I don't often talk about medical school on the blog, because I like to focus on the food, but every once in a while I like to share my philosophical musings.
It's a well-known truth that medical school is tough. It's not a well-known truth that I have been having an extra tough time transitioning from being in class all day to being at work all day as a med student. In the six weeks that I've been here:
~ I've shown up to an office to find out there were no appointments scheduled for the next two days when I was scheduled to finally see patients on my own.
~ I've shown up to an office to find out the doctor was leaving the practice.
~ A doctor made me feel so inadequate that I had to fight to hold back tears. He noticed anyway.
~ A doctor told me that counseling is just a way to give people a socially-acceptable reason why they are the way they are and falsely elevate their self-esteem. (Seriously?)
~ I have been so tired that I fell asleep reading echocardiograms with a doctor, while holding my second giant travel mug of coffee that day.
~ I had to do six male hernia checks in 2 hours. Most of them were middle-aged truck drivers. Okay, all of them. Sorry, dad, the years you've spent protecting me just got bulldozed by medical school expectations.
~ I worked with a doctor who spent most of our two days telling me what specialties would help me avoid dealing with medicaid, medicare, being on call, and dealing with young children, seemingly bashing the medical profession which I am training for. (There is no specialty like that.)
It's been hard to stay positive, and I really only share my struggles with my parents and my guy. Since Ryan is going through the exact same training, he's been an integral part in keeping my spirits up, reminding me why I got into medicine in the first place and that there aren't many people in the world who are allowed to enter this profession, but we are two of the lucky ones. Yet every day I go to work worrying about all the questions I won't be able to answer and all of the awkward moments I may have, wondering if I was meant to be a doctor at all.
I had the chance to go to a yoga class this morning. The instructor started talking about a gym member who wouldn't come to yoga class because she was afraid she "sucked at yoga." The woman started telling the instructor all of the yoga things she couldn't do. So the instructor started pointing out all of the little things that the woman could do that are part of yoga, and told her that if she kept coming to class, she'd get better. The instructor asked all of us in class to turn our minds to the things that we can do, instead of what we can't, because we don't "suck" at life.
This may have been the most uplifting thing I've heard since starting work at the hospital. It's been really detrimental for me to go to work thinking that I won't know things. I keep forgetting that there are a lot of things I do know, I just haven't been asked to use that knowledge yet. If I keep going back to the hospital, every day, to keep learning, I will get better at answering the questions. I need to remind myself of all that I can do because of my hard work during the first two years of school.
I've been afraid that all of the doctors will think that I suck at medicine. But didn't they suck at medicine at one point too? Shouldn't they be happy to be the ones helping me to get better at it?
So, for anyone who is still reading this non-food post, I urge you to also turn your thoughts to what you can do and what you would like to accomplish. Focus on learning how to get better, and not on how to avoid the things you can't yet do.
I think I'll keep going back to that yoga class.