My brilliant preceptor leaves her Wednesday schedule open as her “sanity” day. She decides the preceding Monday or Tuesday before if her life will accommodate working that day, and if it does, she’ll only schedule physicals off the waiting list so that she doesn’t find herself dealing with a patient with acute chest pain or unilateral leg swelling right at the end of her day.
Or sometimes, she just doesn’t make a schedule. Which means suddenly, my life of 12 hour days, 6 days a week has a bright, shining, oh-so-welcome DAY OFF.
But somehow, I think the meaning of “day off” has evolved a bit since starting third year, because here’s how mine went:
8:30 AM: Wake up, raving about how amazing it was to sleep in. Second year and sleeping til 10-11 AM feels so far away.
8:45 AM: Eat breakfast and catch up on emails, blogs, and the daily newsletter from the American Medical Association.
9:00 AM: Type a quick blog post. Revise it 97834 times despite its 4-5 sentence length.
9:30 AM: Toss a load of laundry into the lone sketchy washing machine in my new apartment building’s basement, and pull the little doohickey until the machine makes a noise.
9:45 AM: Realize that the washer really isn’t working, because the cycle has somehow stopped and my chocolate-ice-cream-stained t-shirt from my Labor Day picnic still bears the reminder that I eat like a five year old.
10:00 AM: Collect the half-soggy load of clothes and every piece of dirty clothing, sheets, and towels I can locate and load it into my car for Baby’s First Laundromat trip. (Sorry Mom, I forgot to take a picture for the baby book.)
10:15 – 12:15 PM: Assume perhaps the world’s most awkward position in an attempt to gain a writing surface for studying at the laundromat. Pray that GYN and STD pictures are not going to appear on the next page of the book while the curious preschooler inches closer to me by the second.
12:30 PM: Head to the grocery store, which is strangely full of children. Didn’t school start? Also, how is the store out of shopper’s cards?
1:30 PM: Lunch. And an episode of Friends.
2:00 PM: Put ALL the laundry away. So this is what it’s like to have ALL your clothes clean.
2:30 PM: Start making these:
3:30 PM: Cooking Mishap #304: Realize I doubled the butter, since there is literally a pool of liquid butter atop my strangely textured brownies. Proceed to drain it off and decide that extra butter cannot possibly be a bad thing.
4:00 PM: Read the 34 page “express” version JNC 7, the extensive guidelines about managing hypertension, because no fewer than 10 of the patients scheduled tomorrow are follow-up for high blood pressure.
4:45 PM: Run. An unknown distance, mostly because I still get lost on the pathways of the nearby park.
5:30 PM: Finish assembling the brownies by adding the truffle components. Attempt to decorate them as a birthday cake, disguising my artistic failures by making ALL the letters squiggly. Realize that my friends’ consumption of the sugar and fat content in these brownies may single-handedly fuel my future medical practice.
6:15 PM: Frantically shower and attempt to look like an acceptable member of society.
7:00 PM: Accept a dinner invitation with a friend solely because I’ve been DYING to try this restaurant for… well, only about the past 6 years. My medical school time and financial budget can take one more hit, right?
9:45 PM: Realize I never revised my patient notes from Tuesday. Scrutinize every detail of approximately 10 patient encounters, racking my brain for which patient with a sinus infection had received a partial neuro exam and which hadn’t. Pepper proofreading with research on various diagnoses.
12:15 AM: Bedtime. Two hours later than I would have if I’d worked all day.
…I’m pretty sure that day was more exhausting than my work days.
And THAT is how a third year medical student handles a day off.