I get left alone to fend for the service quite often. Granted, my team had good reasons not to be there in the afternoon, but I know that if I wasn't there, someone would have to stick around. In any case, I got some stuff done, and I'm feeling better about my eventual transition into residency.
But the thing about being in the hospital for a protracted period of time is that you realize a lot of people die in the hospital. I mean a lot. And it's from all sorts of reasons. There are ICU patients that just are straight up dying. But there are patients on the floors too that die for one reason or another. And it gets you down after a while.
And you can only care so much. It doesn't matter if you're a bleeding heart or you're stone cold, there's only so much you can care before you find yourself cracking jokes or simply blowing things off. It's self protection. You can only handle so much before you're overcome. The human creature was only designed to tolerate so much suffering. After a while, you compartmentalize and shield yourself to the horror of it all.
And in this respect, my life has come to mirror my hospital reality. I'm slowly but deliberately shielding myself from reality. I've adopted a policy of avoidance and ignorance. I've turned a blind eye to the world around me, because to look at it, to think about it, it'd be too much: too frustrating, too disappointing, too depressing. I'd rather not think about it at all.
But on the plus side, I've got a friend in the hospital, and M is cool beans. We've been hanging out a lot in house, and it's so much fun. You know, I realize now what people mean when they say that the other residents you work with are what define your residency experience. It's nice to have a friend in the hospital, if only to have someone to lean on.
We've had a storied history in the hospital. We took call a lot together on medicine. We were there when a classmate was diagnosed with a serious illness. We saw a lot of codes together. On surgery, we were always running around together. We were like peas in a pod. I think, of all the things I'll miss about medical school, I'll miss our time in the hospital, because she single-handedly made 3rd and 4th year of med school a fun time.
And I should note that it took my attending 3 weeks, but he finally noticed my tremor. I guess he did better than my neurology attendings who didn't notice at all. My tremor, if you're curious, is exacerbated by stress, fatigue, caffeine, and anxiety, to name a few things. However, I tend to mask with creative use of hands (pockets, behind back, pen twirling, etc).
My senior resident noticed on my 2nd day on service.