For about .4 seconds in my life I wanted to be a doctor. Technically, it was longer than that. I started my second year of college thinking I should pursue pre-med. Then I went to Chemistry class. I sat there for the entire 50 minutes thinking, “I really don’t care about this.” It wasn’t the math, I could do the work; I just didn’t care. I went back to the second class and spent that entire class thinking the same thing, “I really couldn’t care less about this.” And decided to drop the class. The end goal (Dr.) was not worth being miserable all the way until I got there. So I switched and ended up with Sociology as my major—a much better choice.
Despite that, there are days I feel like I should have gone into medicine…mostly because I see a need to help people identify health problems. Knowing symptoms and treatments and issues is extremely helpful in working with people. Knowing that dementia-like symptoms are part of a urinary tract infection (UTI) for older adults is helpful. Knowing how a TIA manifests, or what treatments are necessary for angina, arrhythmia, and pneumonia is extremely useful. I am not a medical professional and I remind people of that all the time. Nevertheless, I find that when counseling in a hospital setting I need to explain or elaborate on what a doctor has said and medical knowledge is helpful.
I know there is much debate around CPE and whether or not it should be required of incoming pastors and I tend to fall on the side of mandatory. I had an amazing CPE experience, so that obviously influences my perspective, but in addition to that, there is so much to be learned in a hospital. Learning about medical procedures and symptoms is helpful. It’s nice to know what someone experiences when they have celulitis, or have to be intubated, or have diverticulitis. It’s nice not to be ignorant and asking a million questions but instead offering understanding and awareness for what they are going through.
I often wish I were a doctor, not for the notoriety or to have the title, but so I could have the wisdom and knowledge to help people get the help they need and to walk them through the expectations of surgery, recovery, and therapy.