Month: December 2011

A million different people.

I’ll be finished internship soon.  The year will be marked by general (instead of provisional) registration which I’m told is something that gives you freedom.  It’s been a hard year.  I told a family their mother had gone.  For the first time.  And then I did it again and again.  I watched really young people die and felt helpless.  I saved a guys life in my 23rd hour of being awake (probably the only life saved directly by me this year 😉 ).  I cried a lot.  I felt stupid and inferior even more than I cried.  I learned how to numb a hand.  Irrigate a bladder.  Three different kinds of stitches.  I did a million blood gases.  I made dumb mistakes.  I got someone (who deserved it) put in jail.  I made new friends.  Even got good feedback a few times.  Worked countless hours of overtime.  Realised I needed a cleaner and that eating out most of the time was probably okay.  Lost a few kilos from stress then gained them back again when I made a further realisation that eating chocolate every day is perfectly okay when you’re running up 5 stories every day inumerable times.  I can probably put a cannula in with my eyes shut.  I can write up bags of electrolytes and plenty of drugs without having to look up the dosages.

But I don’t feel so much like a doctor yet.  Maybe in brief moments.  Mostly I feel like I can do stuff.  And organise stuff and do a lot of paperwork.  Lately I’ve been realising that I want to be better.  I want to start thinking, educating myself and my patients.  Working out how to get them better again.  I’ve been thinking about doing physician training again even though it feels like I’m paralysed just contemplating it.  Am I that person?

For those who don’t know, physician training is one of the most academic, detail oriented, high pressure areas of medicine.  I’m a big picture person.  Who procrastinates.  And while I’ve never failed an exam in medicine so far, 40% of the people who sit that exam fail it.  In spite of that, I want to be better.  I want to know more.  I want to have the answers for my patients.  I want to fix them.  And if I can’t, I want to treat them.  And if I can’t, I want to be there with them and as much as I can, get them and their families to the end well.

Am I that person?  There are clever, clear minded people who are constantly told they are physician material by consultants and those around them.  No one has ever said that to me. I suppose if I tried, at least there’d be no one to let down.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt like this before.  Like I really really want something, but almost convinced I can’t do it.  I wonder where the self-belief comes from.