Let's start with WHY
Before appreciating what we do, perhaps a better place to start is why Medizom was created. To do this, we need to get personal. Let's hear from Ross, who created it back in 2019.
In 2019, returning to Edinburgh from New Zealand, after a second time resigning, I really wondered whether medicine was for me after all. Perhaps retraining as a physiotherapist, or a pharmacist, was the answer. I certainly didn't know what the next step could possibly be. I felt bewildered by my experience in New Zealand, why I'd got so low, feeling like I should, by now, be resilient enough to just get on with things.
After a few weeks of dusting myself off and establishing healthy routines back in Edinburgh, I was able to muster enough energy to consider locumming again, having enjoyed this before. I didn't want to stay in familiar surroundings though, so I decided to take the only job away from home that offered free on-site accommodation - Inverness.
It was a pretty monastic life, staying in a very basic room, sharing a bathroom and kitchen with a couple of other locum consultants, but it had everything I needed. The job turned out to be highly rewarding too, working in acute and renal medicine, with colleagues that really seemed to enjoy their work. I also struck a good balance between work and play, the latter coming in the form of runs, swimming, and paddleboarding by a beautiful beach just 20 minutes away.
It was on one of my regular runs in fact, that something clicked, and I gained a perspective on my overall journey in medicine that I hadn't considered before... let me explain.
On a beautiful summer evening I took off on one of my usual runs, along a woodland path that followed a meandering river. I had my headphones on, and I was running at full pelt paying little attention to my surroundings. Coming towards the end of the run I slowed down, and suddenly realised I was, in fact, in a lot of pain; without my knowledge I had been stung multiple times by bushes of nettles and my legs were covered in a rash and cuts. In my distracted state, I simply had not registered I had been stung, done nothing to avoid hitting those nettles. Had I taken my time a little more, and been more conscious of where I was placing my feet, I would have avoided this situation. And that's when it hit me - that described my approach to my career, and my life, in general. Unpleasant events occurring? 'Just keep swimming', in the words of Dory. That's the doctor way.
This experience made me appreciate I couldn't afford to have such a binary attitude to reacting to my feelings; that of either being consumed with thoughts, or trying to blot them out completely. Like on the run, I had to slow down, considering where the nettle stings were occurring in my life, and adjust. I had to be more present. I had to stop ignoring clear warning signs. Because such negative energy was turning me in to a medic zombie, lifelessly shuffling through my career and complying to what were my enforced unrealistic expectations of myself. I understood then that in order to recover, I had to be more human - I had to appreciate and be curious of my suffering, rather than investing all my energy in to resisting it.
This is where Medizom was therefore born. Offering the cure to escape the medic zombie apocalypse. I wanted to help people understand that we all become medic zombies at times. It's only natural in which the culture that exists currently breeds such a state, but it isn't helped often by our complicated relationship with our egos, and our inability to switch off the voice in our head to gain clarity. When I allowed this - helped by the wonderful place I was working and the beautiful Highlands to explore on my time off - the answers to my problems came quickly. I worked with a GP who worked in the dialysis unit, who took time to sit with me and talk about my career, she put me in contact with a portfolio GP who worked within medical schools and in the GP setting. I finally could see a new journey forming, and I am proud to have found a path that resonates with my values and ambitions. I'm relieved that despite the nettle stings along my path, as seen in the graph above, I managed to find my own path, and step out my comfort zone to have the confidence to step off the conveyer belt when I knew the job was no longer serving me well.
Of course, this is by no means a holier-than-thou sermon. I'd be lying if I told you I was immune to self-doubt; every so often uncertainty creeps in, particularly when service provision seems to reign over my training. But there's solace, now. I know not to immediately trust my thoughts. Such an attitude has helped me to remain steadfast throughout the pandemic, with a doubling down of my certainty and fulfilment in my role. I'm grateful for the more difficult points of my climb now, as these points are where I learned the most. Because a career in medicine is a journey, not a destination. A mountain range, rather than a mountain top. In fact, you'll notice from the logo of Medizom that the 'M' is shaped like a mountain. In the same way as the most arduous of mountains to climb, just when you think you've made it to the top, you discover it's a blind summit and there's much further to go. There are also many twists and turns, and sometimes the way ahead can seem treacherous. But aren't the most challenging mountains to climb often the most rewarding? And of course there's satisfaction and relief at reaching the summit, but that feeling is fleeting - it's lonely at the top. It's far more healthy and motivating to seek value in the journey, rather than constantly seeking validation from the world by reaching vague 'destinations'. Don't live your life constantly saying 'I'll be happy when..."; focus on what you can do to take care of yourself NOW. Your interaction with the mountain range need not, indeed should not, be a linear path. The joy is in the zig and the zag.
The true joy in life is to be a force of fortune instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. "
George Bernard Shaw