I started medical in a different class than I ended it in. And when the 2010er's graduated and became residents, I was still friends with a bunch of them on facebook. And starting July 1st 2010 I began regularly seeing posts along the lines of, "first day off in 17 days!" or "bed has never felt so wonderful" or "eat, sleep, work" or "blah blah blah exhausted blah tired blah no time blah blah no life blah blah blah work blah blah live at the hospital". I read these status updates and thought to myself, what a bunch of dramatic babies. It's not that bad. They are just looking for sympathy. They knew what they were getting into signing up for this career.
Now, I can never be sure if my skepticism is a form of denial/hopeful thinking. Or if I truly believe these thoughts. But, as it often times turns out, my skepticism is overturned by experiencing the awful truth for myself. Pregnancy was this way. And it turns out, residency is too.
For my first week actually working as a doctor I clocked in 69 hours. I will write that my longest day was 16 hours, because legally, that is all I am allowed to do as a first year, but that may or may not have been the case...if you catch my drift. Two of those days, I left before my children awoke, and returned after they went to bed. Two of those nights, I went to sleep, slightly sitting up (as is the routine for me during pregnancy) and woke up slightly sitting up (usually, I wake up 2 hours later and turn on my side). I guess one could say I was TIRED. One of those days, I set my alarm to 5:17pm instead of AM, and woke up with only 7 minutes to get out of the house. Needless to say, I forwent a shower. And thank goodness I still have that awesome internal alarm clock I acquired in my swimming days!
So, class of 2010, I guess I kind of owe you an apology. You are not a bunch of wimps. I cannot deny that I wasn't exhausted. I did nothing but eat, sleep and work. Nothing felt better than my bed. I had and have no life. I am already looking forward to my first week of vacation in November. But, with all that said, I am LOVING it!As many will probably agree, I was born a "know it all". I remember as early as age 5, being frustrated that my thoughts and opinions were not being taken seriously. Well, now, I get to walk into a room, introduce myself as doctor, and automatically my opinion matters. The amount of respect that accompanies that title is astounding and inspirational. I suddenly wish I were the top student and that I had all the answers. Every patient is like a little puzzle, some are little 25 pieces puzzles and some are 1,000, but they are mine to put together. And it is fun.
As I drove home after my very first "16" hour day as a doctor, I called Matt, and said, "I like being a doctor. I am really glad I chose the right field".