Home > Uncategorized > The Grass was greener on the other side

The Grass was greener on the other side

Originally uploaded by EDWARD DULLARD


From time to time over in SDN land, the Student Doctor Network, I get questioned and even accused of being a depressed person and that the problem was with me and not with our current flawless healthcare system which the rest of the world should strive to emulate.  Here was my response that I posted in an attempt to address these misconceptions.

“I wouldn’t say I am a depressed person, far from it. In fact, I believe we live in an amazing world with so many incredible opportunities and it depresses me to think I am missing out on so much being married to healthcare. A marriage gone terribly bad and I want a divorce. In fact, I believe this “funk” I am in is entirely environmentally induced.

How do I know this? In between switching specialties, I had a year off where I had taken a job in a very different career- one in which I always yearned to try. I didn’t do “research” nor did I do a prelim year so I wouldn’t lose my skills as some recommended. What the **** is that anyway???? I had this time away and I was going to make the most of it. Let’s just say I felt like a caged bird released into the wild. A year out of medicine reminded me how good life could be when you had time to embrace it. I had an incredible year- more than I would’ve ever expected. I LOVED waking up every morning and going to work- imagine that? In fact, it didn’t even feel like work at all. I felt respected, appreciated, and actually felt like I was making a difference in the lives of others. My stress level went from like an 11 down to a 1. The hours were to die for- 35-40 hr weeks, no weekends ever, no call (huh? what is that?), no pager going off in the middle of the night, no getting stuck to god knows when each and every day, no dreading monday mornings anymore, no fear of getting sued, no “I am mightier than God” attitudes or malignant personalities to contend with, oh and i could call in sick without feeling like I committed murder. I could go and on. My very best day as a resident didn’t even come close to my very worst day that whole year. And that is the God honest truth.

Maybe that is why I am having such a hard time. There are others who want out of medicine but don’t have the courage to do it or simply don’t know what else they would want to do so they just stick it out and go through the motions. But I know exactly what I would do. I find myself constantly comparing my life now to what it was like then. We have all heard of the saying that the “grass isn’t always greener on the other side”. I sometimes think people say that just to make themselves feel better over their current dire situation. But let me tell you, the grass WAS truly greener on the other side- as green as the greenest grass in all of Ireland. I hope to return one day.”

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 27, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I’m experiencing much the same feelings as you are. All my life I wanted to be a doctor, and now that I am, daily I ask myself “what was I thinking?” There is no personal satisfaction, no warm fuzzies from “helping people” – just constant demands that must be met, from patients, nurses, attendings and worst of all, government agencies. Nobody gives a rat’s a$$ if I eat, sleep or have a chance to use the restroom. The human rights crowd calls it torture when the military wakes up a suspected Al Queada operative every 30 minutes during the night to get information about an upcoming terrorist attack. But it’s perfectly acceptable to wake a doctor up every 30 minutes, often for non-urgent calls for things like sleeping pills, tylenol, expired narcotic orders, nurses needing orders to extend an IV for another 24 hours, or a vascular surgery consult for a “pulseless” extremity because the IM attending in admitting his pt doesn’t know how to doppler a pulse. I’ve had it. I want out but am held hostage by my student loans.

    I didn’t get fed up until I took a lab year. Didn’t enjoy the lab year that much, except for the feeling of having a life. Then I went back to residency and lost my life and was miserable. I’m currently in transition, been working a per diem moonlighting type job but hours on that are drying up. So back to residency I must go in July to retrain in something friendlier so that I can pay off those dang student loans!

  2. medicinesux
    November 27, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Part of the reason I write this blog is because I realize that there are many people out there like us who are also asking “what was I thinking?” I get messages all the time from residents and new attendings who are frustrated for being “trapped” in such a broken system that relentlessly beats one down. I agree that the student loans are definitely “golden handcuffs” that keep many of us from defecting to greener pastures. Almost feels like communism.

  3. Anonymous
    June 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    What was the career you yearned to try? I ask because I have never a job where I loved waking up in the morning to go to it.

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