Thursday, April 15, 2010

How the Heck Did I Get Back Here?



It's been more than two years since I decided to get off the medical training rat race for the sake of my own sanity. So what the hell have I done by hurtling myself back into the lunacy that I wisely left behind?

It's been three months since I took the plunge back into the world of acute tertiary hospital medicine. It only took two days into the job to realize that I was back in the same situation that I had flown thousands of miles across the ocean to escape. Only this time, I was starting from scratch in an unfamiliar environment, a completely different system, and completely and utterly alone.

Okay, okay... maybe all the stress has made me prone to exaggeration. After all, I have been working in the Australian health system for more than a year now - albeit in a small, laid-back, and friendly secondary hospital in the capacity of someone just one notch above internship. And I have been lucky enough to make my move up to registrar level in a tertiary hospital that is larger and busier but still small enough to be, in theory, less overwhelming.

But let's be honest here - there is no such thing as "less overwhelming." When you're overwhelmed, you're overwhelmed.

It's hard not to feel like you're drowning when you hear a Code Blue announced through the paging system and have no idea where the heck it is. Or when your page refuses to stop beeping while you're in the middle of figuring out what to do with the latest patient you've been asked to admit. Or when a nurse is reaming you out for not having "a proper plan" for a patient who you haven't even seen yet.

And that was just on my second day.

It's been tough going these past three months. And it's also been all too easy to morph back into the high-strung, maladjusted stress ball that I'd always been. The one whose start of the work day is heralded by palpitations and capped by tension headaches. The one who suddenly wakes up at 4 in the morning and is unable to go back to sleep because all of her patients and their problems are running through her head. That stress ball.

I'm coming to the conclusion that maybe I'm just not cut out for the responsibility of being in the driver's seat. Or maybe practicing medical training is bad for my mental health. Which leaves me in a huge dilemma: because medicine is the one profession where: a)one is absolutely not allowed to stop learning and growing, and b) you can't get any more full on in the responsibility department than dealing with life and death.

Is too late for me to try my hand at becoming a lounge singer instead?

1 comment:

Manggy said...

If you really want to be a lounge singer, have a go at it! (Hindi na pwede American Idol, though.) But the world will be missing one excellent doctor, I gotta say.

Medyo makapal mukha ng nurse na yun ah...