Five months into a pessimist’s third year

[Excerpts from my personal journal, 5 months apart]

Rotation order: Medicine, Surgery, Peds, OB-Gyn, Flex

Tuesday 5/6/2014 – First week on medicine

Things that went not so well: I am not as charismatic as I can be when I am in a new environment. And around my co-student I feel inadequate.

 I am confused by what to learn. What is high yield any more? (I know, I hate that I just said that.)

I am scared to be wrong in a group. I am a bit of a perfectionist (harhar, a bit?)

I have trouble focusing sometimes in rounds, but they go by faster than I think.

Things to work on: STOP comparing yourself to others. Stop expecting yourself to be perfect. Be more relaxed and fun and be yourself (I know its hard). Smile more. Enjoy it all and stop worrying so much about not getting it instantly. Be more thankful to those around you.

Things that I feel good about: got to do chest compressions on a guy who eventually had return of spontaneous circulation :D. I learned that all 100lbs of me can do adequate chest compressions  for a minute, which is enough in a hospital.

I am learning about what is important, and it is only my first week

Friday 10/17/2014 — last two weeks of surgery

I am very tired of third year. I just want to rest and have a normal holiday. I want to work for meaning. As I become less curious, I feel like more and more of what I  do Is still for grades, which is a surprise because I thought that I would start doing less and less for grades as the year went on . At the start, I still imagined that I would want to see everything in medicine. But this Friday, I skipped what could have been my one chance to see a mastectomy but I just stopped caring, snoozed my alarm and went back to sleep. I want to go to work with real goals other than grades. I have lost my enthusiasm to learn everything like I did on medicine. General surgery was so draining it still makes me question whether I want to do ENT. I am furthermore scared by the skill level required of head and neck surgery and the high stakes of the surgical real estate. And all the while I still know so little. When I finished my medicine block, I thought I had a really mastered a chunk of medicine – enough to tide me over until I am a sub-I, and even, if I so chose, until I became a medicine intern. On surgery, I am still pretty lost as to what I’ve actually learned – particularly which parts are applicable to the transition to becoming a surgical intern.

In other news,I helped my mother a little bit with her medical problems two days ago and that made me feel good. But when (surprise, surprise) I couldn’t come to her rescue and it wasn’t resolved, I felt helpless again. I wish I could be there for her to be her guardian when she sees the English speaking doctors. But I am so far away, and all I can do is be exasperated with her now that she’s  the patient who wants to be seen without an appointment. I told her to be likable to her doctor so that he will treat her better, as her white doctor would be more likely to commiserate with her if she seemed less foreign and ignorant – I worry that this is a reflection of how I practice.

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