I guess this post will require a little about me. I am currently writing after a long day of work as an Anesthesiologist, now I sitting on my couch in LA, both of us recent transplants from NYC, waiting for Black-ish to start and enjoying a cup of Yogi Cinnamon Vanilla Healthy Skin tea, because after turning 30 my skin obsession began running wild. I am “happily single”, whatever that means, and make a great living that affords me the opportunity to travel and give to others willingly. I have an amazing family and a solid group of girlfriends that fit right into the “Sex and the City” lifestyle that most women have concocted in a daydreamer or two. I can honestly say that I am content with my life. But on many occasions along my journey, I, like many Mavens I’m sure, questioned this career path.
I often tell people who congratulate me on the accomplishment of becoming a doctor that it doesn’t require as much intelligence as one may think. Mostly, it requires diligence and willingness to sacrifice. The path is fairly easy and certainly well laid out. If you follow the steps…college, med school/nursing school/pa school, etc, specialized training, job…you will almost always succeed. The only caveat is that you just can’t fall off the path! Easy right?!
Between the organic chemistry courses that made you question your level of sanity, the cost of all the many boards and certification exams and the “gunners” that made you feel like you would never be good enough, the path to many careers in medicine can be filled with hurdles and road blocks. Most of our peers are starting families and long term jobs while we are starting to accrue debt larger than most peoples mortgage. Sometimes I think that naivety helped me through it; had I known how long the path was, I probably would have hopped of earlier. But I pushed on, broke, tired after 24+ hour calls, sad from missing holidays because I was the most junior resident and hoping that all of this sacrifice was worth it.
So given the opportunity to follow this same “yellow brick road”, would I?
The opportunity to be a women in this honorable field of medicine is truly a blessing. I am constantly humbled by people who congratulate me for the accomplishment and thank me for the work that I do, sometimes on days when I question why I do it. I am grateful that a person in need entrusts me with their life at such a vulnerable moment. And I certainly am not complaining that medicine/health care is one of the most stable professions out there and I can therefore afford a cool trip or two a year. So given a second chance, I would once again give up my time of excused irresponsibility aka my twenties, I would attend every free dinner offered by the pharma companies because steak and wine were absolutely not in the budget then, and I would shed a few tears for all of the failed relationships because I was sacrificing my personal life for future stability. I would do all of these things over again without hesitation because sitting on the couch sipping tea without worry of how to pay my rent, able to smile about the new guy I met that I can enjoy not because I need to but because I want to and knowing that these sacrifices were made not just for me but for my patient who is safely home with their family, is priceless!
Would you do it all over again?