Saturday, June 30, 2012

I guess this must be the place

Today I am roasting strawberries. Tomorrow I will be a second year resident.

I still have so far to go, miles to go before I sleep, and yet I am still in wonder that somehow I've gotten to this point. It's funny (not really funny haha). Those around me, who are significantly younger, are getting to that point in residency during which they are realizing the toll this training takes, the sacrifices it exacts, and some of them are doing the math. They are realizing this isn't some job you get into for the security of it, or the financial perks, or the respect. Plenty of other jobs are just as safe if not safer in this climate. Plenty, plenty jobs pay better, especially if you take into account the years of schooling and training. And in training, you encounter a lot of people who view physicians with great disdain, and sometimes with good reason.


They should have known this, I've said in the past. They should have walked in with their eyes open. But now I see how unfair a statement that is. Your eyesight, your hearing, all of your senses are just different when you are younger. Not necessarily better or worse, but different. More easily tempted, more easily disappointed, I suppose.

I've had moments too. When I've been tired. Or taken stock of how this past year has taken a chunk of my flesh along with it. I've thought of my past life and those years and wondered why they didn't satisfy, why they weren't enough. I don't have the right answer. It's too romantic to say that this is a calling or fate or an altruistic mission. I save romantic talk like that for romances, not work. I don't have an answer. I just know that I wasn't happy that way, with a very good salary and very good hours and time to contemplate my life, work out, play around in my kitchen.

I am happier now.

It makes no sense. I'm more tired now. I'm less healthy now. I travel less, have fewer indulgences. Sometimes, I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack from the stress of having this kind of responsibility. I have, in some ways, fewer friends. But I love more things. Go figure. I love more things; sometimes they are lots of little things, sometimes they are big.

I keep thinking, despite the fear pulsing through my arteries, despite the occasional annoyances, I keep thinking- I am so, so lucky.

It's easy to forget that. It's easy to forget when there are other things too. Life, for example, and the non-medical matters of the heart. I thought my heart would be at 100% when I had really sat and wallowed in the blues for a while. I thought maybe it would jump start when I had a flare of anger, fits of rage. And then I thought it would beat steady and true when I regained my full capability to laugh and feel really, truly happy. But none of it repaired the damage. It's still got this nuisance of a wound that doesn't let me take a full breath. And let me tell you, it is annoying. But then I remember medicine and know that time does more than any physician ever can. So I try to learn a little more patience, and to remember to feel grateful.

Friday, June 15, 2012

don't look ahead, there's stormy weather

This month has been one of the infrequent ones where I have to drive to work daily. Usually I walk. The good thing about walking is that it gives me a few truly calm moments to collect myself before I go into work, a chance to glimpse the sun or the moon or the stars. My walk, however, is quite short. The drives are usually long enough, and my attention span issues emerge, and I get to listen to music- good music, trashy music, new music.

Santigold's latest song is not even new anymore. I've come to the sad realization that, just as with movies, the intensity of my current work environment makes it so that I rarely have the proper mind frame to pursue cerebral music or films. I've become an earworm junkie. I actually threw a fit last year when my friend AP made me see The Descendants, which I quickly discovered was a heavy film with a little too much medicine for me to stomach.

Nice thing about Santigold or someone like MIA, for that matter, is that their earworms have some kernels of genius in them if you listen for long enough. Or in the case of this latest song, Disparate Youth, you don't even need to listen for very long. I had just finished a long day in the ICU, and was scrambling out to get out to make a 10pm movie (I'm not even going to admit what I rushed out to see, but let's say, if it weren't for the company, I probably would have been better off hanging out with the intubated patients instead). Not only was I feeling frustrated about working another 16 hour day, but furthermore, lately I have been feeling increasingly anxious about finishing internship.

Internship is hard, don't get me wrong, but it's a known quantity now. But in less than two weeks, I'll be in charge of a brand spanking-new crop of interns. In charge! That seems like such a bad idea that I have minor to major anxiety attacks about it every time I think about this.

On the other hand, there's one thing that has come to annoy me during internship, and that's full-blown whiners. We all signed up for this. It sucks sometimes, sure. But we fought hard to get to this point and we went into it willingly, so it seems somewhat ungrateful to full-on whine about it. So, as terrified as a part of me is about this new level of responsibility and the soul-crushing hours that await me next month, well, the other part of me high-fives Santigold, and sings along with we said our dreams would carry us, and if they won't fly we will run, and gets ready to steer into the skid.