day 7

It hardly seems possible that it’s only been a week.  I’m so tired. The weeks devoid of productivity and higher cortical activity as a carefree fourth year have made this a transition a real shock to the system.

I closed on a home. I’m a homeowner. That whole process has been good preparation for feeling overwhelmed and clueless all the time. I know nothing about  ignition systems in modern water heaters, garbage disposal repairs, or smoke detector installation. I don’t even own a ladder. That being said, my neighbors are wonderfully kind. I’ve received fresh home-grown fruit, wine, a dinner invitation, and got to partake in an awesome slip n slide front yard extravaganza with some seriously cute kids.

So, one week. New city. New house. New job. New friends. New neighbors. New responsibilities. Between the nine hour days of online training modules and nightly social commitments, I’ve barely unpacked anything. Perhaps I’ll get it done before residency ends.

Anyhow, what’s most alarming is that we haven’t actually started yet. This is going to be a prolonged season of dependence on grace and embracing humility.

Mad props to those of you who survive residency while being parents or becoming parents. Two of my plants are already barely alive.

 

God, I cannot possibly do this, so please walk with me and fill in the gaps. Thank you for this beautiful place to live. Help me to use it to welcome those who feel unwelcomed elsewhere. Help me to be mindful of what is significant when my mind and energy level have maxed out. 

a thousand days

I have heard it said that for emergency medicine residents, graduate medical training is roughly one thousand days.

Over the next one thousand days, I will work 80-100 hours per week, care for approximately 10,000 patients, and will hopefully transform from a nervous, brand-spanking-new medical school graduate into a confident, board-certified emergency medicine physician.

Nervous. That’s under-selling it a bit. I am terrified. I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’ve been called doctor a few times now, mostly by proud family members declaring my new credentials to strangers in elevators and such, but it doesn’t sound right.

Who, me?

And that’s kind of what it boils down to: this degree, while hard-earned, does nothing to change who I am. Not in any of the ways that really matter.

I’m the same goofy 30-something who loves her family, dogs, travel, true crime shows, and all things chocolate. I’m still trying to figure out how the heck to strike a balance between all the things I’m supposed to do every day. I’m a woman struggling to find hope and truth, limping along with a bruised faith in search of a meaningful relationship with a loving God. I’m still learning. Just like everyone else.

A thousand days.

There will be tears. There will be laughter. There will be encounters so absurd that people won’t believe me when I tell them what I’ve seen. There will be losses. There will be saves. There will be moments of fear and of courage, of frailty and of strength.  There will be loneliness and camaraderie.  There will be mind-numbing amounts of paperwork and indescribably poignant glimpses into the mysteries of the human experience.

Ten thousand patients.

How will I help them? How will they help me? How many will I remember? How on earth can I diagnose and treat them successfully when I feel like I can’t remember a tenth of what I’ve learned? Can I possibly be kind and loving toward them all?

 

God, help me to take it one day at a time. Help me to see each person as you see them, and to show them love, kindness, and compassion. Help me learn. Help me to work hard. Help me make wise decisions. Help me persevere.

 

day 1

Orientation.

Think death by power point. Sitting still is not a skill commonly possessed by folks drawn to emergency medicine — it seems the first true test of our grit is upon us.

Pictures were taken. TB tests were placed in forearms. Benefits were explained. And in an unexpected and rather ceremonious fashion, we were prayed over and our hands were anointed with oil as a blessing to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.  (I was taken aback, but not as much as the poor sweet atheist from the northwest, or the fasting Muslim guy who was trying hard not to pass out from hunger/boredom).

But, perhaps most importantly, I have now officially met my comrades — the fellow residents who will be with me in the trenches over the coming three years. And, to my great relief, they all seem to be perfectly likable human beings. I’m sure in the coming weeks and months, we’ll grow into a wonderfully fun, dysfunctional little family.

On a side note — I am, for the moment, without a place to live. My attempts to purchase a home have proven to be more difficult than delivering a breech calf in a rainstorm.  As such, I’m crashing at the home of a very gracious co-intern. While I am excessively grateful for this unmerited hospitality, I do not recommend this arrangement. The importance of liberation from one’s bra at the end of a long day cannot be understated.

 

God, thank you for the kind people in this program. Help me to be a good friend to the other residents. Help me to be mindful of their needs and to be selflessly supportive and encouraging to them. Help me to be slow to speak and quick to listen. And please, help me secure a place to live.