Sometimes it’s so easy to just get sucked into medicine, to never come out. Your life revolves around it, your friends are all medics – I’ll be damned, all you talk about is medicine (look at this blog)! It’s not until you give yourself a chance to emerge from the big black sea of medicine that you realise how far down it had dragged you. It’s almost like a beautiful mermaid, and you’re a sailor – except it’s a lot less pleasurable and a lot more grievous.
People talk about the precarious work life balance in medicine, and everyone seems so incredibly aware of it – “yes of course, work life balance, one of those things you need to watch for”. And then poof, it’s gone and you don’t even notice. So much for keeping an eye out.
It’s almost paradoxical, really – we’re here looking after people’s quality of life, and end up forgetting what life is about altogether when it comes to our life. Are we then referring to some sort of idealistic, imaginary good life, that we want our patients to have, if we don’t ourselves have any idea of what that is? How can we possibly treat, give advice to someone, try and “improve their life”, if we base our practice on textbook notions of life?
I don’t want to be swallowed. I don’t want to disappear in the big black sea of medicine. I don’t want medicine to be who I am. And I guess this doesn’t just apply to medicine. So often we are swallowed whole by our jobs, our commitments and roles, our duties and obligations at that particular point in time.
But as you breach through the dark waves, as you take a big gasp for air, then you know there’s so much more. And you can’t let it go. Don’t let it go. Otherwise there’s no point in even opening that textbook, in talking to that patient about their ailments. If you’re empty, and there’s nothing to you but medicine, then that’s it.
You might as well not have lived at all.