“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ.” Philippians 3:14
Tis bittersweet, to say the least, to be less than 9 weeks away from the end of my third year of medical school. Of course, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is the sweet part. But when that tunnel is housed in such an amazing experience as living in Europe, it is bitter to realize that all good things must come to an end.
I am now in the middle of my second to last rotation, OBGYN, affectionately called “Obs & Gynae” in England. This rotation is closely related to my favorite rotation thus far, Pediatrics. In fact, I regularly see some of the Peds registrars if anything goes wrong with the baby as soon as they’re born. This makes me excited! Why?
Because I actually also love OBGYN. I get slightly emotional every time I see a new life springing forth from the womb. I also get emotional in a different way when I get to deliver the actual womb. I have yet to deliver a baby. I came close, but there was shoulder dystocia (anterior shoulder stuck behind the pelvic bone) requiring the OBGYN doctors to intervene. I shall persevere in trying, however many nights I must sacrifice.
However, I am really happy that, God willing, as a future Pediatrician, I start care of the child as soon as they’re born. I actually enjoy looking after the babies and doing baby checks. I couldn’t imagine a career that didn’t involve regularly looking after babies. They bring me so much joy! I’m actually dissatisfied with the fact that OBGYN only involves bringing babies into the world, and even one minute after, if anything goes wrong they’re handed over to the Pediatricians. Hence, why I’m convinced that Peds is my calling. Yesterday, a poor mother who had been pushing for over an hour was not progressing. The obstetricians decided they would use a vaccuum (ventouse) to get the baby out. Even anticipating using an instrument requires calling the Pediatrician, in case the baby comes out in respiratory distress due to the difficult labor. Unfortunately for mother and child, even the vacuum didn’t work. To the chagrin of the mother’s relatives, they had to go for the last option that would allow her a natural childbirth: forceps. Forceps usually lead to more trauma for the mother (episiotomy), while vacuum can lead to more trauma for the neonate (“chignon,” cephalohematoma, etc). If that didn’t work, she would need an emergency c-section. Fortunately, it did work. Baby came out in mild respiratory distress. I noticed some recession, increased respiratory effort, and some atony (floppy baby), and she didn’t cry right away. The pediatrician was not worried because the baby had good perfusion. She gave some oxygen and intermittent PEEP (positive end expiratory pressure) to assist the lungs in removing fluid. The Pediatrician was great at teaching me signs to look for in a distressed baby and what one must do. I was fortunate to receive teaching from the Obstetrics side and the Peds side. It was a wonderful experience.
Of course, I still have one more rotation to go through. This rotation is something I considered as a career for a while also. However, I’ve never been more discouraged by others (family, friends, strangers) about a career choice as I have with PSYCHIATRY! I considered it seriously, because my personality and character screams: “Listener. Attentive listener.” I have always been keen on understanding people’s psyche and the reasons behind their behavior. I always want to know how something makes someone feel, more than anyone I know. So, it seems natural that I should consider this field. Unfortunately, the pure hatred of this field by others have done more than discourage me from considering it. It’s a shame that there exist so many stereotypes about Psychiatry, as it is truly needed for a functioning society.
The only downside to Psychiatry in my opinion, is the concept of managing instead of curing. I’m someone who needs the satisfaction that something has been resolved. With matters of the psyche, this is rarely so. It’s a lifelong battle that is at best managed. Is that enough for me?
In the next post, I shall let you know.