So maybe my view of medicine is pretty idealistic, seeing as I’ve been a patient since the moment I was born. Medicine saved my life, that’s pretty clear. Instead of associating doctors and white coats with pain, I always associated doctors and white coats with feeling better.
A lot of people have asked me, if you’re going into medicine, why are you majoring in English?
My answer is this: English seemed to be the most natural path because I’ve always loved reading and writing. And in the face of people’s skepticism, (oh my gosh, what about Biology?!) I always remembered what one of my doctors told me:
You’ll probably be a better doctor as an English major, because you’ll know what it’s like to be a human being.
Two summers ago, I was sitting in my writing room where most of my work comes alive, and was thinking. Thinking about everything and anything, neurons firing and misfiring every which way, concerning my identity as a writer, and at the time my possible identity as an MD. I thought about how my adjustment to college was a tricky one, and how enduring bouts of sadness and loneliness detracted from all the signs that were blaring and making noise right in front of me: signs about why I should get my MD, like:
- My sense of authority and control as a provider of medicine (probably stemming from my lack of control with having CP).
- Living with CP gives me a perspective on medicine that most do not have. Since I’ve been a patient my whole life, the plethora of experiences will help me as I interact with my own patients and treat them.
- An undeniable sense of belonging; my past and current experiences have shown me that the hospital is where I’m meant to be everyday… and..not just as a patient anymore!
Sure, even writing this my insecurities are beginning to prowl to the surface: will I be able to handle being a pediatrician? The long hours, the running around, constantly having to be on your feet; will my shaky motor skills allow me to place an IV? A central line?
While it took me a long time to realize it, the truth is this: don’t let anybody tell you you can’t be a doctor because of CP or anything else, because that’s bullshit. If you want to do it, you should go for it. And when you do it, you might as well go all the way!