22 July 2007

Pre-Life Crisis

28 May 2008 Update: The UK dream is on the back burner these days. Because at that time I didn't fully understand the Foundation Program. Also, I've already been to the States and my (admittedly frightened) opinion of it has changed.

I now interrupt the steady flow of food from my table for a rant/ call for advice. I know usually the answer to such questions about what to do with the rest of your life is "Do what you want! Follow your heart!" But I guess I wanted to really hear it from somebody or maybe somebody has some other advice to offer.

I don't know where I should continue practicing medicine.
My friends who've listened to me know I initially wanted to practice in the UK. Despite the fact that I'll be essentially a government employee and I'll be whisked away to a place where I don't have any relatives to live with and the cost of living is so high, it's still a dream-- THE dream of mine. The land is nice, the people are nice, the corresponding salary should be okay, and I get to live somewhere I find interesting and a gateway to other places I absolutely love. Do hospitals have living quarters for their employees? Well, regardless of whether I do that or live in a boarding house (I think that's the best my family can afford till I actually earn enough to live on my own-- if we can afford to send me to the UK at all), I still probably wouldn't have an oven to play with.

The other popular choice for doctors who aren't staying is to go to the States. The cost of the exam is prohibitive (let's not even talk about being accepted), but I have a few relatives living here and there, not that they live anywhere where I would want to work. I've never been to the States but I'm not terribly interested, plus I shudder at the thought of being a victim of a well-thriving culture of racism. Some people may think I'm being paranoid but for a short(-ish) Asian guy, the fear is real. The cost of living is still expensive, though not as expensive as the UK. Maybe my family can afford that, but I do feel guilty about using up so much of our resources.

The third option is to stay here. The Philippine General Hospital is a great training hospital and you would be able to see cases most doctors aren't fortunate enough to deal with. But-- I don't want to go there anymore. No offense to the people who work there and to the people who want to serve the underserved, but I feel trapped and suffocated there. The plus side of being here is that everything is convenient-- I still have my own house, my family would be a stone's throw away, I could probably rent a decent apartment, I can cook whatever and whenever I want, and I wouldn't ever have to worry about the cost of living or freezing my ass off in some foreign land because I don't know how to work the gas. But it's more of the same. I'm not sure I can take more of the helplessness and boredom. Cooking and talking with my international friends is great, but it only leaves me wanting more adventure.

I've thought about working here for a while and saving money, but getting P13,000 ($290 or £130) a month-- minus the costs of being a doctor to people with no insurance and the cost of living-- might not get me far once I'm done. Plus, I'm not getting any younger. Yes, all this at the tender age of 25.

My friends are all busy, like me, studying for the licensure exams, so I couldn't bother them with my major life decisions. I just thought I'd feel better writing them down.

Sorry to be such a downer. Anyway, Stay tuned for more food, plus (crossing my fingers) a major dessert-o-rama in August.

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