Chris W Interview – Windsor

Dear London and Windsor Colleagues. In the spirit of inter-campus respect, inter-campus co-operation, inter-campus support, and, of course, inter-campus love, we present our interview of Chris W., a shining example of what Windsor has to offer. Done by yours truly – Paul JD.

How did you spend your summer?
How do you feel about clerkship coming up?
What kind of doctor do you want to be?
What’s interesting about you?
What turns you on, creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
And you say you’d find that more in internal than surgery?
What turns you off?
What’s your favourite Baltic nation?
What profession – other than “physician” – would you liked to have done?
What inspires you about policing?
What’s one piece of advice that your mom or dad gave you?

How did you spend your summer?

So I stayed here in Windsor for most of June. And then Avery and I moved into our new place. Painted a bit, set that up. Then I went back to Vancouver, just hung out, mostly with friends from high school, they were all still around.
I worked with a couple doctors, one was an internist who worked at an eating disorders clinic which was quite interesting – as a young guy, you don’t really have an appreciation of that. I also worked with a rheumatologist. I had no inkling into rheumatology, but it was a quite interesting experience. And he let me do a lot so it was fun.
Then Avery came out for three weeks in Vancouver, and we just hung out and it was a good time.

How do you feel about clerkship coming up?

A little nervous… A little nervous. We’ve been taught some basic clinical skills, but I mean we’re going to be thrown in and it’s going to be a big learning curve, but it’s going to be fun – I’m actually looking forward to getting out of the classroom.

What kind of doctor do you want to be?

Going into med school, I wanted to be a cardiologist – still have cardiology on the table. I really like endocrinology, so I’ll look into that as well.
Based on that I’ll probably apply to residencies in internal medicine. I don’t particularly want to do psychiatry, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynaecology, or any surgery, so I’ve ruled those out so far.
I really like the mentality of internal medicine; you’re solving complex puzzles every day, so I like the idea. I also want to have a decent life after med school, so I want to have some sort of lifestyle outside of being a doctor, so that’s why I’ve sort of ruled out some of the more, not harder, but more intensive specialties like surgery or obs/gyn. And internal kind of fits into that.

What’s interesting about you?

I’m actually the most boring person you’ll ever meet. I had epilepsy as a kid and grew up with that… it’s sort of why I wanted to become a doctor, go into medicine – not the only reason, but part of it. I’m a big hockey fan – a Canucks fan – spend a lot of time reading up about the game.

What turns you on, creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Creatively? I like doing a lot of small little projects with my hands… I like the planning phases of big things, because it’s always new and exciting. But I always underestimate how much work it’ll be. But I like little things you can do around the house.
You would think that would translate into surgery. In high school I used to collect Lord of the Rings figures and paint those, same thing as like the Warhammer stuff, so I was quite good with fine movements with my hands, but the surgery lifestyle seems like you need to put up a ton of time upfront for longer periods of time than I would like to do.
Growing up my dad was always around and he was – not that I needed a strong male role model – but he was a lawyer and he ran his own business and did very well for himself – but still made the time to be around his own family all the time, so I’d like to be able to do that and, you know, medicine.

And you say you’d find that more in internal than surgery?

Yeah I really do like that aspect, I’ve really liked what I’ve seen with internists and going around with them. You get to see something new every day. The guy I worked with this summer, he specialized within internal medicine in dealing with chronic pain, but his practice involved endocrine and gastrointestinal issues – all spectrums of medicine – it was complex stuff, but it was manageable. It wasn’t dealing with patients coming in acutely and dropping on you right there.
I haven’t tried emergency medicine… I might like it… I’ll see what happens during clerkship. That doesn’t appeal to me as much as this more stable lifestyle along with challenges in day to day what you’re dealing with.

What turns you off?

Internet warriors.
So… This is more of an aside… But an internet warrior would be someone – this is my own fault for going to these forums and reading the comments on TSN articles – the people who are just out there to piss you off, or the ones who just post something on Facebook or something… I don’t know whether it’s to get a response? Or it’s because they think that there’s real change, that they’re doing something really positive… An example is okay, with the previous Canadian election, you had people on all sides, basically posting these very clearly biased pieces of media, one way or the other, trying to sway your opinion. And a lot of them, well some, were legitimately good reads and informative, but for the most part were purely biased and would nit-pick at certain details that were really irrelevant – sure it’s a bad thing, but it’s not a large thing to get worked up on. That type of stuff kind of pisses me off
To me, if you’re posting this stuff, the only reason you’re posting it is to make yourself feel good, or you are truly trying to instill change – and you’re not going to do it in this sensationalist way. The better way would be to get to the hearts of issues and actually have healthy discourse with people and not putting these pieces of writing out there that just blasts someone for little things. That type of stuff. Hypocrisy is a big thing that irritates me, but that might just be me being pretentious.

What’s your favourite Baltic nation?

Yeah – that’s not a thing.

What profession – other than “physician” – would you have liked to have done?

The dream would have been a hockey player – NHL player – but, if I couldn’t have done either I wanted to be a cop. For the longest time I wanted to be a police officer. I don’t think I could do that now.

What inspires you about policing?

Honestly, well this was so long ago, like when I was around 14, I really like the notion of the old cop, the nice guy that everyone likes, that does a good job, and is well respected within the community. People say “cop” now and it doesn’t exactly ring the same bell? And I honestly don’t know what made me not want to be a cop anymore that was quite some time ago.
When I did my Master’s, I considered academia, and the pharmaceutical side of things. Doing a Master’s is great because it tells you if research is for you or not… And it wasn’t for me. At least that type wasn’t. I didn’t want to be spending a solid chunk of my life doing that.

What’s one piece of advice that your mom or dad gave you?

The biggest piece of advice I remember my parents giving me, my dad said “everything in moderation.” I feel that’s kind of a good philosophy to have with your life, if you put yourself into too much of any one thing, whether it be substances or working out too much or you’re too focused on your career, you’re going to detract from other aspects of your life. And I don’t know many people who could be so happy doing one thing and only one thing.

So I think in terms of medical school, this kind of speaks for yourself – you can’t just throw yourself at the school and your schoolwork and expect to have a good time, you’re going to be miserable and that might be why there’s such a high rate of doctor or medical student burnout, because of that. It is stressful here in medical school, but if you balance that out with support with friends or exercise and you take time for yourself I feel that you’ll enjoy life a bit more. And I feel that if you enjoy yourself more you’ll do better at it in the long-term.