The One Where We’re Halfway There

First things first… as if this post could possibly get off the ground without getting this musical interlude out of the way:

Also, since it’s Veteran’s Day, I need to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all of the men and women who have served (or are serving) this country. I know service is an incredible sacrifice, and I’m so grateful for the courageous individuals that defend the USA.

Anyway, you heard me. I’m halfway through third year. Half of third year is complete.

…I have no idea how to feel about this. On one hand, I feel like I couldn’t possibly be done with half of the year. I still essentially fall flat on my face on a regular basis. I still forget to ask my patients some pertinent questions. I still stumble when I get pimped on the wards (though apparently I’ve gotten better at sounding intelligent despite my epic failures). I still can’t state my future medical specialty with any level of confidence. So, it would seem like I should have months upon months of training left this year, not just six.

On the other hand, I feel like I’ve grown leaps and bounds from where I was. My attendings have commented on my increasing comfort level with patients. The concept of writing my own “Assessment and Plan” doesn’t trigger a panicked email to a fourth year friend anymore. When my family med preceptor pimped two second years and me, I recognized I really HAD learned something when I was able to teach them many of the answers.

So maybe it really is okay for third year to be halfway through. Except that I know the hardest of third year is yet to come. OB/GYN, Peds, Family, and Psych were mere warm-up for the Neurology, Surgery, and Medicine that are to come.

And what better introduction to the more grueling aspects of medical training than four weeks of trauma surgery?

My hospital boasts an urban Level 1 trauma center, which means we get many of the most difficult cases of the area. I was lucky enough to receive one of a few coveted spots on the “core” trauma team, which allows me to spend the full month on the service, minus a much welcome four day break for Thanksgiving.

So what will this month entail? 24 hour calls. Scrubbing into operations for stab wounds, gallbladder removal, and exploratory surgeries. Constant pimping (and likely constant reminders that I have a lot to learn). Waking up at 4 AM and staying coherent until 7 PM or later. Sacrificing lunch to put in a few more sutures.

I’m nervous and terrified and excited all at the same time.


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