Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Age (Le Gasp)

I'm unfazed by trying to do the unthinkable at my age. When I was younger I was unfazed as well. However, back then, some 20+ years ago, I was also unfazed about drinking and driving, smoking cigarettes during a screening of the latest "Halloween" movie, or other issues such as chronic poverty, homelessness, civil rights of individuals, lack of medical care, or really, anything else. I was simply, clueless.

Some on other forums have trashed my dream and the pursuit of medicine at, le' gasp, "my age"... apparently, I should be holed up in my home with bunny slippers on, sipping cocktails, and waiting for death since apparently, trying to give back to society for another 20 - 30 years is unthinkable. Apparently, at 45 one's life is over and we should all just sit back and wait for the ugly dude in the black dress/cape like thing carrying a sickle.

For all of those of you who prescribe to that notion, please leave. Seriously. Get a grip. Grow up. And leave.

Yep, my younger peers are sometimes sharper and quicker in their detailed observations... but not generally. What I *may* lack in astonishing speed of understanding, I far more than make up for it when putting together the details I need and the strategy. Something about that overall comprehension I had to use as an executive that the younger folks lack.

This is likewise NOT a bash on my younger peers. I love being in school with them - they have accepted me openly as one of them, never guessing how old I am (le gasp) or that my son is their age (more le gasp) nor caring whether or not I get something immediately. Most of the time, they are asking ME for help in understanding those detailed issues and questions, and the subsequent strategy; not the reverse.

For those of you who wonder why some medical school would admit someone who is surely awaiting for death to show and take my soul leaving behind apparently a withered body, they would admit me for many reasons.

Some students who get into med school right at 22, leave the profession some 20 years later due to burnout. So, at 49 they are burnt out and leaving for administrative jobs vs. staying in the profession as physicians. Hmmm.... I plan on practicing until I'm in my 70s.... same duration, 20 years. Why wouldn't a med school admit me? Monetarily, I've already made more than most doctors, and the professors who teach them. With that old notion about how much investment a medical school makes in each med student, the water leaks out. I can already give back to the med school if that is the argument. I already have.

Some students, in fact most, have no interest in serving the rural communities, especially women who are catered to for their lack of apparent numbers in admissions. Take that women are less often going into medicine than men, a woman who actually wants to be in a rural setting, the age (le gasp) becomes even less meaningful. Twenty years of a rural physician is better than none. Further, those women who have door wide open for them are more often than not choosing the highly paid specialties rather than the lowly paid rural, or even metro, family physicians.

Some students who get into med school, for lack of a better word, lack compassion. They're darn smart, they ace tests, they can wiz-bang around a molecule like there is no tomorrow, but they can't empathize or relate to a patient. Their egos enter a door before their bodies. I had a doc like that once and dated another. Older students, replete with our bunny slippers, lost our egos to the bad rush of the business world and sociopaths that dwell there. Egos bashed and bruised are seldom recovered. We simply adapt and use that honed psyche to help others.

Some of us, despite our age (le gasp) even follow our passion and our dream. Hoping that unlike some shrill naysayers, that the door is opened and we are allowed a seat in a class.

So, I guess I will put away my bunny slippers and if the dark shadow darkens my door step carrying a scythe, I'll slap him upside the head and tell him to get a life and a clue - I'm not dead yet, nor am I close, despite my age (le gasp!).


rhonda said...

Awesome post! I hope I'm not going to be sentenced to some ugly bunny slippers waiting for the Grim Reaper...it's not high on my list of things to do.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thank you! Sometimes a naysayer gets under my skin...

I do like the bunny slippers, tho. Thinking maybe I could upgrade them to little pups or reindeer this year, add some flannel sweatpants, and a bon bon holder to the sofa :P

WordDoc said...

Up until this academic year, every med. student I've ever supervised has passed age 30 during our work together (a two year preceptorship, 1 afternoon each week, called Foundations in Doctoring). This year, a 20-something. Very nice young woman who twirls her hair nervously as she enters this first clinical situation. I think a 40-something would be a great joy to mentor!

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thank you, WD.

I look forward to the day. I just have to get "there".

Make it a great day!