Its the sort of a job that finds you writing posts at 2AM since this is the time I have to do them during a slow night shift at work.
It is the sort of a thing that gets other people saying how grateful they are for whatever it is that I did at that particular moment, when really I want to tell them "Honestly, I really did not do that much (if anything) and it really is not that spectacular". And I don't mean that in the "I need to be humble" sort of a sense. But of course that is not something that doctors say.
It is the sort of a thing that keeps you thinking every minute of every day about this or that patient, this or that blood test, or one of the 5 things that always seem to be overdue. You are never off duty, even if you are off duty. I'm constantly thinking about what patients should be doing for themselves and fretting over them, even (or perhaps especially) when they don't seem to be fret about themselves. And it seems to be getting more pronounced the farther along I get.
It is the sort of thing that gets you closer to spirituality, whatever that means for you. I am just constantly surrounded by the ill and dying, the crazed / anxious / and depressed. I had already determined long ago that death is not something that I would want to fear because of my own family experiences with death. But now...well...I have seen first hand on TOO many occassions (and only 8 months in) how terribly horrible death can be when it is drawn out motivated by fear. Fear from either the patient themselves or their family members. Fear of death, fear of loss, fear of guilt, fear of responsibility. If you have never been metaphysical before, you start now. Although I must admit, I still despise metaphysics. It seems terribly impractical to me. Who cares if the chair is really there or not in the end? I can sit on it and that satisfies me just fine, thank you.
It is the sort of thing that keeps you far away from family and friends. Away from birthday parties and graduations. Keeps you unable to help friends as much as you feel you should during hard times. A good friend of mine died recently suddenly and I have not been able to BE with his poor wife nearly as much as I needed to. Residency is known to rip relationships apart. Also unfortunately seen first hand. And yet, I feel so much closer to Y. He has been a rock of constancy for which I am so grateful.
It is the sort of thing that I really enjoy to do when it comes down to it. But I can absolutely not imagine doing it the way I am forced to now during residency. A friend of mine is a social worker and LOVES every moment of what she does. However she LOVES home life and everything that goes along with it so much more. She struggles to push herself to work those 40 hrs to call it full time. At this point, I feel as though if a job were to guarantee me no more than 40 hrs of work a week I would sign it now without looking at the rest of the particulars. I love this job. I really do. I love the potential it has to be transformative in a community. But I have not been able to do that quite yet. It is not possible within the constraints of a residency program. I long for the time when I am free to practice as I wish. But I need home life so much more. My immediate family is small. Always has been. And getting smaller every time I check. Its smallness makes me treasure it just that much more. And that means not being within the confines of clinic/hospital walls.
It is the sort of thing that makes you APPRECIATE LIFE!