My childhood friend Dr. Matthew Boente has been working in medicine for over 30 years and through that time I have come to learn just what life is truly like for those doctors who are on the front line of healthcare. Matt was always the smartest guy in the room and it was obvious from a very young age that he was going to dedicate his career to medicine. I can remember having a lot of envy towards him in those early years, I mean who wouldn’t want to save a life every day? Over the years however I have come to realize the true reality of being a doctor, and that is why I wouldn’t swap with him for the world.
The level of sacrifice which doctors must make is enormous, they must forego so many aspects of their personal life in order to work the long hours required of them, and this of course has a huge impact on their relationships. From the very beginning I could see that Matthew was not going to have the same amount of time that he used to and that would mean less nights out and activities with me. This is something which I can totally accept as his friend, but for many doctors the same thing happens with their kids and their wives and that is why divorce rates are so high in this profession. The personal sacrifice is gargantuan and the amount of cancelled events amongst doctors is higher than any other profession, all so that they can care for those in need.
There is an idea which many have in their minds that doctors or nurses are completely devoid of emotion and that this is what makes them so good at what they do. In fact I often thought this and ever since I have known Matt he has had a certain strength to him which I always thought made him perfect for this career. Having seen and heard stories however it is very clear that this is not the case, what doctors and nurses do is they push emotions aside because they are aware of the importance of the job and of staying calm. All of these emotions however will eventually come out, and when they do it is a very tough thing for them to go through.
There is another negative about being a doctor which makes me not wish to do this job and that is the fact that it never ends, there is never a moment when you are not a doctor. At parties everyone wants to query a certain symptom or ailment which they believe that they have, if someone collapses in the street you are called to action immediately and there is always a need for you to spring into doctor mode. Matt has never complained to me about this but speaking honestly it must be a nightmare.
These are just some of the reasons why these men and women deserve all the respect that they get.