Archive for July, 2010

The First Fourteen Days

Well, I finally made it to my first day off, and well, I didn’t kill anyone. This month has been kicking my arse all over the place and it’s not even half over yet. So much has happened, I don’t even know where to start. So we will try it like this.

Week 1: I was the senior resident who had to give a previously healthy 17-year-old girl and her family the diagnosis of severe metastatic Ewing sarcoma. Translation, really really bad cancer, that has a less than 1% five-year survival rate. Found out that one of my long time patients ( since I was a medical student) died at the age of 14, very shortly after his 14th birthday actually, of leukemia. Realized that my co-senior was a controlling, power loving, power tripping, condescending, obsessive compulsive wench. Had to tell a lovely family that there was no medicine that could fix their little 4 month old daughter, even though we used medicine to bring her back to life when we probably had no real business doing so. Realized that I had already worked 67 hours in 5 days. Diagnosed a 3-year-old, previously healthy boy with lymphoma. Realized that no matter how hard I worked and tried, it would never be good enough for my attending who only sees me as a meer second year senior, and thus can’t or rather isn’t capable of doing anything as well as the previously described 3rd year senior. Had an emotional break down in the bathroom in the middle of the work day, and just cried in the bathroom for about five minutes, then at the end of the day, proceeded to cry in my car on the way home, then cry myself to sleep. All the while not really understanding, or knowing, why I was crying. Finished the week by getting elegantly tipsy with the whole team, including the attending and the medical students at happy hour on Friday.

Week two: Started on Saturday. New attending. Much more experienced attending.  Did my first totally unsupervised LP, in which I was teaching the intern how to do the LP. Nailed it on my second try. Had my first night of call in the Pediatric ICU. There I learned the three-year old with the lymphoma was slowing getting better with the chemotherapy, but was still intubated. Met a little boy who was adopted from Ethiopia, only to get the crap beat out of him, and have his brains bashed in by his adoptive parents. Got the chance to see this kid slowly get better each day to the point where by the end of the second week he was able to talk, and move, and may even get to get his skull put back in his head. I realized that I was going to have to be more assertive with my co-senior and not let her walk all over me, but I was just going to have to let some things go, but well…I also realized that she really can’t help herself. My brand new interns were getting the hang of things. Hadn’t gone running for 15 days in a row.

I know there are somethings I left out. So much happened during those days. My days were so long, and that first week, I was so miserable. I couldn’t even enjoy my work. All of it had to do with the team dynamics. Let me tell you, it was really awful. I was really tried. I couldn’t wait for today. I mean, I got to sleep in till 6:30, didn’t actually leave my bed till around 7:20. I finally went for a run. I mean, sure, I was already 85 degrees outside, but I still loved it. I still needed it.

Being a senior in July is hard. You have brand new interns, brand new responsibilities, and you have to figure out how to find balance again. It’s hard. This time last year I also had the luxury of only having to focus on work. Now I have other things in mix and I have to find time for everything, without losing myself. I needed this day off, cause I am not sure how much longer I could have gone. It was tough. Yes, it’s getting better, but I don’t know. I am afraid of every call I take because I know I will be covering the pediatric ICU, and I am still so not comfortable with that. I am still so scared. I haven’t even read at all yet. No educational power points. No nothing, I do plan on reading today, but still. Its a lot.

I am just not comfortable with this new role yet. I guess, it has only been 14 days, but still. I am petrified, and well, tired too!


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