Friday, October 20, 2006

Medicine's Water

There is a such thing as Transporter's High. I discovered it unwittingly when we were seriously really busy and I must've done ten transports back-to-back which is actually rare considering there are six of us on day shift. Transporter's High is equivalent to runner's high. The biological mechanism is probably the same: the excercise and the adrenaline rush plus the need to block muscle pain causes the release of endorphins. I got the feeling I could work for two straight shifts. Of course, this feeling didn't last the whole shift, just for maybe like 20 minutes or so.

It also gave me an understanding as to why many doctors and medical students and probably anyone in the medical profession can get sucked into this world of medicine and forget what's 'outside.' Working in a hospital feeds a person. For me, it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. Aside from te paycheck, I get to see patients that have been there a while, help them get better by taking them to procedures, and also, I can be there for a patient when he or she just needs to talk about how their stay at the hospital is going. There are bad days and bad moments too, but the good stuff keeps me going. Hospitals have their own life, their own structure, their own language. Once I began to work inside the one I'm in, I could feel it start to become a part of me and I a part of it. I could get poetic and say something like: The blood that's in it's people is in me and the pains they feel are the pains I feel and the oxygen that's being given to them is the air I breathe - but I'm not that far gone - yet hahahaha!

But what does the hospital give me besides patient interaction and a community? What does it give all medical professionals, but especially doctors and medical students? A higher purpose. Status. Something to watch over, and yes, even someone watching over them (Hospital administrators, regulators, HMO's, etc.) In the hospital, a doctor has nearly the whole staff at her feet: people to run the tests she orders, other doctors to do her sugery she requests, nurses to care for her patients, and even pipsqueak transporters like me that take said patients to their exams and procedures.

A few days ago, I was reading John 4 where Jesus talks about Himself being living water. The medical environment can be the 'water' that sustains people - ok, me if I go to medical school and so on and so forth (God willing), or God Himself can. If I let the medical environment consume me, then I would be satisfied. At least for a while. But if the healthcare system gets so unfunctional, it's more of a hassle for all of us, and if patients aren't improving like I would want them to, then it would be consuming but also draining. If I loose a patient, it would be even harder to deal with. Medicine can let people down. Medicine has let me down before. Therefore,
medicine can't be that life that consumes me. This does not mean that I can't be a doctor. But I have to be something greater. My life has to take on more meaning
beyond the hospital doors.

Enter the Creator of the universe, the Great Physician. Jesus Christ. If it is His Blood that sustains me, His living water that runs through me and fills me primarily, medicine can be an even more joy since I will walk in His steps and emulate His ways - of course all with His help!!! He can fill the gaps that medicine leaves open: The patient that gets worse, He can comfort, the patient that dies He may receive. He is the patience I need to deal with complaining co-workers and patients, snappy nurses, and later on, the patience and humility I must continue to have if He allows me to be a doctor. He is the comfort I need when I am pretty sure a patient I have transported a few times has died, and the comfort I'll need in the future should I have to actually pronounce a patient dead. He is the One whom I give thanks to when I see a patient improve, and the One whom I'll give credit to when a patient may later thank me for helping him or her recover. If medicine is the life physicians and other members of the medical community draw from to sustain themselves, Jesus Christ is that true Water they truly seek.