Saturday, November 15, 2008

being a fixer

when i was a kid, i used up rolls and rolls of cellophane tape to mend the books in my home library. i would strengthen the spines of my hardcover enid blytons and fix the torn, brown pages of my agatha christies. although i've given some of my beloved books away, i have kept others and they still bear the marks of my attempts at book maintenance.

it's no wonder, then, that when i was a student librarian in junior college, the part i liked most was when we'd re-wrap the books and mend whatever was necessary. i drew great satisfaction from restoring precious textbooks to an acceptable state. till this day, i have zero tolerance for book abuse and i feel every student who scribbles in library books or spills coffee on them should be fined an amount that would enable the librarians to mend and restore them.

i suspect that the need for me to fix things is one of the driving factors for me in pursuing medicine. i find it a challenge to diagnose correctly and manage sufficiently to help a patient return to his or her pre-illness state. i love working from one symptom to a whole list of differentials to using logic, common sense and knowledge to narrow things further, utilise the technology available to nail a diagnosis and then applying evidence-based medicine to treat, cure, relieve, comfort a patient. i want to know how people work, and how to fix them when they're broken.

however, sometimes my desire to fix people makes things worse, especially when it comes to friends with problems. i just can't help but offer advice, resources, my time, when they come to me with whatever's on their mind. but it's not always that people want solutions to their woes. bad judgement has often polluted the words of less-than-wisdom i've given and i'm sorry for each one of those instances.

being a fixer may or may not be a good thing after all. i guess i have yet to learn when to butt in and when to back off. even patients sometimes don't actually require the conventional treatment doctors offer them. i'm better off working on being more sensitive to their needs, to my friends' needs, than feeding my hunger to make things right.

lishun at 9:50 AM