Took a hiatus. I’m sorry. But hopefully I’m back. Making no promises with my crappy schedule. But here I am. As I told one of my patients yesterday: let’s take it day by day, ok?
So. I did 2 months of psychiatry. I loved it, the hospital, the patients (mostly), the staff, everything. I felt stupid at first, then got the hang of it. Then on my last day I did an impromptu half hour teaching session about psychopharmacology with the medical students and I thought: well, I actually know more than I do. And that was awesome obviously.
But then I started medicine. A month of it. It’s been a week. Let’s just say I’ve found myself teary eyed in the bathroom or when I’m alone in the work room at random times. Yeah, it’s that bad.
And it’s not the team I’m working with. The team is great (except the attending, more on that below). It’s the fucking schedule. Minimum 12 hour shifts (that mostly turn to 13 or 14), 6 days a week. I bet you can guess which day of the week I have off, judging by the date on this post….and how frequent my potential posts will be.
The attending I started off with was good. He was chill and relaxed. The attending I have now is an overachiever. And I don’t bode well with that. I’m the chill type of person, by doctor standards, that is. No wonder I ended up in psychiatry, it’s the chill people specialty. I did enough overachieving during my teens. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I feel stupid 24/7 and it’s taking a toll on me. Last time I did medicine was a year ago. “Rusty” is an understatement for my current status. It’s like I never went to med school and need a refresher course on everything. At least during my 2 months of psychiatry I felt marginally stupid but knew some things. Here it’s just straight up embarrassing every time I have to round on patients in front of the team, especially the attending.
My attending gave me feedback yesterday. He said nothing I didn’t know already, about my performance anxiety apparently having no reason to be as I seem more sure of myself, about how I should brush up on what my patients have to refresh my memory….but what really hit me was him saying “study on those topics even if it’s 2 minutes”.
Haha! Dude. SERIOUSLY?! I have no time to take my trash out in a whole week and my apartment stinks, let alone study. And let’s be honest, I don’t care about the topics. As terrible as that sounds. I just want to be done with these four weeks and marginally pass, setting the bar as low as possible so that the next psychiatry cointern that comes around doesn’t get treated like shit. I just want to know the basics so I’ll know when to recognize a medical problem in my psychiatry patients in the future.
Dude: just tell me what to do. And I’ll do it. Don’t expect me to be interested, though.
He did, however, reiterate something my program director has told me a few times before and something I’m proud of: that it shows I have good rapport with my patients. And really, as long as I know the basics and have good rapport with my patients, I’ll be set. No need for me to overachieve. It’s not like I have the time for it, either way. I’ll worry about studying for real when I get back to psychiatry and neurology rotations (and I’ll have the time for it).
So, medicine…it sucks and I would rather do 10 batches of laundry in a single day than do this for a prolonged amount of time (and trust me, I HATE doing laundry).
Yesterday I couldn’t take it anymore. A patient started masturbating as I was interviewing him. Yes, you read that right. Hello, trigger! Hello, feeling disgusted and used! And of course, nobody in the team gave a shit except the females. Then another patient’s family was driving me nuts with wanting special treatment for the patient.
And already my head had gone over to dark places because another patient was irritated with me when I went to talk to her. I found myself thinking about suicide, yes, solidly for the first time in a while.
I was able to manage the thoughts. But yesterday I couldn’t take it anymore. I got to my apartment at 9:30pm and just started bawling. How can anyone live through this? Why is this necessary? I just want to help people and lead a balanced life. Is that too hard to ask for?
I texted the Russian. And he got worried. He came over. Cuddled and held me while I cried like a baby and just let everything out of my chest. Everything including our current crappy relationship situation, or whatever it is, because both of us have shitty schedules and barely interact. Started crying even harder after I told him I didn’t want to get depressed again (he knows I’ve been depressed, although not in detail….I’ll get around to that when things are more stable between us).
And I guess I just needed a good cry and a day off, because today I feel better. I was able to finally clean my apartment.
I’m not depressed. Not yet. And I hope not ever again. But I know myself better than anyone else, and I know that if I don’t get enough sleep or enough balance in my life, I will fall down that slippery slope quick. And medicine is exactly the type of environment that depression festers in.
No wonder there’s so much physician suicide. But that’s nothing new to me, really. It’s just more tangible when you’re no longer a student and are actually in the front lines. I honestly think it’s unnecessary for one to work 14 hours straight, 6 days a week, and expect to be ON all those hours…sometimes having to skip breakfast or lunch. Nobody gets a sticker for toughing it out. What’s the point, then? My attending went so far as to make the medical students rotating with us come to hospital tomorrow, on a holiday. His reason? “Well, in my day, when I was a medical student…” Seriously dude? Times a-change. Get over it. I have to go because it’s my work, but the med students? Come on.
And…I’ve gotten more shit from my medicine patients in one week than I did from my psychiatry patients in 2 months. Oh the irony. Especially since people think psychiatry patients are “the difficult patients”. Pfffffft. Sure.
I try my best. I really do. And my intentions are good. But it’s difficult not to have your morale eroded quickly with so much crap going on.
And that, my friends, is my current “life”, for lack of a better word. Everyone keeps telling me it will be over soon, but soon isn’t soon enough. I want it to be over now.
And because I like to finish things on a lighter note: it seems things with the Russian are turning more solid/stable every day. His schedule is going to be better now, apparently. Can’t say the same for me, unfortunately. We’ll see what happens.