I get asked sometimes what it’s like to be a doctor. Well, the answer depends on the question.
If you mean, “What is the lifestyle of a doctor like?” I’d have to say, pretty much like yours; I just go to work at a place most people do their best to avoid. There aren’t any secret backroom events to which only doctors get invited. I don’t get a better table at a restaurant. Speed limits are the same. My kids pick their nose in public and elbow me in the face while I sleep.
If you mean, “What is the job of a doctor like?” That’s a more interesting question. The closest thing I can think of to being a doctor is being a mechanic. We do essentially the same thing: diagnose and treat. The only real difference is in the specifics. The approach is identical. We listen to the symptoms, push on some stuff, make our best guess as to the problem, try a solution, and see what works. We use words you don’t understand, sometimes on purpose. No one comes to us because things are going really well. The reaction to our bill is the same. Everyone thinks they can do our job better than we can. Most of the problems we’re trying to fix could have been prevented with some regular maintenance. We’re less certain than we care to admit.
And we specialize. As an ER doctor, I’m kind of like the mechanic who can patch up just about anything, but probably isn’t the one you’d take your Ashton Martin DBS to for a tune up. Most of what I do can be accomplished with duct tape and some rubber tubes. My tape and tubes are sterile, though, so I can charge more.
The cardiologist is your engine block specialist. The pulmonologist does carburetors. Ortho is collision repair. Pediatricians do small engine repair. Gastroenterologists do muffler and exhaust work. Ophthalmologists take care of your cracked windshield. Dermatologist do paint and pinstripe. Plastic surgeons do aftermarket modifications. Pathologists run the salvage yard. The psychiatrist is like the neighbor who can tell you why your car won’t start, but isn’t going to actually touch it.
Jared and Liz Bayless