I took a jog to clear my head one day and it turned out to be a completely life-changing outing. I was trotting along like I’d done a hundred times before, when I came across a fallen cyclist who was barely conscious, bleeding, and in obvious distress. Without flinching, I took action, calling 911, then keeping him conscious and stable until the medics arrived. During this traumatic moment in this individual’s life, my focus was entirely on him, but little did I know this moment was also very much about me.
Looking back, I see now that the signs and arrows pointed to emergency medicine all along, I just never put it together until I finally experienced it first hand. I always wanted to do something dynamic, something exciting, something that would rev up my adrenaline, because I’m cool under pressure and I’m stimulated by rapidly-changing situations. I’ve been seeking that rush my whole life.
The problem with growing up privileged is that while all possibilities were literally open to me, I wasn’t exposed to people’s hardships and struggles. There were no situations requiring me to truly help someone and I was missing out on the feeling that comes from making a difference for other people. Once I finally experienced that feeling, I was hooked. It was like I awakened a piece of myself that had always been dormant inside me. I also felt relieved and elated that something so perfectly aligned with my core identity exists in this world as a profession.
Now, everything makes sense. The emergency room is such a natural fit for me that I can’t even believe I ever spent a day in a Wall Street cubicle. My experiences in ER have merged with that long-past jogging incident to solidify my confidence even more. Watching my mentor make the critical decision to perform an emergency tracheostomy on a pregnant teenager when her vitals were crashing and the rest of the team seemed frozen in uncertainty, I realized he and I had much more in common than playing on the same lacrosse team. It takes a certain type of person and he was it, and I was able to completely relate to him.
I’m physically and emotionally fit for the demands of emergency medicine. I have the temperament, the stamina, and the mental agility required to not only thrive, but to lead in this environment. I’ve proven to myself over and over that I am excellent at not only quickly assessing the proper course of action, but also at quickly getting buy-in from patients, reaching them and resonating, gaining their trust at a time when they are anything but calm.
All of it appeals to me; the procedures, the team structure, the pace, and the oh so human element of every single case.
It has all come together for me and I feel a sense of belonging that I’d never known before. They say hindsight’s 20/20 and it’s true. I didn’t always know I wanted to be an emergency room physician, but I should have. The important thing is that I know now.
Let’s do this.