Friday, January 27, 2012

don't rub your face

at the office, when i'm particularly frustrated with a patient, or my nurse, or my receptionist, i rub my face.

almost in an effort to rub my face off.

the ladies think it's hilarious to see if they can make me rub my face. it's in such a motion that i end up with my hands in my hair, rubbing my temples with the heels of my hands.

i'm sure it's quite them.

however, rubbing one's face in the office is not a great idea. first, it really messes up my fabulous makeup. so i recreated the motion so that my eyes weren't involved. plus, i wear contacts, and if i even hear the mention of pink eye, i contract it. and....there are a lot of germs in my office. so three reasons why i shouldn't rub my face.

i am a family doctor. i am fortunate enough to practice in a community where it is not only possible for me to do fun things like remove toenails and diagnose strep throat...but i get to do really neat things like deliver babies.

yes. i can barely believe it myself when i say that. today...i saw patients that were...pregnant, had diabetes, had high blood pressure, wanted to talk about their eating disorder, depressed, suicidal, happy to be alive after a brush with death, dealing with back pain, and working on weight loss. obviously not all in one patient.

i didn't start my career wanting to go to medical school. in fact, when i went to college, i started as a nursing major. i was blessed to attend the university that i really wanted to go to. i went to indiana university. this was a huge deal in my family...where i knew who bobby knight was before i knew who the president was. i was the first one in my immediate family to go to college...though, my younger sister went to college, too...i was just first because i was the oldest. however, when i was little, i remember being fascinated by science. i would spend hours looking over books and learning about dinosaurs and fossils and the life cycles of beetles and stars and galaxies.

i vividly remember, after my grandma got sick, sitting on the floor next to her while she did her peritoneal dialysis. grandma was a MASH nurse in WWII. she was the valedictorian of her college class. she was a first lieutenant in the army. she used to tell me stories about operating on wounded soldiers under apple trees in france, and how she and grandpa were married amid the ruins of a french city. they spent their honeymoon on the french riviera. my grandpa was a corporal, and a medic with the army. we often joked that grandma ordered grandpa to marry her...since she outranked him. my grandma was the head of the nursing school in our city, and i remember my mom talking about when i was born...when grandma came to visit me, those nurses really straightened up, she used to say. i always thought i would be a nurse. i always knew i would do something in health care.

during my sophomore year in college, my advisor (who i actually thought was a bonehead), said that given my scores on my entrance exams, i should really think about changing my major to "something more challenging." see? he was a bonehead. trust me...there is very little out there that is more challenging than nursing. by this time, i was working as a CNA in a nursing home, and i knew the things the nurses had to deal with on a very personal level. however, i did really like the idea of pursuing something closer to my science passion, so i changed my nursing major to biology and chemistry.

i loved the courses. i loved everything about jordan hall. the skylights, the plants in the lobby. the bagel cart! and, honestly, as much as i griped about it, i loved organic chemistry. i loved them all.

except statistics. i still loathe statistics.

i had to tell my parents. i had to tell them that i was thinking about medical school, or graduate school...but i was terrified. my dad and i have talked about it since then....what parent is honestly going to be upset if their daughter or son tells them they want to be a doctor? seriously? but i was so worried that i'd be letting down the family by turning my back on nursing. however, i told them and they were so completely supportive.

i studied for and took the MCAT, thinking that if i did okay, then i'd apply for medical school. i did. then i thought that if i got some interviews, then i'd go and see how it went. i ended up only interviewing at indiana university school of medicine, and somehow, someway, i got in.

i know that someway was Him. i know now that there was a plan all along.

medical school wasn't easy. and neither was residency. but all during the time that i was going through school, partying at college, and living like a heathen, He was really there, guiding me, opening doors that i walked through and closing doors that weren't meant for me.

so...the most important reason that i shouldn't rub my face is that i was put in this position for a reason. not only do i not want to mess up my makeup and make myself sick, but i am here for a reason. i meet these people and i become a part of their lives. i cry when they die. i laugh when they giggle. i tickle baby toes and console wise souls. i feel a baby take its very first breath. and i occasionally hold a person's hand when they take their last breath on this earth.

it may not have been a plan all along in my mind, but it was in His. so i rub my face a little less frequently these days. i try to breathe, and remember, i was put here in this earth to do many things, including all of this. and being a heathen didn't get me was Him knowing that eventually, i'd turn all that bad stuff into something good. i'm so thankful He didn't give up on me, or rub His face in spite of me.

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