In the Life of a Fickle Intern

March 20, 2013

Content

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 21:57

It’s been a really long time since I’ve felt this content with what’s going on in my life. I’ve been happy; I’ve been sad; I’ve been stressed, and during all of these time, I’ve had this overshadowing feeling of tiredness and heaviness, mostly due to my seemingly endless to-do lists and deadlines. Residency can be kind of a bitch at times, and more often than not this last year in particular, I’ve had my waves of feeling really burnt out. Though it was stressful, this last month and a half has left me feeling very accomplished, which in my mind goes hand in hand with feeling content. I survived yet another ICU month while studying and taking two national board exams (one of which took a huge chunk out of my paycheck in addition to TWO full days of my life), giving my first lecture, getting my first case accepted to a national academic journal, running my first half marathon while maintaining somewhat of a social life. I’m totally impressed with myself for just surviving with all of my hair intact!

Now that all of that is done and over with, I am pretty much on cruise control until the end of the academic year (June). I’m back in an Emergency Department of some sort just working and learning, as it should be. Gosh, it’s such a good feeling. Apart from a few minor things (taxes?), my calendar is completely clear of big, blocked out, red deadlines. This is a really great feeling to have as I approach the end of my 2nd year of residency and the start of my LAST year of training. Though that is stressful in itself, it’s kind of exciting.

To celebrate, I am starting a brand new, non-medical, fun book (thanks for the recommendation, Megan!) while planning my upcoming vacation. To be fair, I’m a pretty positive person and I can find something good out of most situations and overall, I’ve really enjoyed residency, but I am truly content right now, which is very rare. I am loving this feeling. I’m going to enjoy it as long as it last.

February 2, 2013

Anticipatory Stress

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 23:39

I have a problem with anticipation, whether it’s good anticipation or bad anticipation. It goes hand in hand with my mild-obsession with my calendar (and partial Type A personality). I check and update my calendar a lot. These next two months are going to be busy, not necessarily bad busy, but just busy. I have my yearly in-service, national Emergency Medicine board, my junior case presentation, Step 3 (last of 3 national boards!), and I am running my first half-marathon, all while rotating through the Burn ICU (hello 80 hour weeks!). In the midst of all of this, I am going to Las Vegas for AAEM . Just typing everything is sort of stressing me out. Though I often tell my friends who are stressing out that they should take one day at a time, it’s much harder to follow my own advice, especially now that I’ve started to study for these silly tests that I keep having to take. I don’t know how I used to study so much (10-12 hrs a day for 30 days straight for Step 1)! Now, it’s hard even to motivate myself to study after working all day. However, despite it all, as ironic as it may seem, I think I do much better when I’m busy and stressed. Due to my time limitation, I am much more productive and I procrastinate a lot less, or so I tell myself. With that being said, I may have to go old-school and make a study schedule. I have a lot of practice questions to get through and not so much time. I don’t know how this schedule got to be so hectic, but for now, I just need to keep reminding myself to take deep breaths. Just have to get through the next two months. Sigh.

December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 19:16

I think this is the first time I’ve ever really wanted a year to end. Though compared to everything else that’s going on in the world, things in my life are pretty inconsequential. Nonetheless, I’ve had my ups and downs this year, more downs than I’m used to. Sadly, I think it’s just part of residency. This has been confirmed by many, many friends and acquaintances going through the same process. Though everything is fine and great now, this year has definitely been a tough one to get through with a lot of little hurtles to overcome. I’m just grateful to not be an intern anymore! My mom has dutifully pointed out that I may have a bald spot from all the hair I lost secondary to stress last year. Such a rewarding reminder of intern year. It’ll grow back, right?

Two thousand thirteen is going to be a big year, whether I want it to be or not. Last leg (1.5 years to be exact) of residency! By the fall of 2013, I will hopefully have a job, a real life, paying job with semi-normal people hours waiting for me when I graduate. Scary!

Though I don’t have resolutions, I do have some goals for the upcoming year: make more time for friends, master the control of my sleep cycle (somehow…), be more social (apparently being tired from work is a lame excuse not to go out according to some people), eat more vegetables, and be more empathetic to my patients (even if they just want some dilaudid). I think these are reasonable!

As for tonight, though I will drag myself from the warmth of my apartment to be semi-social, I think I ultimately will have some alone time with my new-found friend, Sudafed. I have this terrible cold that keeps me nice and congested, waking me up several times a night to say hi. Work is even more brutal when you can’t breathe!

