A friend of mine once referred to medicine as the cruelest of mistresses. It took me a while to catch his meaning, but eventually it became clear. Ask a doctor, even one that hates his job, what he would do if he wasn't a doctor. I'll bet most couldn't give you an answer. No matter how much you hate it, there's no other job we'd rather do. If I wanted money or prestige, I would've done something else. But I love medicine, as much as it hurts sometimes.
And it's hard for non-doctors to understand that there is something we value as much as anything else in our lives. I talked to a radiologist who had come out of retirement. His comment: what was I supposed to do, sail a boat? It finds its way into every part of our lives, and continually pulls.
As priorities go, I think most doctors find that the only important things are God, family, and medicine. The problems come that the order of those three is often not as clear. I know several doctors and medical students who celebrated the births of their children by taking an afternoon off.
And that's what I mean by a cruel mistress. A flesh and blood mistress, we could leave in a heartbeat if it meant our families, our happiness. But medicine? It will drag us down. And it's tough to love someone as fully or have as meaningful relationships because in the back of your mind is always medicine. And as much as you hate the pager, you still answer it.
If you're not ready for this kind of commitment, then think twice about medical school.