Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merely Human

It's awfully difficult many times to deal with everyday life. I'm an admitted control freak, OCD paranoid with perfectionist tendencies who is over and abundantly self-critical. I'm really beginning to think that I need to look into a more benign job option...

Reading Nurse K's recent post just brought the issue to mind yet again although it has been dwelling near the top of what is left of my mind for many weeks now. You know, I really love medicine. I love what I do and am constantly fascinated by the intricacies of the body and the things that we can attempt to do for it. I'm a questioner and spend a lot of time researching things; really too much because I tend to get sidetracked by something else interesting that has nothing to do with my original mission. In near constant battle with this side of my nature is the fatalistic side that wonders if anything I do really, truly makes a difference. Perhaps the kidney failure dog would have survived to live another day without my fluids or maybe the anesthetic reaction death would not have survived even without anesthesia... Who really knows the answers to these questions?

The first time that you make a mistake, no matter how minor, is brain-numbing, poo in your pants frightening. You live with the daily realization that you hold lives in your hands and a miscalculation or momentary lapse could be fatal (unless you are currently subscribing to the fatalistic point of view in which case nothing you do or don't do matters anyway). The first time that you make a mistake (or believe you've made a mistake) that resulted in death is 1,000,000 times worse. And, if you're dysfunctional like me, you beat yourself over it constantly unless you can 100% factually prove to yourself that you had not even a tiny little part in causing the death.

There is a rational side to my being that knows I (and everyone else on earth) am only human and that human beings will make mistakes; it's inevitable. The stronger side of my being always wins in that I blame myself and never let myself forget what an idiot I was (am). I was told recently by a good friend that I earned a DVM not a GOD degree and I know that is right and good advice but it really hasn't stopped me from being so critical.

I figure, logically, that I'm gonna have to find a better way of dealing with this problem soon or burnout will be the next step. That or I'm gonna have to find a benign job where I can still be happy with what I'm doing. I can picture it now, though; teaching English lit and screaming at the students when they're worried about a grade that it is not a life or death situation so grow up and deal with it. Or being a librarian and having a hard time coping with demands because I can't figure out why it's so bloody important. Besides, I don't think that my personality type (dysfunctional though it is) is cut out to be satisfied and complacent - with anything.

Darn. There's just no way to win, is there?


The Other Vet said...

I've had the same thoughts and I've come to the same conclusion: no way to win. Unless you can come up with a mentally challenging job that also doesn't affect anyone else... then you'd have a solution.

I like the "DVM degree not GOD degree" idea but try telling that to our clients. I feel like most of them believe we are supposed to be infallible. So much pressure.

Jono said...