Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


The day I made up my mind

It's interesting, being me. I'm not sure about you, but I often try to convince myself that I enjoy what I'm doing - even if I don't. A lot of it is conscious (I liked neuro and eyes, right? I should like ophtho), some is unconscious (thoughts of a sweet lifestyle and killer paycheck swill around in my head).

For example, I was originally an Electrical/Computer Engineering major in college. It should have worked out - I liked computers and electronics. Still do. So, I sat in class, telling myself and others "I think I like ECE". Then I realized that my classmates were designing circuits on their spare time because they loved it so much. Long story short, I took a Biochemistry class and just knew. The same thing happened 2 years later when I volunteered in an ER for a summer. I've never looked back.

Back to ophtho. I hated my first day, because I didn't know what I was doing. I liked the second, because I learned how to use their toys. So, I came home and used words like "I think I like ophtho". I tried to convince myself that I liked it, because I want to. All the ophthalmologists I've met love their jobs and say they'd do it all over again. But, at one point today I was looking in my umpteenth eye, when it hit me.

I was so goddamn bored.

The urge to run out of the clinic hit me like a freight train. I just wanted to go home. Of course, I couldn't, as it was only 3:45. I spent the rest of the afternoon really thinking about what's worked and what hasn't over the past 9 weeks.

I realized I like fun patients - eye patients are invariably boring. Glaucoma glaucoma glaucoma diabetes diabetes diabetes glaucoma... You get the point. There is absolutely nothing interesting or exciting about how someone came into your office with gradually decreasing vision for the last 2 months. Nothing.

I'm also a fairly loud and friendly person who gets bored quickly. I was bored after my 3rd glaucoma patient. Eye docs see 40 of them a day. They also examine in small, quiet, dark rooms. This fits in poorly with my aforementioned loud and jovial nature.

I liked doing procedures, but not back-breaking, 4 hour long surgery. Sewing up massive lacerations and shipping them off to Plastics for the detail work was A-Ok by me.

Diagnosis is fun. Management is not. My favorite part about Neurology was being consulted on something unknown and figuring out what was wrong. My least favorite was tweaking medications. My even leaster favorite was followup visits.

Where in medicine can I diagnose a million diseases every day? Where can I find crackheads and drunk college kids doing stupid things with beer bottles and lighters? Where do patients scream and curse while you do every minor procedure under the sun? Where, dear readers, will I get my stories?

The ER.

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  1. I am glad you were able to make your decision. I would say that your decision was based on sound reasoning.

    Have fun with the drunk college kids and crack heads.

    Don’t forget to say STAT a lot.

  2. This sounds like a solid piece of reasoning.

    Hope you don’t find that the succesion of same old drunk head injuries, drunk bottle/knife/gun fights,drunk epileptics,drunk diabetics and so on doesn’t become same old same old.

  3. Having not done a single rotation, I find myself going through the same logic. Stupid I know, since I’m sure everything will change once I actually see what the different specialties are like.

    Someone once told me that the problem with having a job is that they pay you to be good at it all the time. And the only way to assure that is to have you do the same things over and over until you are blue in the face. So, maybe the ER will be boring eventually too. But at least it will be fast paced.

  4. Hey, leave some room for the rest of us!

  5. I don’t understand how you could give up on ECE when your teacher had porn star hair.