As I reflect on M3 year, some experiences stand out:

The first time my pager went off, and I realized I did not know how to read a page. I have since figured it out. That, and how to take a history, do an appropriate exam, write a note, put in orders, talk to nurses, staff with the Attending, scrub in to surgery, get along with residents, tie knots. So. Many. Things. So many MORE things to learn still.

The time I tried to hug a patient during Psychiatry. Turned out she was not a hugger. I could have sworn she was coming in for a hug…maybe changed her mind at the last minute. It was ok though. I patted her back. I think she felt comforted despite my awkwardness

The time I had to do a pelvic exam in Family Medicine, and I “lost” the cervix. Turns out the lady had not had a hysterectomy, and she did, in fact, have a cervix. I had to call for help. And I got help. And nobody was upset.

The time I had my first night shift in Ob/Gyn. Here’s how that went:

Showed up at 7:30pm. Pumped. This is gonna be great.
Coffee: check! Tea for later: check! Snacks: check, check! Let’s have some babies!!

9:40pm: the first patient is pushing. Sweet. Delivers a healthy baby. I got to hand the doc the hemostats. I’m pretty sure I gave her the wrong ones. It’s all good!

11:30pm: second delivery! I mostly just stood there. Still it’s fun. I could do this all night.

12:30am: ER consult. Not that I’m tired, but I wouldn’t say no to a quick nap. 1:25am: trying to study. Words look blurry

An hour later…

1:35am: pretty sure time is slowing down. Oh I know…tea time!!

2:00am: got called in to retract. Finally, something to do. Retracted like a pro. Didn’t drop anything. Doctor thanked me. No, no…thank YOU doc.

3:15am: head bob

3:25am: pretty sure I just did the head bob again. This is embarrassing.

3:26am: head bob

4:00am: reading. And head bobbing.

4:30am: can’t recall if I’ve ever been this tired

5:30am: where am I? Oh yeah reading. Why won’t these cervixes dilate?!?

6:30am: morning people are trickling in. They look so fresh.

7:30am: someone tells me I look like I just got off the night shift…

It was a long night but I made it.

All the times I got sad, mad and frustrated during Neurology. Because Neurology cases can be saddening, maddening and frustrating. I’ve never felt more helpless and useless. I found myself spending time just listening to the patients, because sometimes there’s nothing you can do but listen.

The time I did CPR on a patient during Internal Medicine. And then she died. For some reason I did not expect my first code to die. Afterall, it’s my first code. But you know, it’s not about me.

The time I had a bad experience with an attending, and I hesitated to report it. The metal anguish I went through was insane. Me, report an attending? But then the attending will know where it’s coming from. What if I’m just overreacting? But I knew I was not overreacting. So I did the right thing and told the right people.

The time I broke the sterile field during a Gynecological Surgery. I got kicked out of the surgery. I never thought I’d survive the humiliation. But I did.

All the times I thought I wouldn’t make it through the day, but proceeded to not only make it through the day, but I made it through the week, through the month, through the semester and through the year.

So how does all this relate to becoming the physician I want to be? I realize that sometimes I will be more tired than I ever thought imaginable. I am learning to rest and recharge whenever I get the opportunity. I am learning to be humble, to give comfort to my patients in a way that works best for them, to not take myself too seriously. I have learned to ask for help when I need it. (seriously, ALWAYS ask for help). I am learning to trust my instincts and to do right thing. Even when doing the right thing is very hard.

 

 

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