I was struck by a conversation I had with a fellow health worker.
Her husband is a surgeon. There is a certain kind of violence in a surgeon’s vocation. Everyday, he puts a knife through another person’s body. He cuts and opens up, removing disease. His technique must always be perfect (or close to it). He may sometimes need to injure healthy tissue to get out the rot beneath. He does all this for the greater good of healing.
I am an internist. There is no violence in my daily work. In fact, we spend much time trying to find harmony and integration in the lives of other people. You would notice that the best internists are those who always try to put together a patient’s complete story. You not only discuss the pathophysiology of disease, but you also put it in context with a person’s unique social circumstances. You do this for the greater good of healing.
At the end of the day, my friend says that her husband likes watching “touchy-feely” soap opera, drama-type movies. He ends up crying on the couch, which completes his day.
At the end of my day, I find that I crave action-packed, heroes vs villains-type of movies. And like my friend’s husband, with the triumph of good over evil, there comes a feeling of closure to my day.
I guess it is a way of balancing out our lives.