Aug 10, 2011

Emo Thelonious Monk

This title is a direct quote from this interchange:
Autopsy tech coming up to the surgpath area: You're still here? Oh you poor thing.
Ishie: (grunt)
Tech: Well, it looks like you're almost done!
Ishie: This is a uterus.
Tech: Ohhh...

(music wails in the background)

Tech: What... is this...?
Ishie: Kid A by Radiohead. Good album to sulk to.
Tech: I... I don't even know how to describe that. It's like... emo Thelonious Monk.
Ishie: That may be the the best thing I've ever heard. Thank you, madam.

So I've been having kind of the miserable day in the middle of a rough couple of weeks.

I hit my milestone today while confirming something I always suspected was true which is that all interns, regardless of how easy their programs are or how cool their coworkers are or how much they like their field WILL have a moment, probably in the first three months, where they start crying at work. This is frequently accompanied by sentiments such as "I don't think I can do this" or "What did I do" or the simple but effective "I can't".

There are varieties of these meltdowns too... pathology is a good field for low nuclear meltdowns because people generally leave you alone; and there are a lot of times you are by yourself and can work it out. For instance, today, quiet crying at the grossing station as you gaze upon your sisyphean task can go practically unnoticed where the sort of meltdown you get in other specialties, which is often brought on by many people yelling at you at once, tends to lead to breaking down in front of your abusers, which is the worst form. Or the "feel it coming, find a hiding place" cry. So far, I've only managed the quiet one, and it was brief, but it was there. I came close a couple other times this week.

We're doctors now. It's official. Training wheels are off and ain't no one else going to handle this crap. If you don't do it, people are just going to get angrier and angrier until it gets done while more work piles on top of it. Your pager goes off in lecture, in grossing, while you're dealing with other urgent matters. I'm running around clutching decal slides in my hand finding the magic person that's supposed to receive them all with this entire realm of "THIS MATTERS". My training is secondary to the fact that I have to do a doctor job now. And that means doctor job, doctor hours, the presumption of doctor intelligence. Machines to monitor, techniques to know, medical knowledge, searching databases and surgical reports. Gah.

It's scary. And right now, I gotta be honest, it kind of sucks. People are generally nice to me; I don't really want to be doing anything else (well... sitting down watching Game of Thrones and drinking a Blue Moon, but you know), but it still kind of sucks. Today, I was at a grossing table for 12 hours slashing away at specimens that only grew in complexity while my scrub pants literally fell off my butt. I didn't eat, I didn't go to the bathroom; I stood there, without taking my smock off, for 12 hours without cease. And I came out and felt like death. And tomorrow, I deal with the consequences of today.

On the other hand... and I've been trying to stay on the other hand, since I can be task loaded and miserable or I can be on the other hand, I've seen a really cool polycystic kidney, got to play with liquid nitrogen, got to screw with the power tools, got to be scared to death of a potentially infection hazard during a frozen section (false alarm) and the rest of it. Cool stuff. That's what I keep telling myself. Cool stuff.

I also have an attending who is super nice and seems to know me by the fact that I fear grin at my superiors and support staff. It's not that I'm a nice person; it's literally something chimps do when they're scared. So I'm the smiley girl. (Who saw that coming???? NO ONE!) So this one attending always goes "still smiling?" and I'm always like "Sure am, sir!" or lately, been lifting my head up, twisting what is probably a deeply disturbing jester leer at him and nodding meekly. He said "Feel like you're handling things"? Yup? LIES. "Getting a bit overwhelmed?" "Oh, sir, you're such a card..." LIES. But what to say? "Help me. I had no idea anyone would ever give me this much power. I am retarded but really good at taking multiple choice tests. Please resign me to a tedious position that can be replaced by robots... sir.

So staying the course. Despite today's waterworks, I'm determined to be happy. I know I have it good, dammit; I'm not going to waste hours in the weepies over getting exactly what I wanted. Time to put on

Or, if you prefer...


Oreleona said...

wow i really love reading your blog.
it lets me know of things that i will be dealing with soon...

heyroth said...

I feel like I'm one of the few people commenting but, you know what, someone's gotta tell you that you're doing awesome.

So here's some support to from an Aggie to an Aggie. I only wish I can mail you a wiki whacky woo to you. Off hours of course...

And guess, who's applying to the SGU. (I wish that stood for Stargate Atlantis: Universe).

Cheer up, butter cup.

Ishie said...

Thanks guys! I really appreciate the support. I think I overrosied residency where I was like "Surely, since I'm in a pathology residency, intern year won't *really* be like intern year", but it is all good in the long run. LOL on Stargate; I actually took pictures of those posters in NYC.

Good luck on the application!