Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cross Cover

Shit, they hit you hard and they hit you fast.

It's yesterday. I got back from clinic around 6pm. Although I was pretty tired, I had just enough energy and time to go on a short run. I returned moderately refreshed from the run and prepared a nice dinner for myself ... fresh fish, fresh vegetables, the works. I was eating this dinner and watching a favorite DVD when my pager went off.

The page was from one of our chief residents requesting that I "help out" at the hospital for the night. I was still hoping for the best, but unfortunately upon calling her back I found out a fellow intern had an unexpected emergency. So "helping out" meant "taking overnight call in the hospital for the night."

Oh no you didn't.

Panic set in, as I my mind raced to figure out what to do, both at home (getting rid of my dinner, changing into scrubs, and trying to remember to turn off the stove [which I have a tendency to leave on]) and at the hospital ... after all, it had been 3 months since I'd dealt with patients and 7 months since I had done any inpatient hospital work. I was in no shape to admit new patients at 3am.

The night was demanding but luckily not at all as stressful and intense as it could have been. I managed about two hours of sleep, and since the team had capped (admitted the maximum number of patients) by the time I arrived, there were no new admissions for me. Thankfully.

This was, however, a rude awakening for my system, and quickly made it concrete in my mind that I was an intern. I suppose I should expect much more of this ... just please, not in the middle of dinner.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Internship Day One

The first day of internship was today. Actually internship began yesterday (Sunday), but I am starting with an outpatient rotation and thus began work today. My hours are set, and I work everyday from 8am to 7pm, mostly in an urgent care clinic. That itself makes my day tiring (there's never a shortage of urgent care patients), on top of the fact that I am now working 11 hour days ... up from zero for the past 5 months!

To top it off, I am also this month's "backup" intern, meaning I have to be available at all times via pager in case another intern gets sick or cannot show up work for any reason. They definitely waste no time making me a slave to my pager.

I am tired so I now have to turn in for the night. More updates to follow ... but I have survived. One day down, 1094 to go.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Medicine Orientation and Overload

Taking a sip from a fire hydrant -- that's what this week has been like. The orientation for our department was today, and we were bombarded with even more information, and this time it affects us in a very real way (as opposed to the fluffy rules and regulations presented in the hospital orientation, such as effective teamwork, etc.).

We were each handed a heavy packet of items, and quickly the realities of internship started to face us. First, of course, was the pager. Everyone immediately began playing with it, causing a roomful of pagers to start beeping. We haven't even started internship and I already hate that little black box, though I know it gets even worse.

Next was our schedule, which is something we have all been waiting for desperately. Right away the next 12 months of our lives were determined, as were our call nights and holidays (or lack thereof). And I am happy to tell you that I will be on call both Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Finally, the most awakening part of the packet was a prescription pad. Yes, a prescription pad. I'm barely out of medical school, and I'm being given a prescription pad. My impulse reaction was to think "no, those are for doctors", and then I realized that technically I too am now a doctor.

So with that one packet our futures were rudely whipped into shape. It was definitely an informative, if not overwhelming, day. And it will definitely be a busy, if not painful, year.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hospital Orientation

Orientation began yesterday, and it is extremely boring. Mind-numblingly boring. As if 3 hours of welcome from the hospital chiefs wasn't enough, we had to sit through 9 -- yes, nine! -- hours of computer training. Overwhelming doesn't even begin to explain it, as every two hours a new topic or computer system would be covered. By the end of the night, we had learned about four different systems and I remembered zero.

The day was even more challenging as I could barely keep my eyes open, since for some reason I was unable to fall asleep the night before. I had no reason to be nervous, I kept telling myself as I tossed and turned in bed until 3:30am! Not helpful considering I had to wake up at 5:30am. Luckily I slept well the next night.

This week was also the first time the incoming interns were able to meet each other. While the lecture hall format of the day made it difficult to spend significant time with anyone, we mingled some and no one jumped out as being overly annoying or weird. I'm hopeful they will be cool, as this is a group that will be working very closely together the next few years.

Time to give my eyes a rest now ... 9 hours in front of a screen is no small feat.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Waiting Anxiously for Internship

Life is pretty easy these days as I wait for the start of internship, although the more accurate word might be lazy. My days are filled with watching TV and my DVDs. A large portion of time is also devoted to browsing the web, but I get so bored at times that even the almighty internet cannot entertain me (it is these days that I feel I've visited every site on the internet.) In addition, the dog probably isn't used to me being home this much and so she is slightly confused; I spend a good portion of my day pleading with her not to stare at me.

But as the big day looms closer, I am also starting to get a little anxious. If given the choice I would definitely say I'm excited to start internship -- as opposed to the many people who are dreading it -- but I would also like to delay it almost as long as possible. All of a sudden I am realizing what is expected of me in terms of the responsibilities of patient care.

I keep thinking back to my many interns during medical school and wonder if I can handle those sorts of duties and expectations. I had no problem uncovering problems and communicating them to the intern, but attempting to solve those problems was an entirely different matter ... who knows if I'll even know where to begin. My only comforting thought is that thousands of people have gone through this in the past, and so I too should be able to cope.

And maybe that is why I am engrossed daily in such brainless, non-medical activities ... in addition to passing the time, perhaps I am trying to distract myself from various frightening realities about internship. With that said, time to get back to Boomshine. Watch out, it's pretty addictive!