I’ve noticed some strange and interesting things happen since starting rotations, in very rapid fashion:
-I can now tolerate being awake and “on” for extremely long periods of time.
-While my feet and body used to hurt at the end of a long day they don’t anymore. (Part of that has to do with having invested in a pair of orthotic shoes, but I definitely think part of it is just physical adjustment.)
-Waking up by 3:45 am to get to the hospital does not faze me. It went from being an ungodly hour to being perfectly reasonable and normal.
-I am learning to suppress various bodily reflexes, such as the startle reflex when alarms go off or overhead pages happen in the OR, and my gag reflex in response to various bodily fluids/sights/sounds/smells. (The latter still needs some work, but I’m getting there.)
-After tolerating long gaps between meals, I now have a hard time consuming a normal amount of calories at normal times on my days off.
-I am learning to extract the necessary information from histories/physicals efficiently even with my limited medical knowledge by virtue of pattern recognition.
-I am starting to enjoy and appreciate the challenges of complicated patient care as my knowledge base continues to grow.
-The more responsibility I have on the wards, the happier I am. Having skin in the game is a privilege that I appreciate.
-Learning has taken on a new urgency. Understanding the management for a disease is no longer a theoretical matter, but a very practical necessity. Not too long from now, I’ll be an intern who will have to make well-informed medical decisions under pressure.
-I am actually happy, doing this crazy thing. Yes, bad days happen–anyone who says otherwise is lying. But there are many good days, many experiences to be so immensely grateful for, and many amazing friends doing this same crazy thing with me.
It’s almost the halfway point of the year, and I’ve learned an immense amount, both about medicine and about myself. If first and second year are like drinking from a fire hose, then third year is like…no, actually, I don’t even have a metaphor. It’s just MS3.