A path diverted by fear

I am sitting in the empty operation theatre and pondering over the direction which my life has taken.

Nearly 30 years ago, I joined medicine feeling a sense of pride, knowing that I was doing the right thing. I was meant to be a doctor; I remember wanting to be a doctor, throughout my life, from age 4. My school, college, and undergrad days had 90%studies + 10% fun. There was always a sense of responsibility. There was always a clear sense of direction. I knew how much my parents were sacrificing to pay for the fees. I felt their prayers, their blessings. All they ever wanted was for me to become a good doctor. So my first priority was always my studies.

Undergrad was soon followed by postgrad, where work was high and sleep minimal, I gave it my best shot, in order to gain as much experience as possible. During the training, I slept on mattresses filled with bed bugs, food was pathetic in the canteen, lunch and dinner timings were unknown. I was lucky if I got to either one. I don’t remember having a personal life on those days, just work and home. After the 48 hours on-call days, going home was a bliss, but I used to be so damn tired. I remember sleeping in the bus, till I reached my stop. The driver and the bus employees soon got to know me, and they were kind enough to wake me up, closer to home.  

The years sped by. I only remember working, giving 100% to all my patients. I don’t remember, even a single episode when I have not stayed back at the hospital till the patient recovered from all the complications. I have spent 20 years of my life as a free lancing anaesthesiologist, never ever worried about my financial stability. My policy was always, (I still follow it) do good to patients, at all costs, the rest would follow. I believed, good always follows good. Till I came face to face with the reality of the situation… 

Now violence is prevalent at every nook and crany of a doctor’s life. Doctors get threatening calls, they are exhorted for money by hooligans and politicians alike. If the patient dies of complications, then the nursing home or hospital is vandalised, doctors are beaten black and blue. Female doctors are threatened with rape. Power-makers are unsympathetic to our condition and our fear. The police do not think twice to arrest us just on a complaint of an unknown relative of patient. We are given no time to defend ourselves. We are sentenced without a defense, without a chance to put forth our points in the media. Movies, plays, YouTube videos, enjoy their popularity and days of glamor by criticising us. 

But all of us are not alike. By generalising and crucifying doctors, am I just paying the price for a few bad ones? Am I just a collateral damage?? 

With the threat of death, with the threat of violence and abuse, do you think I can give my all to my work?  I still have pride in my work, but it comes at a very high price nowadays, it does not give me mental peace anymore. 

I have spent nearly three-fourths of my life, in the hallways of the hospital, the operation theatre being my second home. Yet today, it has become the place where I am most scared.

I do know that there are good and bad doctors, just like in any other profession. I have undergone surgery which has been botched up by a doctor. So I really do understand. But to coat all of us in the same color is unfair. To threaten us with violence is unfair. I became a doctor to do good, at the same time, to earn an honest living.

But, now I think, it’s time to move forward. The most noble profession  has become ignoble. Whoever or whatever is the root cause of it, I don’t even want to know or debate on. 

All I do know is, I can’t work where there is fear, fear for my life, fear for my mental peace. How will I ever be able to save a life in this state? 

I think it will soon be the time to bid goodbye to the childhood dream, I worked hard to fulfil it. But now it is just too difficult. So I have to, yet again, take a decision of starting life anew, of looking at life in a different way, of finding something else I would love to do. 

Maybe it’s a good thing… But it’s a sad thing too… To bid goodbye to all that I ever wanted to be… To bid goodbye to all that I was… To bid goodbye to all that I thought I would always be…

            My first love, my first toy

Doctors are human, it is high time that humanity treated us humanely…

            (all pics credit : pixabay) 

