i was bulshitting myself with what came out of my mouth? and then it hit me like a fucking speeding train…my heart was not in this. it was not, and it had not been for the past i-don’t-know-how-lo g. then why the hell did i feel so good and career-driven after my hospital volunteering and two panama trips? well i figured out the answer to that question easily enough. what had inspired me throughout college to pursue what i thought should be med school was the relationships that i had been able to make with people and the impact that i had on them. at the hospital, there was this patient. he could barely move and though i didn’t know his condition, i knew he needed help eating and bathing, etc. when i first encountered him, i fed him apple sauce that he had trouble swallowing. i didn’t attempt to talk to him because it was obvious enough that he could barely eat. the next week, he was still there, and the next week, and the next week. each time i came in he would say to me “hey, i remember you”. and even though this statement could mean something completely different in another situation, it was always the highlight of my shift because this man who barely had the energy to swallow apple sauce took even more to tell me he remembered me. i was touched every single time. on my second panama trip, i will never forgot this one 15-year-old girl, and even though i regret to say that i don’t remember her name, i will never forget her face or the kind of impact she had on me. we had just assessed her and came to the conclusion that she had a common cold. we gave her cold medicine. easy enough, right? but after i came back from our makeshift pharmacy with her medicine, she came up to me with a smile and kissed my right cheek and said “gracias”. for COLD MEDICINE? girl you don’t even know how much you impacted me that day. so to answer my previous question about why these volunteer shifts and trips were so inspiring to me…it was the relationship i made with those patients. in panama, i knew that our medical solutions were extremely temporary for these people. the only thing that could change their health was a change in lifestyle, which could only come from a change in their country’s government and social infrastructure. what made that girl so happy and so thankful was the fact that i (and the doctors and the translators) had come all the way from the united states to hear about her cold. she was thankful for our concern for her, and i never forgot how much it radiated from her. it wasn’t the cold medicine that did it, it was our presence. what i concluded and knew in my heart was that it was the relationships i strove for and helping the patient know that somebody cares. of course i felt good knowing that we could give these patients some type of temporary medical solution, but it was how i made them feel that touched my own heart. “emotional signs are just as important as vital signs”. this was said by a nurse named ruby martinez who realized just as much. i don’t want to be a doctor that only comes in and out of a patient’s life every once in a while. i don’t want to be the doctor who talks to her patient through a cold veil of professionalism (something i noticed many times at the hospital). i don’t want to be the doctor who has to look on the chart for the patient’s name before she addresses him/her. i want to be the one who’s by the patient’s side from the moment they enter a hospital to the moment they leave. i want to be the one that the patient can freely talk to and be comfortable with. so there you have it, i don’t want to be a doctor, i want to be a nurse. i guess the reason why i’m making such a big deal out of this is because of how much i’m expected to become a doctor and MAKE BIG MONIE$$$$!! i’ve been pushed since i can remember (and being the oldest grandkid in the family doesn’t help me one bit). but as a person very dear to me has said “this is your future, not someone else’s. it’s time to be selfish.” also, one of my ultimate goals in life is to able to have a family. i know that the doctor-package comes with 12-15 hour shifts at the hospital and even more hours on call. this does not even include medical school, lol. i am not willing to make that sacrifice at the expense of my own family. yeah, some people would say that plenty of doctors have families. but i don’t want to give my family my leftover time. i want them to be my sole priority, and i’m not afraid to admit that. i’m not afraid to admit that i’m not willing to make the sacrifices that come with being a doctor. i’m being selfish, but i don’t care. if there’s one example i want to set for my siblings and younger cousins…it’s to go for what you know will make you happy.
so with all these crazy thoughts zooming around in my head, i am drowning in my own anxiety knowing that i will have to break the news to my mom soon. i don’t know what she’ll say and i’m shitting bricks thinking about how that conversation will go. but fuck it has to be done. at least i know that my reasons for this drastic change in career choice comes from my heart and that i’m not copping out of the “hard” way because i’m lazy. i hope she’ll understand that at least.
wow. i think i’m done. haha. i graciously thank you if you took the time to read through this mess. i love you forever if you did!
oh, and duh, i also want to have the time to make tea with the teavana set i will buy myself in the future. i like tea, does that make an old lady?