As a kid, I remember being asked this question constantly: what do you want to be when you grow up?
If you had asked me before the age of 9, I would have told you I wanted to be a nurse. My mother is a nurse, her mother was a nurse and if you’re lucky enough to have me like you, I have killer bedside manner. One Valentine’s Day, I blew off the guy I was seeing in order to bring my ill friend DVDs, DayQuil and tea. When I studied abroad, I would frequently provide my flatmate with tea or juice or toast as he sat in our kitchen, nursing a hangover (Sidenote: if anyone should be a nurse, it’s my friend Megan. One time I was dying of a hangover and she came to my room with plain pasta and tea. To this day every time I visit her she will bring me tea in bed after a night out. Megs is the real MVP).
If you had asked me my sophomore year of high school, I would have said surgeon, because I started watching Grey’s Anatomy. Being a surgical intern looked like fun – especially if your attending is Patrick Dempsey. I would sit in my Honours Biology class, waiting to move on from the reproduction of cells to the actual human body. Spoiler alert – we never did which made me hate the class. Also, I took Honours Bio specifically because we didn’t have to dissect foetal pigs, which probably should have been a huge indicator to me that I was not meant to slice and dice actual living people. I would watch Grey’s every Thursday night, fascinated by the different extreme cases and like my first name twin, Meredith Grey, I wanted to be in an OR. I stopped watching around season five (Shonda – you can’t bring back a dead character, it just doesn’t work) and when I stopped watching Grey’s, my desire to be a surgeon totally waned.
Now, I know I’m not meant to have a profession in the medical world. Why?
Because I think 99% of medical stuff is gross.
I restarted watching Grey’s Anatomy after my best friend from high school and I impulse bought $10 scrubs from Walmart (and then when we were walking home, there was a car accident and we kept hiding from the EMTs because we didn’t want people to ask us for help when neither one of us are medically trained). Pulling on a pair of scrubs seriously made me reconsider my English degree because they are the most comfortable pieces of fabric ever. Rocking the light blue á la Meredith Grey had me wanting to check pulses, take temperatures and show off for my resident during rounds.
But then the reality of it hits me. I have to watch all the crucial surgery parts through my fingers and they aren’t even real. I am a sympathy puker. I get nauseated so easily and I dry heave excessively. I don’t handle bad smells. I can’t stand needles. I don’t do bodily fluids or, um, excrement, very well at all. If I don’t get at least 7 hours of sleep, I get migraines and excessively grumpy. And that excessive irritability would kill the kick ass bedside manner I am so proud of.
Long story short, I was not cut out to be a doctor or a nurse. I am incredibly grateful for those who can handle that profession (I just went under two weeks ago with zero complications, I did not wake up in the OR like this one little girl on Grey’s Anatomy). My best friend is in her second year of med school and I know she’ll make a fantastic doctor (pretty sure she’s looking into the OB-GYN field and more props to her). And I am glad that there will be people there in their scrubs making sure that I am healthy.
I’ll just keep the scrubs without actually having to stick my hands inside of a person, thanks.