Sunday, October 05, 2014

Definitely still here

It is almost a decade since I started writing this blog.

Wowsers. Time disappears bloody quickly.

"Writing" is a bit of a subjective term because I neither write particularly well (stream of consciousness borne out of frustration/emotion) nor have I written on this blog regularly.

It still touches me deeply when I read the comments section of the "I hate medicine" entry (well maybe not the spam posts) as so much of what people are going through is exactly what I've been through/still go through.

I don't think I have much advice for you all and, more importantly, I'm not qualified to give you any decent advice. I've pretty much felt my way through my professional life to date, muddling through (not so) elegantly and so would NEVER want to suggest what the best/worst decisions might be for you. Those are decisions we must ultimately make ourselves. Beth Orton is pretty spot on when she sings:

"this beautiful life that we build by hand
From scraps and shards and broken strands."

Medicine is such a weird career - capable of filling you with unimaginable joy and happiness whilst simultaneously bringing you to your knees at the foot of an unsurmountable mountain of misery. Is there a way to ride this stupid emotional roller-coaster without feeling like you want to hurl?  I still don't know.

What I do know is that we are never alone. Regardless of how miserable the world might appear, there are millions of wonderful people out there. Reach out to them and suddenly everything seems  a little bit brighter. "No man is an island" wrote Donne. Clever man.


peace said...

My feeling exactly. Thank you

Anonymous said...

am hating medicine at the moment, hate the managers, hate the nurses, hate my colleagues, hate that this career takes up so much of my time, hating that i look back to my 20's and realised spent most of it in a hospital doing crazy shifts and generally disliking people in general...thank you for writing this least don't feel like the only one...

Anonymous said...

I hate it too. So much so that I plan to kill myself in the next couple of weeks.

ppx said...

Thanks for keeping this blog up. It helps to read the comments and the entries. I too am getting sick of the NHS and either want to spend a more chilled out career in pathology or just leave. I'm planning on going travelling next year, taking a break before CMT. I hope I'll find an amazing job abroad that stops me from coming back!

Ken said...

Thank you for updating your blog, Dazed and Confused.

I did volunteering medical work at a Developing Country for a few months during my Gap Year and overall enjoyed it despite being frustrated by the severe lack of medical resources, hence having to be more reliant on your clinical skills and treating patients more "empirically". I enjoyed trying to explain medical conditions to the locals, given that most had very poor health-literacy. The locals there truly respected doctors like in the "Good Old Days", not a single "Code Grey" (doctor getting attacked/abused/threatened by a patient) during my entire stay there.

Now that I'm back in Australia, my Gap Year is coming to an end, and I'll be starting Internship in January next year. I'm very excited and nervous!!!!!!

I feel more refreshed after taking a Gap Year, and feel less anxious about my place in Medicine. At the end of the day, being a Doctor is a job. It used to be a "calling" or a "vocation" that was respected, but looking at how the Medical profession has been degraded over the past few decades in Western countries (especially America, Australia and the UK) by the politicians, bureaucrats and voting majority, I don't think many doctors would be happy "putting all their eggs in 1 basket" (ie Medicine).

I'm very grateful for having the opportunity to volunteer overseas. I realized that I actually do enjoy Medicine from an Academic point of view, especially the work-up/diagnostics. It's actually the bureaucracy, red-tape, and overly punitive Medico-Legal crap screwing around Doctors that makes me angry or frustrated inside.

I now know that if I start hating work as an Intern, Resident etc, I'll know that it's coz of the System, and not coz of any inherent dislike in Clinical Medicine itself given that I enjoyed my overseas experience despite being unpaid.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

I'm still interested in Pathology coz of the diagnostics component, so will try to break into the program ASAP.

I'm wondering for those who are disillusioned with Clinical Medicine in their respective countries, if they could consider pursuing Pathology or Diagnostic Radiology instead?
That way, they can still work in the Medical Field but also drastically reduce their patient contact.

One of my friends (who didn't take a Gap Year) is thinking of quitting Medicine after completing RMO-1 (1st Year Resident) to study something else. He cited that the work was dissatisfying, and that a lot of the patients had seemingly self-inflicted conditions (especially morbid obesity, alcohol, drug use despite receiving welfare money and patient education), with a huge sense of entitlement.
- Tbh, I don't blame him. I do wonder how I'll cope though given that the patients I met overseas were far more resilient despite being much poorer and having access to much fewer medical resources.

I think a lot of Australians don't realize how lucky they are and take the current healthcare system for granted, with Medicare providing bulk-billed GP consults, and heavily subsidized medications (~$6/script).

The Australian government was planning to introduce a $7 co-payment (it got scrapped) for previously bulk-billed GP consults which was met with wide outrage. What I find so incredibly absurd and frustrating is that a lot of people complain about $7 to see a GP (who had at least 9 years of University + Hospital training) to look after their health yet they have little problem spending the same amount or more on non-essentials like cigarettes, alcohol, and smartphones. Try getting the same quality GP service for $7 equivalent in any other developed country without paying even higher personal taxes. Even in New Zealand, patients routinely pay co-payments.

There are a lot of people abusing or being a huge drain on the Public Healthcare System here (from lifestyle-related conditions + complications), and from a financial point of view, I suspect that the seemingly "Free Healthcare" that we used to have will be phased out over the next decade.

The Government was also planning to de-regulate University fees, so even the public Universities can ramp up their Med-School Fees from ~$9K / year (when I was a student) ----------------> $20+K / year!!!

Apparently the above plan was rejected this year, but I also predict as the Australian government falls into more debt as the mining boom ends, that fee deregulation will occur eventually. Which is quite sad, because I suspect it'll become more like America, where medical students / junior doctors will be aspiring towards the highest-paying specialties (eg Dermatology, Orthopaedics) even if they're not particularly interested in it, which is a recipe for even faster Burnout.

I now feel much more grateful for being in Australia, and being so lucky to study Medicine before such university reforms take place. Even if I were to hypothetically quit Medicine in the future for whatever reason, I'll be grateful for being much more health-literate than laymen, along with being able to apply skills that I've acquired to non-medical settings (eg "What's the point of doing this if it's not going to change the Management/Outcome?").

Medicine is excellent for a first career, and I'm not ashamed to be a Doctor anymore, but I won't be ashamed to quit later on if I have to coz of personal or systemic reasons.

There'll always be people wanting to study Medicine, but as the respect, pay (in real terms) and working conditions continue to deteriorate, there'll be faster turnover.

I'll try my best to be a good doctor (clinically), and take things one day at a time...

Good luck to you all.

peace said...

Please don't do that. Your life matter. Search for happiness in the simplest thing; a walk, a nice meal... and quit medicine , even if for a while if you think it is the cause of your misery. Sending positive vibes your way.
Remember: you are a child of this universe, you deserve to be happy.

rhetoran said...

Thanks for writing. It's strangely cathartic to know I'm not alone. Misery enjoys similar feathers to flock with I've found. We're with you.

PreppyMedGirl said...

It's strange that I am able to find people who feel the same. I am in the middle of med school and I have already thought of quitting.
Although my state is more paradoxical, I love it one day and hate it the other.
Any sugesstions on how to keep up?

If you could read my blog here, Read Here!

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Odunukan G Dayo said...

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quasimod said...

Hi Disheartened Doctor,

I didnt get it. What did you do finally- did you resign, take a gap year(s), or did you switch professions? If you left medicine then are you a full-time writer now? More importantly,are you happy with what you're doing as of today?

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