Video games often try to mimic life. You know, like when you try to rescue a princess but first you have to jump on turtles and eat mushrooms, grow big and fight Bowser… ok, that was a bad example, but sometimes, when you take a step back, our lives occasionally imitate games.
I like to think of my medical experience as a role playing game (RPG). For those of you lacking my uber-nerdy background, let me explain.
In these games you start off as a crappy level 1 character. You then go outside your dumpy little village into the woods and beat up fluffy rabbits (or other less than masculine monsters) for 5 hours to level up. You do this in hopes of becoming stronger and gaining experience. You hope that with time your character grows from your many battles and you become a more powerful, better character.
Thus, not that long ago, I was a level 1 medical student. It was not that scary or nerve racking. I had obtained all sorts of magical items and mystical powers in training. For example, I had the white-coat of protection. This gave me +5 dexterity and partial invisibility, since everyone else around me also had white coats and I could blend in anywhere. Also, I had the badge of invincibility on my arm, showing I was a medical student, which repelled people from actually seeking me out. I never had to fight big monsters myself (very sick patients) since I was a new character. But, once my cloak of invisibility wore off and I graduated, I moved out of that village and became a resident.
Usually a patient needs the attending physician, but residents often help out. This level is much scarier that being a med student. I did have to fight scarier monsters (actually sick patients). But, as a resident I had “The Excuse of saving!” I could always say “I’m a resident, I’ll have to ask my attending and get back to you.” Also, as a resident, I always had several people on the team working together, and the leader was the attending. When the crap REALLY hit the fan as a resident, you always had backup. It was like I was Frodo, but I always had Gandalf right behind me ready to kick butt.
Unfortunately, once I leveled up enough and became an attending myself, I had to hand in all my invisibility potions and spells of protection from accountability. This became a quite terrifying game to play. Not only that, but I had to start over as a level 1 attending halfling. Yet again the journey started over in a new village with new people and places, with me trying to gain experience. What a rip off. Not only that, but all of the monsters are now bigger and stronger. And the consequences for my actions were MUCH more dangerous. Not only this, but now I was supposed to be the Gandolf on the team.
Here’s a typical battle
I was fighting a level 73 obese Smoking-Troll. This brutal monster had both the power of See-Aych-Eff, and See-Oh-Pee-Dee, a vicious combinations. Not only that, but he also came from the HONDA tribe. For those of you not in the medical field, a HONDA is
H – Hypertensive
O – Obese
N – Noncompliant
D – Diabetic
A – Alcoholic
So this level 73 troll was attacking with his oxygen level of 41%. That’s a powerful attack. Not to mention that this troll did not have a neck, nor did the troll have any fully functioning braincells. Fortunately I did have the tube of breathing and the elixer of succinylcholine. At the end of it all, the troll was slain and I sent him to the land of Eye-See-Ewe, where he could remain in perpetual slumber for several weeks, till he could recover and attack again. I gained some experience, and I gained enough extra time to conjure an elixir of Koffee which grants +4 alertness.
Whoa. Did anyone else get lost in the analogy back there?
Ah well, I know that I will always be a little nervous in life, and video games, regardless of what level I achieve.