Monday, May 16, 2016

how residency has already changed me

I'm almost a PGY2.  It's not really until this point have I really gotten a good understanding of what residents go through, with the hierarchy of academic medicine, the anxiety, the blues, being up at night wondering if you've done the right thing for a patient, and so on.

I'm constantly tired.  I'm almost always hungry and thirsty.  I wonder from time to time what my attendings think about me and what they say about me when they talk to each other.  I don't get to use the bathroom whenever I want, and it gets pretty uncomfortable.

I miss my family a lot.  I go without seeing friends for months because of work, irregular work hours, having to study a lot, and lack of energy.  A lot of my money goes to paying off student loans and I don't have much money to spend on making memorable days.

I feel like a replaceable cog in the giant machine of academic medicine.  I understand that I don't have a full medical license and I'm still in training, but it often feels like I'm undervalued and I'm just someone to plug holes in a schedule.  People only really engage me in conversation if it is about schedule conflicts with work.

I follow everyone's orders despite my judgment because I don't want to get fired from the program because I rocked the boat.

I'm cynical about medicine and have thought about leaving the field several times.  I constantly hope things will get better.  I really hope I thrive in residency and won't only barely survive it.

I know the attendings have had a hard life of training and I envy how little some work and how many just are able to stay in practice because they're lifted by the tide of resident effort when they actually make bad or strange clinical decisions.

The days, weeks, months all blend together and my year is this blur of stress, fatigue, medical emergencies, and the rare moment of feeling accomplished or happy.

I have a little more self-confidence in public now.  It's kind of cool being a doctor and people outside of medicine find me interesting and think I'm a hero, while everyone in academic medicine just sees me as the cog I described earlier and everything I do is unimportant.

My time off is very rare.  My schedules are rigid and inflexible.  It's impossible for me to schedule doctors appointments for myself some months..often several months in a row.

 Often times when I get home, it's already time for me to go to sleep.  I miss a lot of meals.  I'm very nauseated in the morning from being so tired and the effect of caffeine on my stomach that I don't eat breakfast and I'm often lightheaded and feel bad until I get to eat.  My fasts are often from 8pm to 2pm the next day.

I settle for a lot of quick meals that aren't that healthy for me.  I'm unhappy with the way my body is and I've only now been able to work up the energy and motivation to do something about it.

I see medical students and hope they will be happy in medicine.

I wake up sad and anxious.  Sad because I'm going to be away from my family and my dogs, and anxious for what the day has in store for me.

I have moments where I hold my dogs and they're everything in my life at that moment.  I want mor moments like that.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Depression and low self esteem in residency

I make a joke that I don't really know what self esteem is anymore.  I felt sort of hopeless the past several weeks and unhappy with residency but I found someone to talk to who is about to graduate from my program, and I feel better and more enlightened after talking to them.

A lot of residents I know feel overworked, not very satisfied with their work, feel like interchangeable cogs in a giant machine, feel undervalued, and feel like they don't have a meaningful experience of being mentored.

Residency is tiring, the learning curve is steep.  It's hard being a beginner surrounded by a lot of experts who criticize you more than mentor and help you.  I see why so many people switch residencies or quit altogether.

Here's an article, if you're interested in a look at multiple studies on the following:
Prevalence of Depression and Depressive Symptoms Among Resident Physicians

I feel like the rest of residency will be clinging onto the hope that things will get better and that I'll feel okay and be valued someday.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

another week of residency

Doing my best to hang in there.  Steep learning curve as usual.  Trying to do my best for my patients while also trying to impress my attendings.  A lot of my days involve hoping I have a nice attending or upper level and that I don't get disrespected too much by them or feel too belittled.  I'm getting used to being treated like I'm of little value and I think it has been making things a little more tolerable.

Also, knowing that there is an end to residency in the next several years is comforting.  I haven't even started the hardest parts, but I'm hoping I'll be tough enough to transition well into them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Surviving residency so far

I'm so tired and feel so worn out.  My life is a mess.  I haven't been able to keep up with anyone important in my life and I basically have no relationships at this point.  I'm exhausted but I have to keep going.  I have to find balance somehow. I have to find happiness again 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Keeping your head above water

I'm overwhelmed at this point in my training and I know it'll only get worse.  I'm trying to just keep breathing and make it through this year.  Residency isn't what I thought it would be and i struggle to balance my life with my studying and trying to meet expectations at work.  

I talked to some buddies the other day who are residents more senior than me and they say they're just trying to survive residency too.  One of them said residency is a long punishment and that sometimes there are good days, but it's constant stress.  

I just have to be resilient and learn as much as I can everyday, treating this like a marathon.

Wish me luck 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Late on updates

I've been so tired lately.  Intern year has been very..interny.  Doing your own lab draws, collecting urine..sigh.  I'm ready for next year 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Disrespect in medicine

I think it's about time I write this entry.  Since I've started medical school I've dealt with a lot of difficult personalities, some who genuinely mistreated me and others, including patients.

I would always "suck it up" and never say anything back when someone said something unnecessarily critical of me or not constructive, especially in front of a crowd, and including patients.

As much as I'd like to think there's no room for disrespect in medicine, it's just a given fact that mistreatment, abuse, and ridicule happens on a daily basis to a lot of people in their training.

I hate how a lot of it comes from people who you can't challenge because they're so high up in the hierarchy or have been in senior positions for so long.

I hate hearing about friends of mine being mistreated and disrespected.

I and others shouldn't feel powerless though, because we can fill out evaluations on people like that so their behavior gets called to attention and something gets done about it.  I encourage everyone to do it.