Intern Year: Week 1
After traveling so extensively and essentially being on vacation the last few months, I thought once I was back in medicine I would feel trapped, like I wasn't living life to the fullest. Like all of the things I wanted to be doing (relaxing, drinking espresso, seeing the world) would be thwarted by my day job. Don't get me wrong, vacation was incredible and much needed after everything we went through. But I thought it would be a sentence.
Instead, it's a privilege.
It's still new and shiny, this is true - and there are a ton of tough times ahead I'm sure - but the reason why I know I'm exactly where I'm meant to be is this feeling I get sometimes when I realize just what this means. I am surgical resident, which means I get to learn surgical medicine, learn how to do all kinds of surgeries, and treat patients. As a physician. As someone who, as long as I finish my training, gets to do this for LIFE. I get to do this.
So far it has been learning how to multitask and manage time to the absolute T - between the actual rotation you're on (whether that's reading and studying for cases, looking up what you don't understand, rounding on patients, understanding their course/pathophysiology/how to dispo, making sure all orders are in and care is in line), there are required lectures, didactics, presentations, board exams to study for in the background, call shifts, etc etc. Med school was like juggling but residency seems like juggling things on fire and bombs ticking away near by, with a gun to your head. Kinda. It's hard to explain unless you're in it, but you get the gist.
This week I have been grateful for extra unexpected study time, meeting new people I can call friends, learning extensively about a new specialty I've never been exposed to, meeting a female surgeon who has already become such a great mentor, and chances to wake up after the sunrise (follow more on the Instagram stories/feed).
In church this morning, the pastor talked about how following God doesn’t mean a life without trouble, especially in this broken world. That it’s really about how you face trouble in your life with God. He spoke to seeing the brokenness in your own life and those around you, and how it can seem overwhelming at times. In medicine, it can be especially evident when you’re surrounded by sick people all of the time. But God gave us healing, He gave us modern medicine, CT scanners and humans who want to be healers and helpers. It’s a little bit of Heaven on Earth, it’s a bit of the big wonderful we’ve just begun to know. I'm realizing that the more I depend on my own efforts and energy to do things, the more drained I feel. Even the little every day things, not just the disastrous things, can pull you away and steal your joy.
I'm currently on orthopedic surgery and loving the teaching from these talented and incredible surgeons. It's my first exposure to orthopedics, and even though there is a fair share of retracting and holding heavy legs as expected, I am getting the opportunity to see some real pathology and cool surgeries. I love that they're like carpenters of the body, there is such variety to orthopedics since there are so many different bones and joints, and that there are some procedures that truly take some art to them with structure directly related to function.
There is a procedure that exists, which is called a medial calcaneal osteotomy, where they disconnect the calcaneus bone from your foot and shift it more to the center, put some screws in it for stabilization, and just keep it there for the rest of your life. It helps create an arch for those who are flat footed. Isn't that crazy? It just sounds like it wouldn't work, but it does. They also do things like cut tendons and re-connect them, fix ligaments by wrapping them around a bone through a hole they make to support it like a sling. Not going to lie though, I can't wait to get back to the mushy stuff (like organs mushy).