Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Out of My Hands - and I'm Going Nuts

Now that I've more or less made my immediate future plans more public, everyone has been asking me when I am leaving for Perth.

My standard response used to be, "Probably some time in May to early June." After a few weeks of the apparent inactivity of my employers' visa sponsorship papers in the DIMC, it became, "When the visa comes through - and, oh by the way, I haven't lodged my application yet."

These days, when asked the same question, I no longer attest when the visa comes through - I say, "If the visa ever comes through."

The waiting is obviously eroding into my optimism big time and undermining what little hard-earned courage I have to do this.

While patience has never been my strong suit, there is something else that makes my leaving within the next three months crucial. Due to the evolving rules regarding practicing medicine in Australia with a temporary registration, all who apply for a temporary license after June 30 are required to have passed the Australian Medical Council's written exam when they apply.

At the moment, all they require of foreign medical graduates to work in Western Australia is for an application to take the AMC exam to already be underway, authenticated credentials from your training institution, an acceptable score on the academic IELTS (for medical practitioners, 7 and above), and an initial application by your employer for temporary registration.

Scheduling the AMC written exam is no easy feat. At this point, the earliest schedule I can get would be in July 1, which I can take here in Manila. The rest of the scheduled test dates are off-shore in Australia. Which I cannot enter regardless because I do not have a visa.

*sigh* Maybe it's a sign.

The usual processing time for the visa once it is lodged (something I have YET to do) is roughly 4-8 weeks. If I don't lodge it soon, I'm not going to make deadline. Frankly, I have no idea what will happen if I don't make deadline. Will my employer withdraw my job offer? Will they give me the next few months to study and take the exam? (And taking the exam is a whole other cesspool of anxiety waiting to happen.)

One wonders why I am subjecting myself to this anxiety in the first place. If I had just taken the fellowship exam and gone straight into fellowship, I wouldn't be tearing my hair out in frustration right about now. I could have a well-charted life here. I would be doing a job that is suited to my level of training (a status which I have earned through a lot of hard work, I might add) rather than going down a step and taking on the challenge of being a general practitioner all over again - albeit, hospital based.

Sometimes, it really boggles my mind, too.

It's not so much that I am unpatriotic, and that I can't wait to take the next plane out of here. I won't deny that the better compensation is one of the reasons why I have decided to take a hiatus from training by getting a job abroad. While I have no long-term plans at the moment, I also won't deny that while I am there, I will be taking steps to allow me to eventually apply for a permanent residency should I wish to do so. I hope to come back, but I also believe in keeping options open. Everything at this point is up in the air.

Truth is, I really just want to get out of my staid old box, drive off the paved road, and experience something totally new. Does this make me a selfish, ungrateful person to put my needs first? The guilt hanging over my head says it does, but on another level, I also know I am just doing what I need to do to stay sane.

I've committed myself to this, and I am determined to see everything through regardless of outcome. If, in the end, I don't get to fly out at all, it's not because I didn't make a real go of it.

But it's all out of my hands, and it is driving me nuts.


Post Scripts:

* I am interrupting regular programming for the next few days while I shed my anxieties and drink in the beauty of the Caramoan Peninsula with friends. Let's hope our trip to Bicol will not be as cursed by weather as the last time we went. I promise to take lots and lots of pictures this time!

* The Middle of Nowhere visited two medical blog carnivals this week - both very, very interesting reads. Our weekly all-Pinoy Blog Rounds, with the theme "The Doctor as Patient" is up at Dr. Tes's site. One of my posts was also included in this week's Grand Rounds at Dr. Wes's site. Medical-minded readers might want to take a look at those while I'm away. Great weekend reading!

Okay - I'm off to pack for my two days in the summer sun.


Manggy said...

Wow, Dr. Claire, that's *tight*. I hope everything pulls through for you.

(I hate The Scream...)

dr_clairebear said...

i know! which is why i have completely obliterated what was left of my nails due to the stress. everything is going slow motion but time. *sigh*

tina reminded me that everything happens for a reason, so i'm going to sit back, cross my fingers, and pray. Really, really hard. as i said, there is always Someone in control, it's just hard to let things go.

but i'm putting that away for now. Caramoan, here we come! ;P

Jose Dennio P. Lim Jr. said...

Hi Dr. Claire, nalulungkot talaga ako kapag may nalalaman ako n mg propesyunal na gaya ng mga doktor na aalis ng bansa dahil sa laki ng kikitain doon. Hindi naman po kita masisisi pero sana po kapag naging maayos na ang lahat, bumalik pa rin po kayo dito dahil mas higit ka na kailangan ng ating mga kababayan. :D God bless po. :)

Panaderos said...

No, you're not being unpatriotic and No, you're not being selfish.

Ignore the simpletons who label you as unpatriotic. They don't know what your real intentions are and nor do they have the right to stop you from what you want to do for yourself.

