Aug 2, 2007

You're a doctor, right?

That was the question my neighbor asked me as I stood at the door, clad in faux silk maroon yoga pants and a Carib t-shirt. The only way I could have looked less like a doctor is if I'd had a freshly lit crack pipe hanging out of the corner of my mouth.

"No... I'm a medical student."

My neighbor, who is an incredibly nice woman, presents the sliver in her hand; I do my best to remove and irrigate it, swab the injured finger with an alcohol prep pad, and apply a bandaid. "You're so gentle!" she exclaims.

Ha! So I got a patient... of course, I was more qualified to remove a sliver from her finger by virtue of having been EMT certed, since foreign-object removal has not been covered in histology, anatomy, or biochem.

Does that count as practicing medicine without a license? I have a certificate. I have many certificates. None of them proclaim me to be a doctor, but I have them, and that's what's important.

People don't seem to quite know what to make of "medical student", and I'm wondering if this is a common problem. Most of the hospital personnel just assumes I have *way* more experience than I actually do, likely thinking I'm in my 3rd or 4th year medical rotations, unless, of course, the anesthesiologist drills me on basic anatomy in front of them. Heh heh.

Now, the assumption that I am a doctor, while really really strange, since I don't feel anywhere near that, bothers me the least because it makes me feel all big and important, though also scared to death because people want me to do stuff, like not be stupid. When it comes to pre-docs, a lot of people seem to think that once you enter medical school you... you know, know something. What they don't seem to realize is that trusting their health to someone with half a year of basic sciences is virtually identical to running up to a freshmen physiology major and asking them the same... But no. Med school equals doctor knowledge. Maybe still requiring a supervisor, but competent. And my perspective is "dude... I'm still afraid to TOUCH you for fear that in my new baby-not-a-doc roll, I may break something off, or worse, get yelled at by the kind surgeon who's agreed to babysit me for the summer... and I say the word 'dude'! Come on, now!"

What I do mind are the girl=nurse ones. Nursing is an admirable profession, but if a woman says "I'm going to medical school", especially when she adds "in the Caribbean" should not be an invitation to chirp "Oh! You're going to be a nurse???" No... because then I'd be going to *nursing* school, wouldn't I? That's why the names are different. And I feel that nagging feminism sensation rise up when I think "If I were a guy who said I was going to medical school, people would think 'doctor'"... and then I think "I'd better get used to that, because people will assume that I'm a nurse even ONCE I'm a doctor and some jackholes will even completely refuse to be treated by me and my evil ovaries, and then I will exploit the other direction of sexist assumptions and force them to buy me free drinks, fix my plumbing, and tune up my car."

And that makes me feel better, because if you haven't figured this out already, I'm enormously petty...

In other news, while microsomal cytochrome P450 liver enzymes may not be as boring as say, the stock exchange, cricket, or tournament golf, except for the part where tylenol kills alcoholics, it's pretty high on the list of "things that make Ishie go comatose".

Bed time!

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