Sometimes, our plans for ourselves and the master plan just don’t quite match up. For years, nine to be exact, I was certain that I was destined to be a meteorologist. When I went to apply to Penn State, I saw that I would have to take a physics course almost every semester to graduate. After high school physics, well, that wasn’t happening. I could have done it, but I would have been miserable the whole four years. The years that are supposed to be some of the best in my life.
This is ultimately what led me to stay close to home and attend the University of Pittsburgh, world-class university, within driving distance. Initially, I wanted to major in neuroscience and while I did well in my neuroscience courses, I couldn’t see myself doing 60 of classes related to the matter. This is when I turned to Emergency Medicine. I loved the curriculum, the way the major was structured, the competitiveness, and the ability to be on the ambulance helping people. I surrounded myself with a group of people that were also very passion about EMS and getting into the program. It seemed absolutely perfect. Until the whole chronic illness thing decided to rear its ugly head again. This time, I got a wake-up call loud and clear.
After I had the realization to do whatever I set my mind to, the drive to do anything, and the intelligence to allow me to succeed in whatever, I wished, I decided that my dream major, Emergency Medicine, was not going to work out, as my body is not strong or reliable enough to even complete a Paramedic program. In addition, I spend way too much time in hospitals or doctor’s appointments to be able make up the missed material. The same situation for medical school and residencies. I have the brains to do it, but not the body. This broke my heart and will probably always break my heart, because it is my one true passion at this very moment. Emergency Medicine, EMS, First Response… will always be number 1 in my heart.
As my neurosurgeon put it, CRPS is going to be chronic. SPS is going to be chronic. Chronic illnesses are going to be just that. Chronic. No end. Forever, until a cure is found. They will always require treatment and that is a tough pill to swallow, but I’m glad I came to that realization on my own.
So I decided to search around Pitt’s website a little bit and see if there were any other things I could see myself doing that wouldn’t be extremely physically demanding. I still wanted to keep medicine in my life in some way. That being said, after much thought, I am moving towards a Communications major, a minor in the Administration of Justice, and a certificate program in National Preparedness and Emergency Management. Ultimately, I would have to go to graduate school for some kind of disaster management degree.
This degree opens up opportunities in the FBI, CIA, FEMA, DEA, and of course, the local law enforcement agencies. A communications degree also opens up an abundance of opportunities alone.
Although the work may not be directly related to medicine, I hope that I can come home from work each and every day feeling like I have helped at least one person out.