Was driving home after Commencement when I had an ugly encounter. Having apparently insulted the perceived immense skills and obscenely expensive BMW sensors of another driver when I sounded my horn at him for reversing towards me at high speed, the driver stormed angrily out of his car to me.
A few years back, I would have gladly obliged the shouting match/fisticuffs the driver seemed keen to engage in - to assert the dominance of my perspective through force. Instead, as most of my colleagues would do when faced with an angry patient, I simply acknowledged his anger and let him finish his tirade before stepping away.
The episode reminded me that after the fleeting glamour of graduation, the real world was still waiting. The real world where humans are hard to care for, and even harder to love.
These years in Medicine had come with a generous exposure to immovable stubbornness, being physically assaulted and spat at, and verbal abuse from our patients. While oftentimes humiliating and emasculating, we're learned to acknowledge that these people are in pain and empathise with them through these episodes of lashing out. Adding on the constant pressure to perform and to be infallible or risk career-ending lawsuits, I've found myself asking myself if I should quit more often than is comfortable.
Thankfully, amidst the crushing weight lies hidden gems that keep the fire going. The friends who leap in to save you when you're drowning, the inspiring seniors who have grown a patina of humility and resilience, the nurses and allied health who take the rubbish we doctors dish out with grace and still show care when we stumble, and those rare patients who still pour out their gratitude even as we put them through terrible pain to save their lives.
The road ahead is long, and I only ask for the strength and humility to love.
NUH IM House Officer Morbidity & Mortality part 2 complete! Finding sanity amidst the madness that is working life through friendship. NB: Please remember to sign attendance so that our meal budget won't be cut thanks.
"So what do you do on call?"
"Doctor, the patient has MRSA, please gown up"
"Don't worry I won't touch a thing"
Celebrating a belated Star Wars Day by finishing up my first attempt at model painting. Feat. FN-2187 doing his best impression of what HOs look like before and after calls. #maythe4thbewithyou
The payload and I move as one.
"With every death comes honour. With honour, redemption."
When the moon is full, it begins to wane.
Sir would you like to have some leeks with that?
"Only a Shimada can control the dragons. Who are you?"
I never knew I was sitting for the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Bone Tumour exams until this morning. Guess I'll be needing more mallets to do all the urgent bone tumour surgeries I'll need to do on call next year.