Jul 25, 2007

Where does the medical interest come from?

I got a new reader (Hi C and welcome!) and she asked me a good question: why the medical interest.

I always wanted to be a doctor. My grandfather was a surgeon, family physician and ob-gyn. In his 90s, his hands were so precise that he would walk with a cup full of coffee from the kitchen to his room without spilling a drop. At 80 years old, he was doing a spinal taps, one of them right when a big earthquake happened. He was very respected and everybody was wishing that someone will follow his steps. I would have liked it, but when time came, the status of health care in Romania was pretty bad and doctors were not seen as having a bright future (he he, talk about the American healthcare being in bad shape...). On top of that the admission exam was extremely difficult and i never thought I would ever make it. Right now, I think I had good chances anyway, but at that time my self esteem was very low and no one around me told me otherwise.

Life seemed to take me farther away from medicine, until I got hit with preeclampsia. After the initial shock with this not well understood disease, I got every book I could find on the subject and some of the books were medical textbooks. I found the Preeclampsia Foundation and a group of people that were just as nuts about finding answers and learning more (even if that meant housewives reading medical textbooks).

I learned and understood a lot in those years: I learned how little is known about pregnancy, I learned that doctors are not Gods, I learned that we need to take responsibilities and to accept a degree of risk. After the initial: "you doctors are all idiots" phase, I learned to respect doctors and medical professionals and I tried as hard as possible to communicate effectively and help them help me. It was a long road with lots of bumps, but I ended up feeling very comfortable with the doctors I sticked around and I feel I have a good grip on navigating through the health system.

After my second pregnancy, when it looked like preeclampsia was out of sight for a while or maybe forever, I attacked the anxiety with a new set of health care system challenges: finding the right therapist, deciding on meds vs. therapy or both, etc.

While working on the anxiety, I realized that I had the freedom to have dreams and that no matter how unlikely these dreams are, I can still have them. There is no shame in dreaming. I found Paul Levy. Paul is not a doctor, but he does a great job being the CEO of a large hospital... so maybe my dream is not that impossible either. Add to that that I am working in a field (IT, database software development) that is needed like air in healthcare today, and the dream seems just around the corner.

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