It’s been almost 10 months now since I walked away from my job as a psychiatrist and so far so good but something happened this weekend that caused me to stop eating for a minute and think. Ah my two favourite activities, stuffing my face and turning a thought over and over until my head aches with the strain. There I was minding my own business, heading home after a day of poking about for cheap furniture when my old life reached out and smacked me in the face.
We were whizzing around a corner but somehow my brain immediately put it all together. Before I was fully aware of what was happening I asked my husband to stop the car and suddenly I was next to her. An all too familiar scene, a pale and shaking human being lying on the ground, covered by someone’s coat, blood all over her legs and panic all over her face, surrounded by a few worried strangers doing their best to help.
Cue former life autopilot mode with “je suis medecin”, “I’m a doctor”, a phrase as familiar to me as saying my name. The man at her side said she’d fallen off her bike. I determined that she was not seriously hurt, told her that she would be alright and then the ambulance arrived. I walked back to the car, we motored on and I thought nothing more of it.
Later that night I recalled that my husband had asked me as I was halfway out of the car if I was sure I wanted to get into this. I don’t think I answered him. As I saw it there was no choice. But now I’m not so sure. Did I really have any business being there? My response was so automatic, so mindless that I hadn’t even stopped to consider it. What if she’d been severely injured? Would I have instinctively known what to do or would I have forgotten the very basics already?
The point is a decision will need to be made about this doctoring business and it’s not a small one. After being away for a year or two it takes a lot of effort to get back in the game, studying, refreshing, sometimes even exams and approval by colleagues. Sure I’m too lazy to learn the bloody French pronouns, imagine me now with that mess. Even if I fell out of love with France and returned to civilization, would I go back to a life in medicine? I don’t know.
There’s no measure of how wonderful it is to help people when they need it the most but there is also no measure of the bullmerde that the business of medicine has become. I miss my patients and my co-workers but the system is a situation best coped with by sticking a fork in one’s eye. In July it will be a year since I resigned and I’ll have to decide one way or the other.
As I always say no one likes to jump unless they’ve got a soft place to land. For now I’ve decided to just keep on eating. That way no matter where I leap my fat arse will cushion the fall.
Tell me about your leaps…
Bobbi French is a regular contributor at Gypsy Girls Guide