I used to be idealistic. I had every intention of changing the world, saving it from itself and no one could tell me otherwise. This is a healthy part of growing up, I think, and I think everyone I know had similar dreams, aspirations, plans. Somewhere along the line though, my dreams faded, flickered, almost died. Cynicism ran strong, saving anything, even a potted plant seemed impossible, and I decided to just put my head down, grit my teeth and get through each level.
I'm recently done with yet another round of applications, interviews, decisions and knowing that some decisions ultimately are out of my hands. I've had to reflect on why I'm where I am, how I got here and where I want to go. In doing this, I went back to my dreams, dusted them off, took a critical look and refined them.
I stopped wanting to save the world a while back. I still have no desire to do so. I stopped wanting to save Ghana. That's not my job. I do however, want to save little kids. That's my calling and that hasn't changed. I think I knew early on that I wanted to be a pediatrician. No one who has had any contact with me in the past 4 years will doubt that. I want to be a great one.....not just good, but awesome. Not because of a pride thing, but because these are people's lives. Children's lives.
In a few weeks from now, someone will place a hood over my shoulders, add a few letters to the end of my name. We'll celebrate the end of one phase of the journey and the beginning of another. Then in a couple of weeks, I'll be responsible for caring for real, live patients. I'm terrified. Absolutely terrified. There's the fear of saying/ doing something dumb. There's the fear of messing someone's life. There's the fear of losing someone. Thankfully in residency there are safeguards. Senior residents, attendings, nurses- people looking over and working as a team to provide the best possible care. But still......
Anyways, I digress. More about dreams. One of the dreams I've been talking about a lot is wanting to build a children's hospital at home. As in- a free standing children's hospital. One with all (at least majority) of pediatric sub specialties. A happy land where children can be cared for properly, fully, by staff trained just for them. A land that eases some of the fear and discomfort of being sick. A land that will leave someone without the same grinding fear of hospitals that I used to have. I know this will be difficult, indeed, I've been informed my business minded folk that this is impossible, without adding adult care to the equation. I don't know....not entirely convinced and not ready for my newly discovered dream to be squashed just yet.
So we'll see. I have miles to go before I can even start to plan this, to go from dream to idea on paper. But I'm just glad that I'm dreaming again. The cynicism, the lack of trust in some of my country folk, all that is still there. But the dream is there, underneath, perhaps above, I don't know, somewhere in the midst of all this.