208 thoughts on “A path diverted by fear

  1. Oh my god, this just broke my heart . . . Iโ€™ve heard stuff about the pathetic condition of doctors, I never knew itโ€™d be this bad . . . Doctors SHOULD be given respect! They work tirelessly and selflessly just for fellow mankindโ€™s welfare!
    I wanted to be a doctor too, when I was small. But as I grow up I realised that it was something that was not for me (and Iโ€™m not smart enough). Though Iโ€™m quite interested in biotechnology and genetics. Still, Iโ€™m only 13 and like every other kid my age, try my best to be in blissful ignorance of the future until 9th and 10th grade comes.๐Ÿ™‚
    Wish you best of luck for the future, Shalini! I hope the condition of doctors improve significantly . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aah, Shreya, you are so mature and understanding for a 13 year old. I am quite impressed. Most people should learn from. Hats off to you, girl. The world needs more humans like you.
      And no girl, it is going to be very bad in the next few years because now politicians have taken over the medical council. So I don’t see a light in this dark tunnel. Maybe one day… Decades from now… It might be better.
      You concentrate on studies as well as goodness of life. Let me know if I can help you in any way. Always there with you

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was where you are. Not because of such violent nature of other people but simply because the dramatics were spilling over into my personal life and I was tired of not having a work life balance. So, I gave up a career in something I absolutely loved and took my life in a different direction. It sucked but a year later, I can say it was a very good decision to make. You’ll get to that point. You’ll find moments where you’re mourning your old job too but it’ll pass and maybe one day you can go back to it when it’s less dangerous and stressful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you understood. I really wish I knew what I am good at. They say the beauty is in the journey… But when there are financial responsibilities, the destination is what I have to keep in mind. Thank you so much for your words of support. Part of me, in fact a lot of me is sad. But I can’t live in fear anymore…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can tell you right now, you’re good at more than you think you would be. Trust me when I say this. I went from a high labor job to an office position that I was positive I would fail at. Turns out I have more determination than I gave myself credit for and I try to always excel at everything I do so it ended up coming naturally once I found my groove. You’re strong. I believe in you girly.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s the same all over India. Politicians have taken over our medical council now. I don’t see a way out in India… It will take years for things to improve. Kids have stopped opting for the medical profession now, Shannon

        Like

      2. Terrible! I can imagine how can anyone envision and study for such an unstable future. Especially when ones intent is to save lives. As I said, I pray for you and your profession and I hope whatever you decide makes you happy.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I know what exactly happening to you. I have been working in hospitals, I have seen at least 1/2 dozen such incidents you described. When I was young I never wanted to be a doctor even though my parents wanted me to be one. Somehow became an engineer. Finally ended up here in a hospital environment. Nowadays I have an urge to become a doctor :D. I wished that I should have been the one repairing people instead of a software or a computer hardware. Well, other side of mountain is always…. blah… ๐Ÿ™‚
    Now that you are very experienced why not slow down? Don’t stop it altogether, but slow it down. Put your attention to something else which you love, such as travel or take part in other activities. One need not go at the same pace throughout. Well, thats what I did. Life is much more than work, in fact, the goal of life should not be work at all.
    But keep that in mind, still, doctors are better-paid people when compared with other professions. Only thing is doctors needs set limits. Know when to say “no”. If you can do it I think you can still continue.. don’t waste your experience, that’s priceless Shalini.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Raj, I am already in private practice, I am already in the slow lane. I am not in the corporate hospital. In nursing home practice, there is nothing like well paid. When 10 men surrounded me to fight because the patient had a complication, believe me, Raj, then there is only blind panic, and survival. This has happened recently.
      Would you still say the same??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm… I think small private hospitals are the victims here. Our is a 1000 bedded hospital still we couldn’t prevent the mob from kidnapping the doctor! I know what you are saying, the mob mentality is growing day by day here. People just become animals in a fraction of time…unfortunately. .. you take care Shalini.. I dont want to say much, its sad..

