Thursday, January 19, 2006

I Need a Break

There are times that i am asking myself "why on earth did i dream to become a doctor?" When i was young, i was amazed by people wearing those white, long-sleeved coats, with stethoscopes hanging on their necks to complete the outfit. I was moved by life-saving actions and dramas on tv like doctors resuscitating a dying patient. I am touched by heroic deeds of saving somebody's life. I acted as a doctor myself when i was young, giving my "patients" who happened to be my playmates, "medicines" (candy mints to be exact) to alleviate their "diseases" (thanks to them, they're all good actors and actresses). A friend reminded me that i treated her bruise with "malunggay" when we were in gradeschool. At a young age, people found me having the talent to treat the sick.

Now that i have reached that childhood dream, i am wondering why i still feel empty. I have treated hundreds of sick people, alleviated their pain, gave comfort to the dying, and helped prevented complications, yet, i can no longer feel the sense of fulfilment. No longer for i had this feeling of high when i was just starting in this profession. Now, i feel nothing.

In my 2nd year as a full-fledged doctor, i already feel burnt-out. I didnt realize how being a doctor become so draining. Maybe im just too tired, too harassed, too saturated with the number of cases that i see each day. Maybe, working in a governtment-ran institution is just too tiring that seeing a new case, or a new patient no longer excites me. Everything is a routine for me. I now dont see patients as friends who will give me new knowledge. I now see them as a burden, additional workload i wanted to run away from.

I am no longer amazed by that white coat. Actually, wearing it on a humid day feels like hell. Working in a crap hospital means there are no air conditioning systems in the wards. Good that wearing that long-sleeved white coat is not strictly observed here lest i'll always end up bathing in my own sweat or taking a bath more than thrice a day.

Where have all the excitements gone? Why cant i find fulfilment? I still am doing what's required of me. I still am performing my role as a physician but i get tired so easily. Am i already desensitized? Did my predecessors feel the same thing when they were my age? There's just one thing that i need to do. A change of profession is definitely not the answer. Once a doctor, always a doctor i will be. REST is all i need.

Ten months and i didnt have a break. Ten months, everyday, i report to the hospital. No day off, not even on holidays. I wanted to be absent from work but it's not just my attitude to run away from my responsibilities. Rest, rest, rest. How i wish i could have that rest that i need. Give me just one day off from the hospital. Dont let me see the wards, dont show me a patient, dont ask me to report to the hospital and i'll be fine. I'll be back to my old self again. Vibrant, full of life, full of enthusiasm to save a life. Can't wait for summer to come. Patience self, delay your gratifications. Ahhh life. You really are ironic. Sick people go to the hospital to get well. Doctors however wanted to leave the hospital that's making them sick.

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