Monday, March 1, 2010

Work It

So, I haven't written much about work this year. Mostly that's because I'm there all the time, exhausted when I get home, and don't want to spend any more time thinking about it. And partly it's because I know most of you really just want to see pictures of Brynna!

8 months in, I am a much better doctor than I was 6 months ago. Intern year is the steepest learning curve of a doctor's entire career, which is exhilarating and draining in about equal measure. I have learned a ton...and the number of things I don't know is still staggering!

I'm currently in the middle of a 6-week block of taking care of adults who are in the hospital, which is my least favorite rotation. The patients can be very sick and/or psychosocially frustrating, and there are a lot of weekend hours. The other day I was reading the local paper and turned to the obits to see not just one, but two of our recent patients. There wasn't anything I could have done differently for either (and I already knew about both deaths, having pronounced one of them in the hospital), but jeez.

Things have also become a bit more emotionally draining over the last couple of weeks because Brynna has taken to screaming "mama! mama!" hysterically when I get out of bed in the morning, even if we've nursed and snuggled for a little while. She calms down pretty quickly, and if she and Alex make it downstairs before I leave the house, she waves goodbye happily enough, but it's still not very pleasant.

On the other hand, I got a hug from one of my favorite patients when I saw her in the outpatient clinic last week. I love having my own panel of patients, and am now starting to see some faces repeatedly and really get to know people. That continuity is the reason I chose family medicine, and I am loving watching people's stories unfold over time, and getting to know families as a complete unit. I have gotten several nice compliments from patients recently about how they really feel like I listen to them and try to help them, which always brightens my day.

Our residency talks a lot about the doldrums of February of intern year, and generally my whole class is bearing up well. As alarming as it is to think about becoming a senior resident in July, responsible for supervising the incoming residents, I am also very much looking forward to a better schedule with significantly less call. Alex is too, of course—because my hours essentially become his hours!

Despite occasional (OK, fairly frequent) fantasies of teaching yoga, being a bioethicist, or working as a paramedic—y'know, jobs where normal hours are 40 a week, not 80—I think I'm doing the right thing in the the right place. But I still desperately desire more sleep and more time with my family.

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