If you’re reading my first blog post (which, quite clearly, you are) then you probably know me. If you don’t know me, I won the lottery when you stumbled across this site, in what surely must have been an accident. Regardless, let’s summarize who I am, as it provides the context for everything I will write.
I’m curious. I’m rebellious. I ask “why” and then challenge the answer I get.
I’m curious. I’m compassionate. I ask “what’s wrong” and then try to help.
I’m curious. I’m intelligent. I ask so that I can know, and do so that I might understand.
And I’m a very corny writer.
I have two passions, two things that can get me out of bed at 05h00 when it’s still dark outside. The first, my chosen vocation, is medicine. The second, how I chose to vacation, is travel. Between my vocation and my vacations, I am a happy guy. Allow me to elaborate.
Medicine is fascinating. The human body is intricate beyond our understanding, and our ability to manipulate its function (and dysfunction) is bewildering. I started in the healthcare industry as many do: I was a lifeguard. I guess it started 16 years before that, when my dad threw me into the deep end of a pool in a pseudo-supervised manner. In that moment I became a fish, and swimming became my sport. I collected badges and medallions until I was old enough to lifeguard. That first summer, while half-watching a small condominium pool, a woman began thrashing about. The pool was only six feet deep, but her head was below the surface. I sprang into action, hesitated where deck met water before jumping in, pulling her to the pool wall where she composed her mind and emptied her lungs. The emotions that followed were not overpowering, but they were addictive. I pursued a career as a paramedic, first on the ground and then in the sky, before applying to medical school. I’m now in residency, working as a junior doctor specializing in emergency medicine and critical care. When I finish, I hope to get a job in a teaching hospital working in ERs and ICUs. I love teaching (I think that’s genetic), and being able to teach doctors-to-be while caring for patients would be a dream job. Being able to have that role in different places around the world would be perfect.
Travel is inspiring. The sensory overload I experience when I arrive in a new city is invigorating, and heals the emotional wounds I sustain as a doctor. I am rechanged and refreshed when I get home, happy to sleep in my own bed but sad to have been torn away from afar. Be it the sound of Jazz in a New Orleans bar, the smell of Tagine in a Marrakesh souk, or the colours of the Norwegian northern lights, the sensory overload I experience in new places brings me joy. Some of my very best friendships have been born while backpacking through places I had no intention of going to because I got on the wrong train, or bus, or haphazardly took a turn without particularly caring in which direction I was going. The cultures and religions and politics and customs of India, Peru, China, Lebanon, Cuba and a hundred other countries (ok, 72, but who’s really counting?) provide stark opportunities to reflect on how I think and who I am. And, importantly, my travels never fail to help me connect to a patient. I can always bring a smile to a patient’s face when I find that commonality that turns a new, uncomfortable meeting into a physician-patient partnership. Similarly, the need for healthcare is universal, and opportunities to travel to practice medicine are something I try never to pass up. From Canada to Uganda to Australia, I’ve been able to see how different contexts and cultures demand different approaches to effectively improve peoples health.
So that’s me in a nutshell. In my next post, I’ll tell you why I write. In the meantime, thanks for reading this and be well.