"Are you actually a doctor?" A question I'd been asked many times while busking. "Because someone just collapsed over there and is on the floor." A follow-up I wasn't expecting.
I am taken a back and feel obliged to offer my other services. Quickly sorting out logistics, I look at my boom box and bag of cash. "We can watch that for you." They look trustworthy enough, so I hurry across the street to see what's up. I show up sweating bullets and feeling at least slightly ridiculous. I quickly learn the essentials -- she is talking. Airway, breathing and circulation intact. No loss of consciousness or head impact. Certainly nothing more to offer from my perspective. BLS is the only thing I could offer without additional tools anyways, and she certainly doesn't need that. There is also a cardiologist present, so I excuse myself and return to work.
Upon reflection, I began to wonder: am I actually a doctor? What does that even mean? I couldn't really do much for this woman who had fallen. Even if I could close in on a diagnosis using history taking, I wouldn't have been able to intervene in any way. A mechanic without his tools. What is a doctor who cannot intervene? I happen on a revelation. Perhaps a doctor isn't inherently a doctor at all, but only a doctor in the context of the workplace. Yes, I am a doctor, but that's a role I play somewhere else, just as a father is only a father when dealing with his children. The rest of the time, I am just a person.