Nights were such a blur. I don’t think I’ve seen such questionable healthcare before in my life. It was honestly really scary, and made me uncomfortable many times. The crazy thing is… sometimes there is literally nothing you can do to remedy the situation, so you just end up laughing it off. It. Was. Not. Okay.
Starting off the 7-day stretch with R was such a blessing. Even on days when it felt like shit hit the fan, I felt like someone had my back and was supporting me through it. The first two days after that were so hard. Personality management was at an all time high. Sometimes we truly don’t get along personality wise with the people we work with, and that is ok. But, it doesn’t necessary make the experience easy. And that is ok to admit too.
As the days passed, I became more comfortable in my clinical decision making, and my own assessments. That was a huge blessing. It felt like I could take more ownership over my role instead of asking a million questions a night. But what similarly felt frustrating was feeling I was doing a large volume of work and not having the support I wanted, making me feel unsafe. It truly was a week was I was just someone’s glorified secretary.
I’m so thankful that nights are over for a while. When I see them again, my hope is that I feel more level-headed in asking for support and not feeling like every task has to be done urgently.
I have been terrified of the NICU since I was an M3. It was made out to be this scary, intense, constantly swamped place that was too complicated for any medical student to understand. If you got to rotate through the NICU at Rush, all you thought about was surviving. If you didn’t rotate as an M3, you never got to rotate as an M4, which broke my heart tbh, because… I WANTED TO LEARN! Without being a resident, and actually being responsible.
But, I did it! I got through my first month as a NICU intern. I learned so much, and I am so tired. On the day I’m typing this, I’ve been out of the NICU for almost 1.5 weeks, and that’s how long it has taken for my body to let go of the stresses I was holding on to mentally and physically. I don’t know if I have fully fuuuuuully let go of everything, but I’m not going to work towards that goal which feels slightly unrealistic.
What I learned from my NICU month is that I need to save space and energy for myself. I need to do the things that make me feel human during that month, or else the month will just eat me alive. I’m looking forward to the second time around to see how much I’ve grown.
Round 2, I’ll see you soon.
August 15th feels like forever ago. A part of me almost wants to pretend that it also feels like the blink of an eye. But, the reality is that these past two months have emotionally and physically felt long. Starting off on Rheum was such a blessing. I’m so so thankful for the gentle usher in to this new phase of life. Similarly, I’m so thankful for one month chunks of rotations to really allow myself to actually feel prepared and better understand the work I’m doing. After how exhausting and almost all-consuming this past month on inpatient has been, I’m beyond grateful for two weeks to rest, move slowly, recalibrate and reassess my priorities.
The best part of these past two months has been strengthening my willingness to ask for help and feedback often. I struggled so much with switching presentation formats between medical school and residency. It was frustrating for the one thing I was really good at to become something that I sucked so bad at. It wasn’t a sense of imposter syndrome, but more a desire to yell, “THIS ISN’T ME. I CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS. THE WHOLE SYSTEM HAS JUST BEEN FLIPPED ON ME.” I’m so proud of myself for asking for help early and often. It really took away any shame, fear, or guilt that I had about not knowing. I am here to learn and I’m so eager to learn. Hopefully that combined with a positive attitude will continue to serve me during these next three years.
The hardest part of these past two months has been the experience of being the face of a system. As an intern, I’m the first doctor that answers questions, that relays information, and shows up. Sometimes, I show up late, or without the answers someone wants to hear, or with no further clarification as to why we’re doing what we’re doing. That’s also a part of my learning curve. But, 99% of time, they’re not mad at me. And that 1% of the time that it might be me, I’m comfortable attributing it to my own learning curve. I’ve learned through the frustrating way that I might be the person who gets yelled at when people are mad at hospital systems, other doctors, life in general, etc. But I might be the person who it gets taken out on, and that is not mine to carry. It never had to be, but from now onwards, I can make space for someone else’s emotions which are so real and so valid, without taking them onto myself as my burden to carry. That is a frameshift that I look forward to.
I start a month in the NICU on Monday. I’m definitely terrified, but also excited. There was a magical feeling to getting into your rhythm on PHM. I hope to give myself grace and kindness as I begin anew once again.
I’ll be switching this space into one that serves as my journal documenting my emotions, reflections, and experiences throughout residency. I’ve only been a resident for 6 weeks now, but have already seen and felt so much. I cannot fathom what three whole years will look like. But I’m excited to share those inner thoughts with myself in an effort to retain the lessons from beautiful, sad, frustrating, and uplifting moments. I’m also hoping to shed some of the heaviness that naturally comes with caring for kids and families through the most difficult times of their lives in this space. My deepest hope is that I’m able to retain the core of who I am as a person and health care provider by treating myself and others with kindness.
See you soon.
Let’s be truthful — I haven’t been reading leisurely over the past 3.5 years at NYU. I haven’t been reading much except NYT articles, truthfully. Now that I’ve graduated and I start the process of reassessing and re-inventing myself, my first step is to engage my mind and spirit with some moving, challenging works.
And so I present…. My (Global Health) reading list! I have many other texts outside the discipline that I’ve included, and that is because everything is interdisciplinary. History, economics, politics, health – they are all related.
I’m eager to blog more, and for now, enjoy!
Medicine and Culture
Will to Live
The Truth About Drug Companies
How Doctors Think
Partner to the Poor
When Doctors Don’t Listen
How to Repair the World
A Field Guide To Germs
The Origins of AIDS
The Self Regulation of Health and Illness Behavior
The Ghost Map
Six Months in Sudan
A Bed For the Night
Infections and Inequalities
Reimagining Global Health
What to Eat
Pathologies of Power
A Short History of Nearly Everything
“War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy
“The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris
“The Life and Times of Lyndon B. Johnson” by Robert Caro
“However Long the Night” by Aimee Molloy
“The Heart and the Fist” by Eric Greitens
“Why We Can’t Wait” and ” Where Do We Go from Here? Chaos or Community” by MLK
“Born to Run” by Chris McDougall
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal
The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power
I’ve long admired individuals who blogged about the work and field they are passionate about. I started my own global health based twitter (@dipikagaur) a few years ago, and now hope that this blog sets me on a new path! Cheers to many more posts.