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Life is much more than work. I wish the bills which come, the financial responsibilities I have, understood that.
      I never worked at a fast pace, because I believe in quality over quantity. Yet when I am threatened by patients, then experience does not matter

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had a preview of this in our chat yesterday, but seeing the words come to life in one entire post makes me even more livid over the situation. It should be simple. You save people’s lives. You help them. Accidents occasionally happen and fate intervenes to make decisions you have no control over. You, or any doctor, should never be punished, unless you intentionally did something wrong — which is clearly not the case in everything you’ve mentioned. The world is unfair place, and it’s sad and unfortunate. I’ve always believed the good outweigh the bad, and depending on the location, sometimes it’s a lot more; others, it is a bare margin. It’s reality… that said…

    You know you are intelligent, caring and honest. You have many talents. Life is a journey, not a direct line from start to end. Maybe trying to understand what it is you felt passion for as a doctor can help you decide a next career, if you choose to move on. While I am not pushing in either direction (stay or leave the profession), I am suggesting you pull together a list of all the things you enjoyed about this job (some are above) and how it made you feel. Then see what other careers might cultivate the same level of passions. Rather than go directly to “I could also be a ____ role.” Figure out what the end products are in how you feel, e.g. helping people is significant for you, but does it have to be in a health field?

    Just things to think about. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I understand totally. And I am so happy that you get me… I do want to know more about me, as I spent my life only in medicine. Now I do want to fly, I don’t believe medicine is my only love. But I feel sad at the state it has come to in India. Threatening with violence and abuse – how does it help anyone. Kids have stopped to opt for medicine.
      Thank you so much for seeing so much goodness in me. I just went back to the beginning of studies, these were just memories, which came as I was sitting in the operation theatre.
      BUT I CAN’T WORK IN FEAR – that’s the simple basic thing that hurts me…
      You do know I want to explore. Because I don’t know what I can do… I have never looked into myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is indeed a different post from your usual ones. Sometimes is sad to say goodbye to things that you been loved your entire life but hey I look in this way “It was meant to be” – I left my previous Job one year ago, a Job I thought I was going to take up to the crest but something along the way changed, I don’t regret. I am sure there is a better place waiting for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I agree with James above, you have huge talent and experience Shalini. You could benefit from some time out…travel…check out temporary positions? Have you considered the teaching side? I wish you the best! Life is too short to live in fear. X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is really a heart breaking post. I have several friends who are doctors in various countries and they all face challenges of some sort but nothing like what you are going through. I know the kind of sacrifice medical students and young doctors make. It’s not right for you to be in this position now. I hope you are able to find an answer to your problem, one that will make you eager to move forward and not look back with too much sadness. Is Doctors Without Borders something feasible for you?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Iโ€™m doing okay-ish.

        Bruised my arm up this weekโ€”reached into the dryer for a shirt and didnโ€™t realize the dryer didnโ€™t turn off when I opened the door. The drum caught my arm up…

        And I came down with strep. But, my arm isnโ€™t broken and my throat is feeling a lot better.

        Wow, that was a long reply for your question ๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh that dryer thing has caused many a person, a broken arm. Please be careful. Take adequate rest. The muscles require rest to be ok completely.
        Strep is tiresome, antibiotics do the trick, but lot of weakness. So plenty of fruits and vegetables and fluids. Especially warm water.
        Wow… You are really happening

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh….shalini… itโ€™s true that one cannot continue in fear…but at the same time can you live without that passion which was there with you since your childhood… is there no work around?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Akhila, India being what it is now. Doctors have become soft targets. Who can work when there is a threat of violence and abuse. Passion decreases in the face of negativity and fear.
      That’s so sweet of you to read and comment. I liked your understanding and support

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I went through the sister link and found the post and commented on it. I too use the mobile app. I think there is no exclusive reblog button on the mobile app

        Like

  9. This is very emotional, I’ve been very ignorant when it comes to Doctors condition, i never thought they had challenges like these. I’ve heard my Doctor talking about having an honest living is what kept her going, but i didn’t even think that you guys are going through so much pain.
    I remember i wanted to be a doctor when i was child and my parents couldn’t afford any tertiary cost hence i had to work and study part time and pay for my studies, that is why my dreams of being a doctor where shattered. your story on the other hand has took me back to the days when it was work and studies for me, i used to have little time for everything. but now it sad if you have to go through all that and still don’t get peace and comfort after all the sacrifices.
    I hope you find something better, something that will help you to be at peace, also financial stability but mostly something that you will enjoy as well.

    thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have stringed your words so beautifully in this post. Very rightly said. I am so glad you could see and understand the feelings behind this post.
      I suppose life is like this, in all aspects. Ups and downs. Fear in the life of good doctors is scary, but I have to move forward to find my peace

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi again, you did good back then, you will do good now and in future, the hardships you face will present in all the aspects of life, you have to determine which way you want to move while keeping living in that direction with hope, love and strength which you do not lack.
    As I have mentioned several times, you are a self sufficient woman. You will do good anywhere you want, good luck for everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, Sri… Thank you so much for these beautiful comments and words of encouragement. Sometimes words of a friend are a great booster, when morale is down. Thank you once again

      Like

      1. I hadn’t checked the site because it loads super slow for me here & though I get a lot of responses from it my own site is also taking off quickly, so I can’t wait all that time all those times! So I rely on these notifications. I’m glad you checked in — good to know the reblogged made it in okay — and thank you for the thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Shalini,
    excuse me, i lost contact for some days. Sounds not very funny. OMG, yes medicine isnt as easy as itrs looking for. I am always shocked seen blood. Thats enough for me. Must be horrible seeing this every hour of the day. Thank you for your efforts on helping so much people, is actually all i can write. Hope you will find the best way fullfilling your life. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, I see what you mean. That is shocking, but even here, I’ve never understood this thing of suing doctors for compensation because things went wrong. If they tried their best, the best is what you got.
    Peace to you, big hugs โ˜บ๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww… Thank you so much, Simon. I appreciate it.
      But throughout my life, I have only thought about medicine. Now it is time, I see if I have any other talents. I started the blog to see if I could write… Sometimes I can. Let’s see what life brings me…

      Like

      1. You’re welcome Shalini.

        Of course your have other talents, your just haven’t discovered them yet and if you can write sometimes then keep at it until you can write lots โ˜บ๏ธ

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’ll have to have a look if you visit my page.
        I like my creative side and I’m sure you have it. You don’t like writing or you don’t think you’re much good?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If you write when emotions hit then it’s about your creative release. It doesn’t matter what you think and especially what others think.
        I’ll have to have a peek but you’re probably better than you think so don’t give yourself a hard time โ˜บ๏ธ

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haha… I write and I forget. A couple of them are a little dark.. Sometimes Pandora’s box shouldn’t be opened.. And I opened it once. Since then, not gone back to reading my older words. They are under the category ‘musings’
        Some of the pieces are cathartic…

        Like

      5. Yea maybe… Sometimes a bit too much…
        On one of the darker words, a man said congratulations, so I was left flabbergasted at the comment on my inner pain… I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry

        Like

      6. Hahaha… I don’t mind that… But telling me congratulations on a post which says darkness was a bit off, don’t you think??
        We can’t read 1000+ posts… But we can definitely be careful about the comments. But these are very young newbie bloggers who don’t think before they talk.

        Like

      7. Hahaha… I hope it was a compliment. I am like this only with certain people I am comfortable with. Depends on the vibes given.
        I have been blogging since less than 8months 31st May was my first post I think.
        What about you

        Like

      8. If course it was… How could I be nasty to you? โ˜บ๏ธ
        It’s nice that you feel comfortable with me, thank you.
        I’ve been blogging nearly 5 years although at first I didn’t blog much.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Nahhh… Too moody… And I get bored fast, stupid people bore me (not that I am intelligent, people more stupid than me bore me) so it becomes a teeny tiny thing ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ™ƒ

        Like

      10. Huhhh… Emotional?? Sarky ??? I don’t do those… ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ have you got me confused with someone else??
        I just probably would not be so wordy.. That’s it

        Like

  13. Every field is having its own issue . I can’t feel your pain as I am not in your shoes but I understand how horrible it is for you leaving something you love because of some external factors .good luck with your new profession. Hope u find peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aah… Thank you.. Heartfelt gratitude to read my post… These words came to me when I was at work after the surgery… To realize what had happened to my passion and my profession…
      But life has to go on. Time to discover new passions… New life…

      Liked by 2 people

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