The ICU is not for me. I know that now. There's something so... unsatisfying about taking care of a patient for only a few days, and then turfing that patient to another service. One of my patients made it out of the ICU, despite our best efforts, and I can't help but wonder what will come of him. It's like another patient I have from last month. He's still in house, and I keep meaning to visit him, but I don't have the time. I wish I could see him. I feel like I should. And that's how I know I'm meant for primary care. Because the thought that I'm not going to follow a patient is sad.
On the slacking front, it's become next to impossible to slack. I'm trying to slack, but there is just so much work to do. I'm only following two patients, but it adds up with other patients. Find this lab. Write this order. Do this. It's making the interns' lives a little easier to have another set of eyes and ears to catch the little stuff that slips through, but this rotation is one of the busiest I've ever done.
And I know you're saying to yourself, it's the ICU, man, what did you expect? Well, honestly, I expected that I'd get to be a medical student again. Instead, this rotation is far more like a subinternship than my actual subinternship.
I keep seeing attendings that I've worked with before. Uniformly, I get the comment that I'll make an excellent resident and that they hope I stay. Y'know, everyone tells me that I'll be a great resident, but I know me. The aspect of medicine that I excel at is just the work. I work hard. That's all. I think I know less than most. I just try to keep at it. I try to move things along.
We had a lecture about goal-oriented care, and I thought it was pretty stupid, because it's something I think about every day. We do all these things to patients, and half the time, I question who we're really treating: the patient or ourselves. In the end, I applied to medical school thinking that I'd get to help people, but most of the time, we don't help too much. It's mostly trying to hold back the tide. And the only rewarding part of that is knowing that at least you tried.
I had a patient who was put into Hospice care, and I was glad. Glad that we avoided putting in a PEG tube, putting in a trach, and doing all those things that make me hate medicine every day. I had always thought that the role of medicine was to help people. It's only now that I understand that the role of medicine is not to help people but to treat disease, and that is not the same, not by a longshot.