I've always loved donning the white coat and seeing patients, walking the hospital hallways and holding the charts. So returning for three more years of punishment, sleepless nights, stress and torment in an Adult Cardiology Fellowship was just about right for me.
For those not in the medical field, after four years of medical school, and a life-changing board exam, comes residency in specialty field of choice. After that comes another certifying exam then onto a fellowship into a subspecialty in the field you originally specialized in. Then comes another exam and sub-sub-specialization, you get the drift. It is a long and arduous process that does not come with the wealth and prestige most people think doctors have. But rather a long road of training, reading books, examinations, sleepless nights and tears that others don't seem to get.
But I do this because I love the work. I love being with patients.
In my interviews for my neurology and cardiology applications, a staple answer I gave when asked why I chose these particular fields, was that I love puzzles and I love to figure them out, and I love working with people and talking to them and building rapport and working relationships. Thus, I always pictured myself forging on in medicine -- through residency, fellowship and subsequent studies to be the best doctor I could possibly be.
It's not about the money -- never was and never will be. But being compensated enough to be able to have my family and I live comfortably is the goal.
Fellowship is an acquired taste and is not for everybody. Right now, I have to contend with residents lost in the nature of their job (I'd like to think I wasn't that hopeless when I first started out), more responsibility and specialized books to read, and not to mention all the intrahospital and intraspecialty politics that doctors have to deal with.
So here I go again, another 3 years of echocardiograms, angiograms, CABG's, ECG's and angioplasties.
All in the hopes that at the end of it all, I'd be more confident in seeing you come through the clinic doors as my patient and having you walk out the same way, feeling a wee bit better for having seen your friendly neighborhood cardiologist.