Challenging Medical Authority?

Just a short little post this late morning! Recently, as I have been tapering more and more off of the steroids (corticosteroids, for those of you not readily familiar with “spoonie” terminology!) and I have had to deal with more and more dental and endodontic work, I have been thinking more and more seriously about what I might want to do WHEN I am capable of getting out in the world and going back to school. A medical “career” (i.e., being a MD or DO – nothing else would really do it for me, let’s be honest!) has always been something in which I have expressed and felt deep interest; in high school I was incredibly interested in Pharmacology as well as Molecular Biology … it is just that College / University kind of kicked that right out of me with my first semester’s Calculus class (I was literally, at that point, the only “humanities” person in the class – I had, at the time, “declared” Philosophy as my major and was seriously contemplating a secondary major in English; this has now reversed, and looking back, I simply wish I would have had better math teachers post-Algebra who had genuinely asked how I went from a near 100 average in Geometry/Trig to a low B in Pre-Calc and then Calc. At any rate!). I have even considered the possibilities of becoming a pharmacist as well as a PA.

Now that I have had to have ENOUGH endo work done, I have found a surprising interest in the field of endodontics. This is now something else I am considering. I figure the prerequisites for all of these programs are more or less the same, so if I can finish my degree utilizing these classes as “electives” while finishing my “mandatory” PHD-LEVEL ENGLISH COURSE + an English elective, I might as well do so!

However, this brings me to an interesting point about all medical professions – and one that we need to address as patients (this is probably yet another point in the medical education system that needs to be handled in a less specific manner – much like one has to be “good” at math and “GREAT” at the hard sciences – and no, last time I checked, biology was NOT a hard science). This is the fact that before matriculating into medical, dental, &c., school, one must have x hours of experience in said field. For example, dental schools – at least from what I have gathered in my very recent research – are looking for candidates with 200+ hours of clinical experience working with dentists, shadowing dentists or dental specialists, &c. (no, unfortunately, sitting in the chair for 200+ hours does not seem to count! hahaha – it DEFINITELY SHOULD! I guarantee I have learned more about dentistry and specifics, endodontics and specifics, and many medical specialties and specifics than most medical and dental school graduates!). This, however, brings me to the key point I am trying to make here – that we are ASSUMING kids at the age of 18-22 KNOW they WANT to be dentists, endodontists, rheumatoogists, cardiothoracic surgeons, &c. This is unrealistic at best. We know there are many situations that push kids to become doctors of some kind (family background – something I am running into more and more in the dental field, strangely enough, &c.) which is problematic in and of itself. However, regardless of the “underlying” reasons “kids” (and I say this with 100% conviction being that the average human brain is now estimated not to reach full maturity until the age of around 27+!) “decide” to attend medical / dental / &c. school, it seems quixotic and fanciful at best to assume ANYONE knows himself well enough to dedicate countless hundreds or thousands of hours to a profession before even knowing whether he or she can or cannot matriculate into medical / dental school. This is like asking an elementary school student to do 500+ hours of research on Philosophy if he or she plans on attending University and pursuing a BA/BS in Philosophy – it is just unrealistic and unpragmatic – and to me, the worst implication and real-life “side effect” of all of this is that it produces doctors whose hearts really aren’t in their professions (seriously, if you have done those hundreds of hours of work and have managed to make it into dental school and have now accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt … are you seriously going to go back and try to pursue a career in political science academically or go back to the drawing board and go to law school? I highly doubt it!). It very much seems like once those x hours of “shadowing” / “experience” are attained, one’s fate is more or less sealed. And to expect that even of a 22, 23, 24-year-old is JUVENILE OF THE ENTIRE PROCESS AND ITS PERPETUATORS!

More on that … and with any luck, with more coherence! – soon! I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day wherever you may be in the world! Take care!!!



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