Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Medicine from a Blogger's POV

Things to do when I have a lot of homework and paid writing work:
1. Blog
2. Watch really trashy reality television and feel superior.

A lot of people have asked me how or why I switched gears so quickly. It feels like a former life now, almost a decade as a stay-at-home/work-at-home mommy, who homeschooled and was a substantial part of the local homeschooling scene. I blogged, tried new recipes, and cared deeply about the cleanliness of my bathroom counters.

Blogging has always been a somewhat philanthropic pursuit for me. There are certain things I know about, from experience and a lot of self-education. Green living in a very frugal, unconventional, and attainable way is one of these things. So is running a household. I am a thoughtful type of person, so I tend to research things. A niche blog on green family life fit like my favorite jeans. I began this blog hoping to share what I know in an interesting way that could be read by others, and to learn from these 'others' as well. If I could make money or build some writing cred doing it, all the better. Until I started school and had to temporarily give up blogging, I was well on my way to attaining this.

Medicine has always been one of my interests. I am fascinated by the way the human body works, but I am even more intrigued by the interaction between body and mind. Sometimes, people are overlooked or marginalized by health care systems--I know this because I often find myself and loved ones in this position. This is when one good doctor can make a huge difference.

Multiply that doctor by all of the patients they see in their career, and you have an immense potential for changing the landscape of the health care industry, especially the local flavor of a small community like Yakima. People assume I am interested in the money, but, honestly, family doctors in small towns don't make the rock star wages people think they do, and I'll be entering my early forties with six figures in student loans. I could make more selling cars, and not have to get tear stains all over a biology lab manual in the process.

We all have moments when things just click for us. For me, it happened while watching a documentary about an African midwife who left her family to train to perform cesarean sections. She practiced in a small village with no access to a hospital and lost women every month who might have been saved by a surgical procedure that is routine in the first world. When the government began allowing midwives to perform cesareans, she jumped.

Of course it isn't that simple. She had barriers, just as I do. Some views are worth the hike.

For a long time, I have felt this horrible emptiness, a feeling that I should be doing more to help other people. Like the servant in the Bible who buries his master's money, I have been been merely going on my way and ignoring the potential of my gifts. When I saw the documentary, everything suddenly seemed clear. It's a hard road, a painful road filled with worry and exhaustion and overwhelming waves of inadequacy. I don't know if I can get my grades up that tiny bit to where they need to be without making sacrifices I am not willing to make. I miss the simple joys of the life that once was mine, like spending a morning trying new and fancy braids or watching my son's face as he reads Tolkien for the first time.

I have to believe it will all be worth it in the end. Like blogging, this will be my little way of making a difference and maybe a comfortable living. I view medicine as a two-way sharing of information between the physician and the patient, and I can't wait to learn more so I have something to bring to the table when I finally put on that white coat.


Lisa Russell said...

I liked this- actually I like everything you say, and I miss you but I didn't ever think you were crazy or even flip-flopping. The same things that make you a great mom will make you a great doctor. You ask questions, pay attention to details, analyze things in your mind and then act with integrity and respect. You'll do great.