Tuesday, March 16, 2010

PhD Programs - My PoV

Many years ago, when my youth made me think life was forever, I remember thinking about the MD-PhD program. I remember thinking I could drink all day and every night and still muster, somehow, the ability and intellect to pass classes with A's and get into med school.

Life's slap hurt!

Fast forward many years (counting all fingers and toes on normal homo sapiens and you'll get close), and my thinking on the MD-PhD path has not changed.

The physician in me has always loved working with body parts... bandaging fingers, mending toes, placing neosporin on oozing wounds, and birthing babies. About 24 years ago, I was present as a friend in early labor asked me to stay with her until it became unbearable. Hours passed, her husband was by her side as well, but when the labor became heavy, and the pain intolerable, she asked me to stay. I did.

My first "delivery" was a 13 lb healthy baby girl. Seriously, 13 lbs. I was amazed at many things and have now often thought I should write my old friend. The whole birthing process was fascinating and amazing.

The accident scenes upon which I've found myself entailed broken body parts, a lot of blood, gashed faces, embedded windshields and car roofs, and worse. I've found myself under the roof of a small car with a semi's cab on top of the vehicle with a human pinned inside. Holding the victim's head still enough until the rescue teams arrived, I was nonplussed by the blood, exhilarated by helping an individual out. Hopping in my truck and driving away thinking no one knew who I was save for the police (I always give my information just in case there is a question later - liability and all, I think I understand what I can help with and what I'm better leaving to others).

It has been my unwavering desire to help others in a clinical sense. The diagnostician in me wants to merge with the care-giver. The only way to do that is M.D. I'm not cut out for a nursing role as subservient is an adjective seldom, if ever, used with me. I need to diagnose, prescribe, direct, strategize, listen, and help. Yep, I need the control.

So, how does my avid interest in research get the fix? I don't know as an M.D. if I don't have the PhD behind it.

I'd always looked at the dual degree as a means to treat the patients for which I was hoping to work with - oncology - and do research on various treatments. Even today, I seem to look for, and find, ways to draw parallels. It seemed to me, that as a treating physician, I'd see many more parallels - and with a PhD, I'd be able to set up the testing, obtain the results, analyze, and then publish with the ultimate hope, of being able to save my own patients' lives.

But... I'm old now. At least too old for the MD-PhD program but NOT too old for either of them. I do plan on practicing until I'm 75 or 80. My own father is 80 and works almost 20 hours a week as the cute little carry-out grocer in the small town where he lives.

Not sure this post answered any questions. It's more of a brain dump of my head on the whole matter and a reticent look backward on my life and what I should have done years ago.

1 comment:

K said...

You're not too old for this. You're obviously dedicated.

How many years until you'd like to apply?