display | more...

What gives you daymares in YOUR job?

My Edward Jones investment counselor asked "What is your level of risk?"

I answered "Newborn with a heart rate of five or less." I really have a hard time caring about money as long as there is some.

Doctors often suck at money because they think they are smart and they are sure they can earn more and they are Valuable and Noble and they start earning money late because schooling takes so long. We are money marks. We think we are above money.

So what do I fear? And what do you fear? I think our fears can affect our job and career choices and yet we will not escape our fears. They will find us.

The book Owning Your Own Shadow asks what three things am I most proud of? Tough, smart, independent.

The book then says, the mirror image of each of those is what I most fear: Vulnerable, stupid, dependent.

My chosen career is informed and influenced by all of these. You need to be able to demonstrate a steep learning curve for medical school, you must be tough to get through it and to treat horribly sick and horribly suffering people and you are the person who must make decisions over and over in clinic and the hospital: independent.

When I read Owning Your Own Shadow I realized how afraid I am, of vulnerability most of all. No surprise that I wanted to be Spidergirl rather than a princess when I was little. Spidergirl didn't exist yet. I dismissed Supergirl as a fantasy: invulnerabilty was stupid and anyhow, she and Superman were NICE. Spiderman was a mass of angst yet went around doing amazing things anyhow. And he screws up and his Uncle is killed.

And that is what doctors fear: making someone worse. Missing a diagnosis. I worry about lupus precisely because I have never diagnosed anyone with lupus. I am afraid I've missed it. Never mind that I have diagnosed things that are WAY more rare than lupus. I was very relieved when I diagnosed a woman with hemochromatosis 3-4 years ago because it is in 5% of the population. There, check that off. Sort of like a birding life list where you try to see every species in the US or world at least once.... not that it's possible, really.

And not being able to help someone. Feeling helpless. That has all of my fears: vulnerability, stupid and dependent. Holy cats, Batman.

What are you most proud of? What do you fear? And has that informed your career choice?

...who knows what fear lurks in the hearts of all of us...

for Grisly Ghouls from Every Tomb: The 2016 Halloween Horrorquest