You're not being selfish because what you want to do is all about self-discovery. You want to know what you can do, what you can achieve and what your limits are. There are really times when we need to step out of our comfort zone just to see what stuff we're truly made out of.

Taking the road less travelled will still get you to where you want to go. There will be challenges and detours along the way but in the end, all that learning and discovery will make your whole life's trip truly worth it.

Vanessa said...

Good luck! All the rep tape and paperwork isn't my cup of tea. It can be pretty intimidating in fact.

rayms said...

hoy clara! forever the pessimist! kaya yan! by the way, once you're there, puntahan ka naman!:-)

Marjie said...

I wish you the best of luck sweetie. I know how annoying it is to have so much requirements from the Phils to fly abroad (been there), but it will be all worth it at the end. Just keep the faith and the patience alive. No point of thinking differently when you have your eyes on the prize.

Cheers and love,

Ness said...

hi doc clairebear,

kasali kami sa suspense sa paghihintay sa developments about your possible new address...

in the meantime, take some of the stress out by reminiscing about some fantastic summer past. join ka muna sa the Blog Rounds 5th edition, the topic is "I know what you did last summer!" and we're hoping you could share with us some memorable summer adventures you had.

thanks and looking forward to your entry post!

AngelMD-No-More said...

will be praying for u po dr claire...parang ure in "crossroads" po ulit ah...hehe

Ann said...

I plan on leaving too. Not permanently, I hope. I've long dealt with the "guilt" people say we should have over leaving. We owe it to ourselves to take the path which we believe will lead to our personal growth.

We have different ways and different plans on how we will help our country, we need not conform to the general notion that helping is best achieved by staying. That's what I think, anyway.

God bless po sa endeavors nyo. :)

dr_clairebear said...

@panaderos: thank you for the sound advice and encouragement. i guess delaing with guilt and the "what if's" are all part of growing up - and by choosing to leave for now, i am choosing to grow up.

@jose: i understand where you're coming from, and i'm glad that you aren't "condemning" me for choosing to leave.

one of my favorite quotes (na i don't know who to attiribute to!) is "the greatest journeys are the ones that lead us home."

it can be interpreted in any number of ways, but i also think that i could mean that one must take certain journeys in their lives to appreciate what home really is.

i think that it's unfair for people to judge doctors who choose to leave to train abroad or even live abroad because truth is, they are just doing what they can to survive. the need goes both ways, too. after several years of hard work, they also deserve to reap the fruits of their labor. it's not expected of other professions to sacrifice their personal happiness for the greater good. why is it that doctors are demonized for choosing personal growth over patriotic sacrifice?

i salute you for upholding service to the motherland, but i also hope you realize that we can all serve in different ways.

@vanessa and marjie: thanks! i do so hope it's worth it!

@raymond: hehehe... alam mo naman ako, glass half-empty kind of girl. *sigh* wala pa rin!

@ness: will try to think of something to post. :) still hung over from vacation!

@angel: yup, definitely a crossroads!

@ann: wise words from a wise young woman. :) i think that this "guilt" is part of what we have to deal with as we grow up and make choices. but in the end, regardless of what we choose, the challenge is to live by them and not look back on the choices we made with regret. to me, "what if" might be harder to live with. good luck and God bless to you, too!

Ness said...

hi dr_clairebear,

maybe you want to post about THAT vacation you just came from...

docwhisperer said...

Hi Claire:
I have been immersing myself catching up with the new "Battlestar Galactica", so I haven't been paying much attention to the blogosphere, but as they said on that show "It has happened before, and will happen again."
Almost 20 years ago, I was in your situation and decided to leave the Philippines for "further training" abroad, but deep in my heart, I knew the way things were, I could not be truly happy in Manila and it was time to spread my wings to see where life would take me.
Twenty years later, it was one of the best decisions of my life.
I subscribe to the Ayn Rand/ Objectivist/ Buddhist philosophy that states that unless you take care of your personal well-being first, then you can't be there for others. As for the difficulties which lie ahead (and there will be many: loneliness, prejudice, guilt, self-doubt), no pain- no gain. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
So buck up, Dr. Claire, you are embarking on life's great adventure, it is not for the faint of heart but the rewards are great for those who dare.

gigi said...

Hi Claire, been ruminating on this post of yours. How tough. But I have always believed that the things obtained the hard way are the ones that last...

I wish you luck.

MegaMom said...

Unlike Manggy, I love The Scream which I've seen up close. It's quite cathartic to stare at it. You feel quite cleansed as you walk away. I hope that's how you felt after this blogorrhea, like after a Fleet's hehehe...

As for advice, I've read every possible cliche already among the comments so I have nothing further to add.

You'll know what to do when the time comes. Good luck.

Dr AMC said...

wow, AMC exam is not that hard, we have a group study call and one of my mate got ranking 2 , not hard, you need to spent time to do the mock exam