The patients we treat, and the lives we can and can’t save

Disclaimer: Any names or places I use in this entry have been changed in accordance with the laws outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect my former patients’ anonymity.

I would be lying if I said I remembered every patient that I’ve seen. I’m pretty good in that when a patient sees me afterward and smiles silently at me, I’ll remember what I did for them; otherwise, my mind is a large mush of cuts, bruises, fainting, backboarding, intoxication, and sprained limbs. There are several people that always stick in my mind, and that I find myself thinking of sometimes.

Just like in real life, I remember all my firsts. Most of these were in controlled, practice settings, so the memories are not as strong, but they still keep a special place in my brain. The first person I set an intravenous needle into was my buddy in my platoon in medic school. The first person I took a real patient history on was a recruit who was reporting sick for a fever. Notice how I said “most of these”.

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The Things I Like, Love, and Hate about You (Past and Present)

About several people, not just one:

I liked your excessive use of the exclamation point.
I liked that I could always smell you before I saw you, and not in the bad way.
I liked that you danced.
I liked that you accepted all my weirdness and baggage.
I liked you.

I loved that you and I had, and still have, the same passion for music.
I loved buying flowers for you.
I loved the way you chuckle at jokes.
I loved that I effortlessly remember your cell phone number, and I still do.
I loved you.

I hated that you never returned my texts or phone calls.
I hated saying goodbye.
I hated that you were never single and available.
I hated that you got over me so quickly.
I hated you.

I like that you still post “Happy birthday” on my wall.
I like when you randomly text me out of the blue.
I like that I can be myself all the time with you.
I like that I fundamentally understand you.
I like you.

I love that I can now think of our past without it hurting.
I love seeing you happy, even if it is not with me.
I love watching your success.
I love looking and getting lost in your eyes, even now.
I love you(?)

I hate

Honestly, there is nothing I hate about you anymore. I just sincerely hope that you are happy, and I wish you success in everything you do.

Photo credit: Myself
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, from the Musée du Louvre

Your Career Choice versus Your Career Want

I don’t have many memories of my childhood, but there is a particularly poignant one that remains firmly etched in my brain, and I have found myself thinking about it very often in the past few months. I was in Kindergarten, and it was a day where our teachers asked us to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. I remember writing “I WANT TO BE A DOCTOR” in all caps, blue marker, on a strip of manila paper about two inches thick.

Not many of us has a career goal stick to us for so long; many get to college and graduate without a good idea of what they want to do, while others go into college thinking that they know what they want to do, but they switch to something completely different while they are there. In the British education system, you need to have an idea of what you want to do already when you’re applying to university because you apply to specific majors within the program, not just the institution as a whole like in America. This forces you to choose what you think you want to do at the young and tender age of 18. I have found that many of my friends from the British education system find themselves in careers that they are very unhappy with.

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My Anti-Valentine’s Day (Singles’ Awareness Day) Rant

Did you know that St. Valentine was eaten by lions? True story.

Generally, Valentine’s Day is the day that usually ends the season of breakups, which usually starts before Christmas. As with all relationships ending, the reasons vary, but I think that a lot of the ones that end around this time tend to be for commitment reasons (such as meeting their SO’s family). That being said, this period also has the highest number of couples proposing or tying the knot, so I guess it evens out…but I’m not going to talk about those couples. THIS IS AN ANTI-VALENTINE’S DAY RANT AFTER ALL!

My friend, Michael, and I used to bet on the number of breakups we would see (largely from my Facebook or my group of friends because Michael didn’t believe in the social media thing and I had a huge group of acquaintances and friends to look at), starting from around the middle of December and ending on St. Valentine’s Death Day. The winner got…I don’t even think we bet anything because I think it was more for the fact that we wanted to secure our places as worst love grinches in the world. And kudos, I guess.

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