Medicine is a serious subject.
You spend the vast majority of your day dealing with life and death, or in my case, learning about horrible things which can kill you and your friends.
Or at least that’s what you tell your non-medic friends, who sit there and gawp at your stories of brazenly doing battle with death on a daily basis..from the comfort of a lecture theatre.
Me and my girlfriend have a bit of a joke about it, my response to pretty much everything about my course or what I did that day is “Oh, you know, just saving lives.”
I say it in a joking way, but in a way it is true, that is what we are being trained to do. I learned this week that it costs the NHS £250,000 to train each doctor. That is a mind-blowing amount of money, especially when you consider that in every year at my uni alone there are over 150 students. So they probably expect some sort of return on that. I wonder how many lives the NHS think we have to save in order for them to get their monies worth… NICE is all about value for money. My guess is about 12.. If I ever get a quota for number of lives I need to save I’ll let you know.
Anyway, I’m going off track. (While I’m off track, how cool is that picture?)
Last night was the annual medic Revue. This is a (very long) musical that is written, directed and performed by a group of medical students from across 3 years of the medical school. It’s fucking hilarious. It’s also highly inappropriate. Some of the jokes made about members of staff that were sat on the front row were incredibly insulting, but they took it in good taste and laughed along. There were a few subtle (very overt really) implications (they’re established facts) that a certain member of staff was steadily working their way through the female students. The way that this was portrayed nearly brought the house down. I thought I was having an asthma attack from laughing too much. It really amazes me how these guys have the time to write this thing from scratch on top of the vast amount of work they are also doing.
I won’t go through the plot as I’d prefer the blog not to be R rated, but suffice to say that it was raunchy. A friend (who saw it the day before) described it to me as: “Basically a male strip show that breaks out into some jokes and songs every now and again.” He was right. Alex (my wonderful girlfriend who is watching me write this bit) loved it. Despite not being able to relate to (or even know what some of the jokes were about), everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves.
So, this brings me to my point.
You have to have a laugh.
You have to be able to come home from a shit day in uni or in the hospital and have a laugh about things, or it will eat you up. There’s an episode of scrubs where JD (If you haven’t seen scrubs…we’re going to fall out) describes the hospital as a giant monster eating your life. It’s not the hospital, it’s medicine in general. Medics become so defined by being medics, by their duty to fight death and illness that sometimes we forget that you have to take a step back every once in a while to have some time for yourself and laugh at medicine, laugh at the ridiculous stories patients tell about how it ended up there, make a bit of a joke out of how little you actually know… or be brave enough to have a little cry about it as well. I imagine the crying bit will come in a few weeks when my exams roll round and I actually realise how little I know..
At the end of the day, if you don’t let yourself take a step back and have a day off, away from medicine, then it will eat you up. Medics are people too. So if you’re ever waiting in A&E or in your GP and you see the doctors (or the nurses) having a little chuckle; don’t be mad at them. They’re not deliberately wasting your time, they’re having a laugh to make their day easier. Chances are they’re not laughing at you either, unless you’ve told them that you slipped off the toilet seat…honest.