Again, happy new year! Please have a safe and wonderful night! Don’t drink and drive! And the best wishes for the year to come!

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 19:58

Residency is tough, but it’s the hardest during the holiday season because unlike most jobs, every day is the same for us. We don’t get holidays (or weekends or nights…). Last year, I missed my first family Thanksgiving; this year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Though I have a great family away from home and I did get to see my own family a few weeks ago, it still kind of sucks. I’m actually on a very light rotation, working on average of 3-4 hours a day just learning, mostly. However, despite having all my weekends off, I’m on sick call, meaning that I am expected to be available 24/7 to cover anyone who gets sick. We all have to do it, but I am still going to pout about it. I can’t travel. I can’t drink. I am just available.

To make the best of this situation (spending Christmas away from home), I have situated myself on the couch surrounded by girl scout cookies, chocolate and hot cocoa. I am hosting my own ABC Family and Disney movie marathon, which is intermittently interrupted with phone calls and text messages from my family and friends. It’s actually kind of nice, in a weird kind of way. Though spending Christmas away from home is not ideal, spending Christmas day doing nothing is kind of amazing.  It’s a free pass to indulge in a guilt-free, chocolate-eating, tv-watching laziness.

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season with lots of friends, family, food and laughter! Happy holidays!

November 2, 2012

November

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 18:26

Fall is my favorite season. I love the food, the warm drinks (hot chocolate!), the colors, everything! This year, I have even more to look forward to, especially in November and December. Starting this week, I have become nocturnal. For the next 5 weeks, I will only work night shifts. In return, I have every single weekend off starting with this upcoming weekend until 2013. I haven’t had this many weekends off since the start of medical school!

Though I am super excited about my free weekends, I am a little worried my body is not going to handle the nocturnal change for such an extensive amount of time very well. I am terrible, horrible day time sleeper. I am definitely a morning person and more importantly, I need my 7-8 hours of sleep or else I am just not very fun to be around. When I work nights, I end up averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep and by the end of a string of shifts, I am a zombie. It’s like  being constantly jet-lagged for 5 weeks straight! I am going to have to do some research about how to get more sleep during the day.

As for my weekends, I am going to start the month out with some post-birthday celebration with some friends. Luck has it so this year, I am working on every holiday, including my own birthday. You name it and I’m probably working: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. Such is the life of a resident. However, to make full use of my time off, I already have a few weekend trips planned so far. I may go utterly broke from my weekend getaways, but I sure do love this weekend concept! I cannot wait to reconnect with some of my long lost friends!

 

 

August 19, 2012

Secret

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 16:40

The secret to residency. 🙂

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August 10, 2012

q3

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 21:09

For this month on trauma, I have a q3 call schedule, which means that every third day, I stay at the hospital for 28 hours to take admissions. It’s been a great month so far, much easier now that I’m a second year and  I’m more familiar with the system. With this call schedule, I feel like I am always at the hospital, which is mostly true. With my rare time off, I run errands, do laundry, go grocery shopping, and do normal people stuff. For my first two weeks, I had one day off which I didn’t even notice. I had gotten into the routine. This week, I had two days off, not consecutively, which is nothing, but I found myself completely restless. I recent read an article about how society harps on maintaining a busy schedule, and I couldn’t help but relate. My first day off, I lazed around, did errands, cooked dinner, and loved every idle minute that I had. On my second day off, I had no errands to do, no laundry to wash, no food to prepare. I laid around, read, napped, and by 1 pm, I was going stir-crazy. It was ridiculous. I had gotten used to working all the time, at least for the past three weeks, that I had no idea what to do with myself when I had the day off. I felt disconnected. It was a weird feeling. I ended up doing the only I know when I’m restless – I went to Target. This is an old habit from medical school, but whenever I feel a little out of it, I just go walk around Target. I’m so incredibly odd, I know, but it made me feel less disconnected. I look forward to having a semi-normal schedule one day.

May 23, 2012

Oh, Baltimore.

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 21:06

Baltimore has not been kind to me this year. Even before I made the official move, I was naive enough to fall for a scam losing a good chunk of change by putting down a deposit on a place I hadn’t seen. That was completely my fault for being so incredibly trusting and inexperienced. When I moved here, my apartment has found ways to give me additional stress, as if being an intern was not enough.

