Friday, March 24, 2017

Wearing thin

I'm a few hours into another call and I'm exhausted.  I've started feeling sad again and am even more physically exhausted than before.  I thought about switching residencies for a while. I thought about leaving medicine as part of my future a couple of weeks ago.   I'm just so tired and feel pretty blue.  I'm on call all the time and never feel rested.  I've been getting better at my job but I think I just need time off or a different schedule, even though that's impossible.  

I'm so exhausted in every sense of the word that it erodes my hope of feeling happy and feeling better again.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Staying resilient

I haven't posted in a while since I've been so exhausted.  Things are generally better these days but I'm so tired all the time.  I've had the blues for a while, just a sadness that lingers and seems to follow me everywhere at work.  I still laugh and joke with colleagues and have bonded with them some more but a lot of my work feels lonely and tiring.  I hope you're all doing well, many of my readers have matched, too!   

Let me know if you have any questions about intern year or residency, it has sure been a journey so far.   

Friday, February 24, 2017

PGY 3 on the horizon

It's been a while since I've written. I've been on call so frequently and so exhausted. I think I've been better at managing my anxiety and burnout but I still feel like those are present in my life every day.  I miss my loved ones a lot and constantly feel like I'm away on a mission. 

The good thing I that I've been come clinically better.  I'm a better physician than I was starting out.  I'm just so tired physically and spiritually.  This blog is still my avenue to obtain fresh air so to speak, by writing and expression.  Everyone says residency gets better and it gives me some hope, but I still don't feel like things are getting better yet.  I'm still waiting to see that.  

Hoping I can rest spirit some and just clear my mind sometime. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Express Yourself

I'm working post call.  Just another day.   I got to talk to a senior resident about what I'm going through and he said he went through the same thing as me!  It made me feel so much better that I'm not alone.  I've known the resident for a long time and they told me they've noticed I have changed.

Residency is hard.  People drop out. People switch specialties even 2 years into residency.  If you don't have a support structure, build one!  It's so important. If you're not comfortable talking to people in your residency, make friends in other fields at your hospital and talk, even ancillary staff.  

People in the medical world work very hard, down to the techs and people who clean the operating rooms.  I just live in a constant state of exhaustion, hunger, and thirst.  I am careful about how much water and caffeine I take in because I don't want to be stuck with having to go to the bathroom when there's so much to do or I'm in a case.  

Another aspect of residency is working with people in other fields and building my reputation as someone knowledgeable and trustworthy.  So far it's been good. I can't emphasize how important it is to introduce yourself to the people you work with, even if it's just one call shift for a few minutes. 

Going to make it through this week for some hard earned rest. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Resident Check In

Just checking in with everyone, wanted to let you all know I'm doing okay.   I'm just so exhausted.

A lot of my colleagues in my year are feeling symptoms of "burnout," or just feeling exhausted emotionally, physically, and psychologically.  I think it's acting synergistically with my own negative feelings.  At least some people appreciate my sense of humor in this exhausting, stressful, anxiety-inducing time.  Sort of makes me feel a little better.

Residency is so much more tiring than college and medical school.  Sometimes you'll be lucky if you don't work two weeks straight.  Taking a sick day because you actually are ill requires calling and e-mailing a lot of people at once and your absence is pretty disruptive to a service, especially if you work somewhere with a high patient census all the time.  And people might even be mad or upset with you or be disappointed in you.  It's a very strange system.

This blog has really been helping me maintain my mental health.  You can't really understand what residency is like until you do it, and it affects a lot of people differently.  

We don't work 40 hours a week.  There's no overtime.  There's no 5 day work weeks.  You might work 80+ hours a week for a year and there's no bonus, no special compensation except for maybe a $5 meal voucher when you're on 30+ hour call.  Even when it's shift change and there's an emergency, you do your duty and you stay the extra 1-2 hours to keep someone stable and save their life.

We stay late after starting our days at 430AM and spend inordinate amounts of time on the phone to make sure that patient gets seen by neurology in time, or beg to get our patient seen urgently because they have a new diagnosis of a serious problem and there's no room in the clinic for 3 months.

Everything about medicine is so tiring.  The administrative things, the legal aspects, how physically demanding it is to not eat, drink, or use the bathroom for hours at a time when you're already sleep deprived and being pulled in 27 directions at once.

I guess I'm in the process of getting stronger.  I just need some rest.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Rough day

 I guess a good way to describe residency is a series of highs and lows, even in the same day.  I had a rough day and feel pretty bad.  I didn't hurt a patient or cause a delay in care.  It was just rough for some dumb reasons.

I used to think I was the only one having a bad day sometimes, but we all do as residents.
Once, one of my friends and co residents said he was made to feel so bad he questioned his career decision.

People should know we don't get much respect as residents.  Medicine is better than in the past when surgeons would throw scalpels and syringes.  One surgeon I heard of cut an intern with a scalpel because he "kept getting in the way.".   I've witnessed hazing of surgery residents and fellows and swearing in the OR directed at trainees. I've also seen demeaning insults casually thrown at residents during patient conferences.

I wonder how everyone gets through the discouragement sometimes.  


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Developing as a young doctor

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post and I have to say things have been getting better.  Which is something that doesn't usually happen.

Work is usually hard, fast-paced, tiring, sometimes stressful.  These past 2 weeks, however, have been "okay."  They've been better than last month, though.

There've been some hang ups getting used to the new system but I've dealt with them pretty well and have been functioning well there.  It's a lot like rock climbing, it takes time to find your footing, but after that, you keep climbing.  

I guess I get pretty anxious about new situations and the constant adaptation process, but those just come with residency.  I really want to be stronger and more resilient.  

I feel like better times might be over the horizon, and I think I might have caught glimpses of it.  I hope I will eventually be less in "survival mode," and thrive more.

On another note, my work-life balance has been good.  It will only last for another week or two, though.  I'm proud to say I've finally been exercising more and feel like I've been making some progress in improving my overall health.

This is the rare sunny day during residency, and I'm fully embracing it.  Good days do come to us.