August 9, 2008

Happy Day!

Every medical student has his or her own unique challenges as they progress through training. For some, its social anxieties fostered by years of seclusion in the library. Others its the constant berating by superiors. Fear of needles. Aversion to blood. Painful memories of gurneys. Dislike of the color white. Latex allergy. For me, I've had my own Everest I've had to climb.

I have a baby face.

Now I know. I'll be laughing when I'm 40. I'll miss the days when I get carded by Brutus on Monday $1 pint night (or carded for rated R movies... still happens!). But unfortunately I kind of need to learn this medicine thing now not later, and getting a 45 year old man to talk to me about his sexual history or confide possibly socially taboo behavior when I look like I should be playing on his 12 year old son's little league team just doesn't seem to fly.

There has been several (unsuccessful) attempts at growing a beard, but the battle against genetics has proven a futile one. Wearing glasses helps a little. Then patients just ask what college I go to instead of what high school (no exaggeration). White coat or not, patients are always observing "So you're following this doctor around today? How fun! Well do well in college and maybe you'll get into medical school!" Sorry lady. Jumped the gun on that one. Let me just put away your chart with your full medical history in it and go work on my English homework.

The best? A patient who told me I look just like Richie from Happy days (see above).

Maybe I should embrace it. It'll only take a couple months before I could grow a mean comb-over.

And change my name to Doogie.

Anyone got any good ideas on how to look older? That doesn't involve illicit drug use or alternative medicine?


Chris said...

Wear your pants really high and dye your hair gray.

Anonymous said...

Can't do much.

Maybe things will change with the long white coat?

I think part of it has to do with demeanor and confidence (I believe most of us med students lack this, although for me it's been increasing in 4th year now).

Anyways, I had a patient ask me how old I was a few weeks ago. I simply, but politely responded, "Old enough to know what I am doing, and old enough to take care of you."

Just exert your confidence. Your stance, walk, talk, etc. It all plays a part.

Anonymous said...

when's school start? any deep thoughts for the coming year?

David P said...

I have the same problem. And I'm a 34 year old non-trad in my second medical year.

I'm not sure how to make myself look any older. I wonder if I'll be taken seriously.

Medstudentmusings said...

I used to despise looking perpetually 12 but now, like you noted, when I'm 40, I'll really appreciate it. I once had a patient ask me if it was "Take Your Daughter to Work Day." Awkward.
Also awkward, having a patient whom you are about to consent to do an LP on ask to see your driver's license because there's no way you could be old enough to be a medical student.

Though sometimes awkward, it makes for fond memories. My alter egos: Orphan Annie and Shirley Temple.