Married to Medicine

Medicine is a jealous spouse.
It beckons you at all times of day and night, without end.
It pervades every action, every conversation, every thought, every decision, present and future.
It both builds and ruins relationships and can ask more of you than you ever thought possible.
Medicine is a jealous spouse, but doesn’t have to be yours.

Such statements sound so radical, so full of exaggeration, so utterly impossible.
I can hear the comments now….
“I would never let that happen to me.”
“I know who I value and would never let them down.”
“I would never forsake who I am and my loved ones for a job.”
“The ideal of success won’t trump those that truly matter.”
“I would never be married to medicine….”

So far throughout my medical career, the biggest piece of direct advice I’ve gotten, although easy to understand but harder to implement, was simply: “Don’t make medicine your spouse.”

Accomplishments, accolades, attending top hospitals in the nation—they par none to the main reason we decided to enter into the medical field: to pursue the principle of people first. We cannot forget the simple importance of nurturing and nourishing not only our patients, but also our family and ourselves. We cannot forget. We must not forget. We cannot make medicine our spouse.

We must remember where we find value in medicine and what we decide to take away as validation of our self-worth in the field. At the same time, we must find a way to find that value of being good enough in a way that doesn’t make medicine, or the pursuit of medicine, our spouse.
Is not the trust of our character to be showcased vulnerability to, the gentle hug from a patient, or the genuine thank you enough?
Is not the bandage on a simple wound, the basic response to a simple question from a mother, or the ability to guide a family that has no one else to turn to enough?
Is not the ability to maintain relationships and a family outside of medicine enough for us?

Or…is the desire to put our degree on a pedestal and ascertain our happiness and value from showcasing our wits and medical mastery the end goal each and every day?
Some would argue yes: “I got my degree for a reason—to put it into practice.”

Since when did medicine become a game of who could apply the most knowledge, who could see the most obscure pathologies, who could work late nights and long days just in an effort to show and tell to the world just how hard the job is?
Since when did medicine become anything more than about the well-being of the person across from us?
Since when did we make the ideal of medicine our spouse: trumping everything and everyone else?

Fulfillment in medicine should not be about the degree, the knowledge acquired, or the knowledge showcased day in and day out. Instead, it should be from the relationships that it’s allowed us to build and sustain. Sustenance, attentiveness, and constant growth especially are key.

It’s not always about the science. It’s about the relationships.

So, instead of letting medicine be your spouse, let it be your encouraging and supportive friend who helps guide you in pursuing a valuable and consistently fulfilling love: a love that encompasses your patient, your family, and ultimately, yourself.

 

Irina Geiculescu

Ethnically, 100% Romanian, and nationally, 100% American, I was born in Seneca, South Carolina and have lived in the Clemson/Easley area my whole life. I graduated with a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering, Materials Emphasis, from Clemson University. Athlete, scholar and former competitive pianist, I try to maintain a balanced mind, body and soul. I am ecstatic and blessed to be attending USCSOMG and to be part of the wonderful Class of 2020, beginning the journey that propelled me into medicine: pursuing the principle of people first.

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