Walking through the masses

I was walking through the hospital today, in civilian clothes, blending in with the visitors. I took my time strolling through the lobby, gazing at the patients, their families and friends, glancing at the professionally dressed healthcare staff. And it suddenly occurred to me that whatever bad decisions i have made in my life, some i don’t remember, others i can’t forget, this decision to work in the hospital is not one of them.

I like the ever-changing landscape of the hospital. I meet different people all the time, and do various life-changing interventions that make a real difference, no matter how insignificant it looks. Even the simple act of inserting an IV cannula to provide pain relief to a lady in severe pain from gallstones, or antibiotics to a guy with appendicitis, means a lot. As much i do not want to admit this to my egoistical nature, i like medicine because my skills are needed, i feel wanted. I am not just some useless sidekick or some dispensable minion on the payroll.

I have done my fair share of office jobs and cafe jobs. Although the office jobs pay more and i physically expend less energy; i actually enjoy myself better as a barista. I like doing manual jobs with my hands, pulling the shots, steaming the milk, wiping the counters, heaving heavy cartons of milk. I like meeting new customers, chatting with my team-mates and just exchanging smiles and grins with random strangers. Just being part of the lives of so many people i will probably never meet or recognize in this infinite universe – the mere few seconds of interaction in this cosmic web of time; i am just completely awed by it.

Sometimes, i imagine to myself, when i am dead and alive in the next dimension, i will be talking to a stranger and peering at a huge diagram of my life in seconds and find out that when i was 8 or 16 or 24, our lives actually cross in the briefest of moments. We just never knew it. How incredible would that be? Whereas in an office, i went to work in the same bland environment, sat on my desk and faced the same papers and computer and the same sour-faced colleagues. I did not even have new clients to break up the routine. It was bad.

And being a doctor just fits the bill. I may whinge at times, but it is all good-natured and good fun. The odd patient may cause me to shriek or tear my hair out, but in the end, i have a giggle over it with my pals. The patients who do well and who are grateful and who really appreciate your work – the feeling that you can proudly acknowledge to yourself that you have accomplished something in life – it’s intoxicating. The constant challenges you get that keeps you on the ball and your mind engaged.

Yes, Medicine ticks all the boxes. And this morning as i strolled through the hospital, a passerby in that frame of time, i knew i made the right decision despite my misgivings.

It really is funny how little facts of life can strike you at the oddest moments. And i was actually going to the hospital to chase after one of my referee reports for an application that is starting to reveal the odds may be against me. Who knows, maybe all the comical bad luck i have been encountering in my lifetime is to compensate for this void in time where a miracle can happen. Who knows right? Right. I need to shut this optimism up now.


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