Family Medicine – Day 22

Another one down. These rotations have been going by so fast (at least it feels like that when they are over). As always, it was bittersweet having to say goodbye to this place that was my home for the past 22 days. The connections and relationships over these past few weeks were about to become a thing of the past. Was it a waste? I felt like I was emotionally invested here, but I really was just a blip in the day-to-day hustle-and-bustle of this clinic. Did I make an impact at all? Remember, if not it’s ok, you’re here to learn, not necessarily change lives or be remembered. Though I am sad I didn’t get to give a proper goodbye to all my attendings.

Overall thoughts on family medicine:

These rotations have kind of felt like a game show. We have all these doors in front of us, behind each is glimpse into in a life that we previously had little to no conception of. From what I saw of family medicine, this is definitely the work I envisioned myself doing when I decided I wanted to become a doctor. Sitting down with patients, listening to their stories, being invited to a have a peak into their lives, their worldview, their lived experiences, and leveraging that to provide the best, compassionate, patient-centered care that I can so they can go out and live their best lives, on their terms.

I saw a lot of that while I was here. But I also saw a lot of barriers to being able to do that properly or in the way I envisioned it. The paperwork. The bureaucracy. The scheduling. The missed communications (vs miscommunication). The redundancy. I can see how even with the best of intentions and the strongest of passions for this specialty (yes specialty, I will fight anyone who thinks otherwise), it can be easy to get lost and discouraged by all the red tape, but I also think thats where the art of medicine can really come in to play. We can’t necessarily change the circumstances in which we practice (at least usually not all at once), but we can change how we operate within those circumstances, just like in life. How we navigate our challenges and obstacles is what separates people for whom medicine is a profession vs an art. It’s a fine line I think, and easy to flip from one side to the other based on something as fickle as what side of the bed you woke up on that morning. We can’t expect to always have the good days. The days where we feel motivated. Where we feel the fire in our hearts. Where we feel our souls being fed. That’s just not the way life works. It may even be a bit much to expect more good than bad. 50/50 is acceptable (such is life in a world where rules are often made by people who are not personally invested in the communities they make the rules for), but every once in a while if you have those moments that remind what you’re here for; the stubborn old man who finally lets loose a hearty laugh. The little girl whose face lights up when you pull a dinosaur sticker out of her ear. The lady who came to you on the verge of losing everything, celebrating 2 years of sobriety. Those moments can make it all work it, and these are just some of the things I have seen in primary care and in having long-term relationship with patients and what draws me so strongly to this field.

That said, who’s to say I can’t have that if I choose to go down a different path. Maybe it will look a little different, but the feeling would be the same. Or maybe I can find a place where I can find work that sustains me, but also give me the financial stability and the time to do the work I think is important on my own terms. There’s still a lot to think about, and so much in medicine I still want/ need to see, but I’m thankful for this opportunity to experience life behind door number 1.

My gimpy, but resilient colocasia that I grew from a taro root from the grocery store instead of turning it into sinigang; unexpected moments of laughter; friends who are like family who still reach out even after long periods of not seeing or hearing from each other.


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