Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Thirty-six Blade Razor

One hears a lot about the emotional toll medicine takes on you as you go through school and residency and finally start practice. I was just looking at my schedule for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday season. Damn. I don't have holidays anymore. I don't have weekends either. In the next three weeks I'll be up all night at work for six nights (that's aside from the many day shifts inbetween).

That's the worst thing about EM... No set schedule. For internists, pediatricians, surgeons, and OBGYN docs the downside is call. Call is, in fact, so crappy, that many docs won't take call anymore. They have farmed their in hospital business out to "hospitalists". The only kind of medicine a hospitalist practices in inpatient medicine.

In a rather desultory way I've been looking at "other options"... The pipe dream of the physician. We all feel that we would be successful in any endeavor we tried, after all, we're doctors! Fact is, there's not too many that leave and succeed at other things. Let's face it, I spent eight years of my life learning to do what I do now. I just finished paying off my school loans at age 37. The thought of leaving is a dream and one, that if I follow it to it's logical end, is a very scary dream.

So how do doctors do it? Some just love it and God bless 'em. Others get cynical and bitter, others drink or drug, others get divorced a few times, and some get it just right. I would say that I got it mostly right. I like the job. I can't complain about the money. I just don't have any idea what it would be like to do something else. As I watch another holiday season pass by from the confines of the ED I wonder a lot about this.

One of my friends at work wants to write that one hit song. He's got a great voice and is good on the guitar. He's had a couple of near misses selling his music to low budget filmmakers. I'd like to write that song or that great novel. I actually have the title of the song or novel, "The thirty-six blade razor." They are already selling a five blade razor, so this will be a song or novel set not too far in the future.

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