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Nov 22, 2009


So I’m on the Breast service as my general surgery assignment. First of all, I would argue that the Breast service should count as general surgery, as I will not ever see an appendectomy (no need, really) or a gall bladder removal or any work on any part of the belly, which, as you may know, is 99% of general surgery. What I’m saying is that this service is doing NOTHING for my exam grade.

However, I LOVE IT. I like it more than I care to admit, actually. I have the great fortune to be working with a particular person who happens to love opera and have a particular fondness for musicians who go into music. Lucky me. On Friday, this particular surgeon let me do an incredible (and insane) amount of a case, light years more than I’d ever done before. He said that the look on my face when I’d finished was the highlight of his week. I wonder if he knows that the feeling in my stomach was the highlight of my year so far.

I have a little bit of a history with surgery, as you may recall, and it is making my enjoyment of this rotation feel like enjoying bacon must feel to a devout Jew. My father is a surgeon and, as such, I swore to the high heavens that I would never do such a thing. Of course, I initially meant medicine in its entirety, but I later edited that down to just surgery, finding, as I did, such an interest in becoming a physician. Now I find myself staring into general surgery and it looking much more like a path I might’ve chosen rather than the dark and tortuous alley I’d always painted in my head. It seems wrong to enjoy this rotation, especially after Patrick’s experience. I should clarify: it seems wrong to even consider general surgery after going through being the spouse of a general surgery resident and the daughter of a practicing general surgeon. How could I even consider it?

But, as my father has always said, I am a “do-er”. I “do”, while Patrick “thinks”. When I talk to my father about how much I love being in the OR, he says that he predicted that I would go into something surgical. This makes me uncomfortable, to be honest. I don’t like having a path predestined for me; I prefer to hack it out myself, even if it is entirely out of the way and much more painful than it ought to be.

Which is why I really, really hope that I like my OB/GYN rotation. I’ve been focused on that path since Christmas of my first year of med school, all rather blindly. I have shadowed until I actually became translucent and have done months and months and months of research in the field. My grades are not the world’s most competitive, so I have tried to make up for that by being very involved in groups and activities and organizations. All this for something that I may not like.

But OB/GYN has a lot of surgery in it, and, as I have mentioned, I want to be in the OR. But I also want to take care of women and help them through their childbearing years. I sympathize with many of their problems and may be able to fix some of them. I want to be a part of births and, as awful as it is, I want to be there when the tragedies happen. Women need people who aren’t afraid of them or their babies or their choices or their bodies. That is what I want to do.

At least, I think I do.

4 Readers rock!:

Without Wax said...

It is scary, thinking about picking out that one field that would fit like a glove. I'm only a first-year, so I'm in the mode where everything seems interesting/fun. Good luck in advance on your OBGYN shifts!

marymartha said...

I can understand the love of surgery, it was always my fave part of the job at the cat clinic. It seemed wondrous and mysterious and somehow holy to me. I remember the first surgery I assisted on and still remember the awe I felt looking into the body of a living creature, feeling humbled to be witnessing an organism that was so complex and yet so simple on the outside. It made me truly realize that there was a higher power that was creative , magical, imaginative and brilliant...

Dragonfly said...

Women also need good and caring doctors to take care of them with breast cancer as well....which is one of the reasons I like general surgery myself. Man, I wish I could fast forward and see what I go into.

XE said...

A friendly, caring breast surgeon would be a great addition to the world. You will be amazing regardless of what you end up in.