When you are a mother of a young man studying to be a doctor, you have to learn a few things, yourself.
First of all, you have to learn that your son will not be at all the family gatherings. Instead, he will be saving lives somewhere, and when he tells you he can’t make the gathering, you really can’t play the guilt card. He’ll trump ya.
Then there’s the issue of medical advice. You might think that you have a built-in medical advisor, a short-cut to remedies – even the pharmacy – and, at the least, a way of vetting your ailments before heading to a busy emergency department. But I’ll warn you: your medical student’s mentors have already warned him about you. They’ve given him ways to deflect your inquiries, and eventually, you’ll learn to go to your own doctor, and leave your son alone!
Speaking from personal experience, you also have to learn the skill of sleeping. I mean, no matter how skilled you think your medically inclined son is, you still worry when he’s working a night shift in Emerg where anything can come in the door. You don’t so much worry for the patients: you worry for your son, because he is still learning how to handle the emotional part of being a doctor. Oh, you won’t see it; definitely not. He’ll have the white cloak of confidence on every time you see him. Yet, you know. You’re his mother. That baby boy you raised still has some raising to do, and you’ll worry about the big boulders that comes his way. It’s a mother’s load.
There’s also the ‘mother lode’ of anxious excitement that comes with the infamous Match Day. That’s the day, hour, and minute at which Canadian residents find out which school has accepted them for their Residency. The news shapes the next half-decade of your son’s life, probably a good portion of your own travel budget, and possibly other factors. As I’m writing this, we are 27 minutes away from that hour and day in my son’s life. In my life. In his partner’s life. In his dad’s life. In his siblings’ lives. Gosh, in his unborn children’s lives. Because residency shapes the rest of his life, his choices of where to settle, and the type of medicine he will practice.
So that’s quite a few things to learn, if your son decides to go to medical school.
But the greatest lesson is the one you receive when that newly placed medical resident calls to tell you he was matched successful with his choice of Emergency Medicine, in a city of his choice.
That lesson has to do with how not to cry with relief and happiness while at work.