Don't get me wrong. I never want to go through the hell of med school again. One of my friends was thinking about a second career in medicine, and I honestly think that if I had to go through medical school and residency again, I would quit. It's too hard to do twice.
But there are some things about medical school that I miss terribly, because it's stuff that I can't get back. I remember my first perfectly done suture. It was a vertical mattress, and the tails were just right. I remember following a running suture during a vascular surgery. Afterward, the surgeon told me that he'd never let a med student touch a vessel he was working on, but he trusted me. I miss the excitement of seeing my first trauma, a 20 yr old female MVA, no LOC, FAST scan negative, c-spine cleared. I miss the novel sense of horror upon seeing an apple core lesion on CT abdomen.
But most of all, I miss that moment in medical school when I was not an internist. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I was capable of anything. It was entirely within my power to pick my medical specialty.
There was a very similar moment that occurred in college. I remember it exactly. It was 6:54 PM and I was getting out of chemistry lab. It was twilight, and as I walked home from lab, I stopped at one particular tree about 40 yards from the chem building. At that moment, I could be whatever I wanted to be in life. I could be a lawyer, doctor, investment banker, veterinarian, librarian, computer programmer... All my life and education had led me to that one point in time where I could choose, differentiate. I was a stem cell.
That is what I miss about medical school. I don't miss the studying or the work. I miss being pluripotent.