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Jun 30, 2009

Up To My Ears

Let me be honest here. I'm really, really overwhelmed.

It's unfortunate that I feel this way, since I happen to be on one of the easiest rotations of the year. This fact means that the rest of the year will only get harder and be worse, though perhaps, as my friend suggests, I will be used to life by then and it won't be so hard. But for now, I'm not totally sure which way is up.

Patrick and I are both working, but Patrick is on a busier service this month, so his hours are longer. He goes in about 6:30 in the morning, gets home around 6:30 in the evening, and has overnight call once or twice a week. That is no fun, working hours like those. But there's a catch: that's the only thing he's doing.

My hours are shorter, more like a normal working day. 7 or 8 am to 4 or 5 pm, with a lunch break most days. Shouldn't be too bad, right? It's not. The people are nice, the patients are interesting, the families are cute. It's everything else that I'm having trouble keeping up with.

Since Patrick has to be at work before me, I take care of Colin in the morning, often meaning that Patrick and I leave at the same time so I can get Colin to the sitter. Since Patrick works later than I do, I pick Colin up from the sitter, get him home, fed, bathed, loved. I take care of the dogs in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. I clean the house. I make dinner for us. I keep in touch with our family and friends. Also, I try to study for my own purposes, those currently being not failing Peds.

I'm overwhelmed.

When I was still performing, I used to have incredibly vivid dreams in the weeks leading up to the production. I would dream that I had accidentally fallen asleep on stage and the director and the other actors or singers were standing in a circle around me yelling at me. So I would get up and walk around the stage, but I was too tired to remember my words or music or lyrics. I would work in a way to lie down into my staging. I always awoke from these dreams disoriented and exhausted, like my brain was making sure I was practicing and on my game even in my sleep.

The last two nights I've had dreams revolving around seeing patients, losing my white coat, getting lost in the clinic, and forgetting how to take a medical history.

I think I'll head to bed early tonight. Maybe I can have some victory in my dreams to give me a boost.

7 Readers rock!:

Janka said...

From someone having been overwhelmed in the clinics, though not while having a young child:

1) it *will* get easier, if only in the sense that you get used to being overwhelmed again every time you change posts, and
2) whatever you do, GET ENOUGH SLEEP. Specifically, skipping sleep in order to study more is NOT the solution.

Katie said...

Take deep breaths and take it one day at a time. You're so smart and talented and wonderful and you're going to be AN AMAZING doctor AND mommy. I know it! :)

amaurosis said...

It really does get better. That first rotation just has a hell of a learning curve for everyone*, because you have to learn so much about just being in clinic and doing the work. Even your second rotation will be a lot better. Unless it's surgery, in which case you'll hate life for slightly longer.**

Here are the words of wisdom from my clinic days. Take them or leave them as they work for you.
1) Stop worrying about grades TODAY. Pretty much, the attendings/residents are going to grade you according to their whim, not so much your ability. I say that as someone who did very well in clinics -- it's not due to my skill level, and really, it doesn't matter much in the long run. Also, pay attention to where you grades are coming from, and act accordingly. If the shelf is only worth 10% of your grade, for heaven's sake don't study for it.
2) On a related note, don't worry too much about shelfs. They're not that bad, and usually going through one of the question books will get you through pretty well.
2) Pimping is generally win-win, despite appearances. If you know the answer, you get smart points. If you don't know the answer, the pimper gets to show how smart they are, making them feel more positive overall. If you can be cheerful throughout, it the goodwill will rub off on you.
3) Best advice I got for clinics: Be prompt and be cheerful. That's pretty much the secret to success.
4) Learn the fine art of hiding. No, seriously. Obviously, don't overuse this, but the occasional extended "bathroom break" can save your sanity.
5) Never, never, never volunteer for extra work. Go the extra mile for your patient, because that actually IS important, but DO NOT get scutted out to the extent you can avoid it. Don't volunteer to dictate, organize charts, help with research, etc. etc. Go HOME.
6) On the other hand, do volunteer to go on coffee runs when the team is dragging. It is usually much appreciated and, more importantly, gives you a nice little break.

I'm really not advising slacking off, but remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You will get through it with your sanity intact, and then -- you win!

* The people who look like they're not struggling are just hiding their panic better. Also, these people are usually a tad bit mentally unbalanced.

** Just kidding! Surgery is great!***

*** Totally not kidding. Surgery rotation sucks, and people who disagree are masochists.

XE said...

It will get better. Really. I know I've never been to med school, but seriously the first time at anything is so much harder than the subsequent times, for virtually everything. REmember when you learned to drive a car? Same deal, totally. [[Hugs]]

Anonymous said...




KT said...

haha i only get the chance to stop by every once an a while but you never fail to make me laugh! I used to have dreams before my finals in which i was actually studying. I dreamt the words i had read previously over and over again! it was awful on one level because i would wake up exhausted, like i had actually pulled an all-nighter, but then again, I got mostly A's on the exams I studied for in my sleep, so cant complain too much!!!! ---KT

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