On arrival to Baltimore, I found an empty box that once held books that I had sent myself from Memphis sitting outside my door. Twenty-two years of yearbooks completely gone. I had to let it all go, but I definitely spent hours on the phone with the postal service trying to locate my memories. Things were ok until the weather became colder. All winter long, my heating system kept on breaking down so the temperature in my apartment stayed at a nice, cool 60-65 degrees fahrenheit for months and months. If it were not for space heaters and down blankets and lots of sweatshirts, I think I might have frozen to death. However, because of my space heaters using whatever voltage they used, the electricity fuse kept on blowing out. I either woke up or came home to a dark, electricity-less apartment at least a dozen times. It was frustrating, but whatever, it was temporary. Minor details, right?

The first time I was broken into and had my laptop stolen, I shrugged it off. It’s Baltimore. Everyone will eventually lose something. I wasn’t hurt. It was over. I was gone for an extended period of time. I made arrangements to move at the end of my lease. I even got renter’s insurance. I thought it was done and over with. However, very unfortunately, and more frustrating than anything else, I got broken into a second time this last weekend. This time, both my replacement laptop and my iPad were taken. Even my cell phone charger was taken! Unlike the first time, my composure was nowhere to be found. I might or might not have gone in a minor hysterical emotional crisis. I had stepped out for an exactly an hour to get coffee down the street. An hour! How scary is that?! The police responded right away and the maintenance people responded as soon as I called, but it still felt too late. I felt so violated and vulnerable. I pretty much cried all day. Worst of all, I had to work nights all weekend. I came into work with red, puffy eyes and as soon as anyone would ask me what was wrong, I went into a another crying spell. Though it may seem counterintuitive, I was really glad to be at work that night, surrounded by people I knew. The crying eventually stopped.

Despite it all, I am determined not to let Baltimore and all the mess that it has to offer get me down. Through all of these experiences, I am reminded again and again of what an amazing support network I have, both locally and from afar. After this second break in, within a few hours, I had a place to crash for the weekend and more impressively, a temporary apartment to stay in until my lease was up. My family called endlessly offering everything from emotional support to financial support. I didn’t take them up on that second offer but I did find a random deposit in my bank account yesterday. Everyone in my program who knew of the incident offered up their homes to me, whether it was on their couch or in their spare bedroom. I even got offered a few days off to get things together by my boss. I didn’t take the offer, but I was grateful to have had that option.

Now that everything is slowly returning to normal, I feel a little less vulnerable. I am grateful that I wasn’t there when the robber broke in. Though the whole thing might have not happened if I never left. Who knows?  Nonetheless, life moves on, and more importantly, everything will be ok. Right…?

April 7, 2012

Pedi-Geriatric Emergency Medicine

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 11:15

I’ve made up my mind. I want to practice Pedi-geriatic emergency medicine. I want to work with kids under the age of 13 and adults over the age of 65. They are my favorite people to see in the ED. In a way, they’re very similar – they have no idea what’s going on, they’re usually super cute, and most of the time, when they come in sick, they’re very sick. I am biased because I judge my patients on how huggable they appear to be and that is how I came up with my age bracket . (Disclaimer: I don’t randomly hug patients, though to be honest, I do think about it sometimes!) Unfortunately, this is a made-up emergency specialty. You can specialize in one or the other, but at this point in time, no such specialty exist. Maybe one day when I’m older and wiser and more experienced, I can request only to see cute kids and old adults as part of my contract. You never know!

Glad to be back in an ED this month.

 

 

February 20, 2012

Kidlets

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 23:58

I’d forgotten how much I love kids. The smaller and the cuter they are, the more I just want to play with them. I’m having a really good month reacquainting myself with the little people. Working with adults has definitely made me a little jaded about mankind. From the drug addicts to the people who do stupid things to themselves, I was definitely starting to feel a little burnt out by the end of last month in the adult ED.

However, unlike the adults I see, the majority of the kids are so clean (!) and so cute. They are super sweet and it makes me melt a little bit every time I get a hug from one of them, which is more frequent than not. The medicine has been really interesting too! I’ve seen everything from mild colds to crazy congenital cases to really sad stuff like abuse and neglect. The variety has been fascinating!

When I chose to go into EM instead of Pediatrics third year of medical school, I was pretty sure that I had committed myself to adult medicine. However, considering how much I am enjoying this month, the idea of doing a fellowship in Pediatric ER and working with both has definitely crossed my mind. Knowing myself, I’ll change my mind another two hundred more times before I settle on anything. As for now, I’ll just enjoy all my little hugs (not to mention all the screaming and crying that comes along with the territory.)

Kids are so cute!

 

 

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