Sunday, 21 May 2017

Unwell

I'm not doing terribly well right now. I can't focus on a damn thing. I'm reading sentences multiple times and still not retaining sufficiently so I'm spending hours and hours and hours pounding away at my study materials and I'm getting nowhere and I can't recall things which I absolutely do know. It's very frustrating.

There's actually a physical reason for this - going through workup, but basically right now I'd be a great OSCE station and the labs and imaging are more to confirm what's already pretty obvious - so I know I'll be doing a whole lot better once I get that side of things worked out. It's actually probably why I've been so flat out exhausted for months. But that doesn't make it any easier to cope with the fatigue and brain fog in the meantime.

This is all very difficult because I normally have extremely high retention for what I study and I've never had to brute force study like this, but my mind is so foggy right now that I'm actually having a hard time with basic day to day tasks. This is much worse than the third trimester 'baby brain' and I felt like an idiot with that.

It also doesn't help that while I'm dealing with absolutely soul-crushing fatigue, I'm about to start a 26 day stretch of work (three weekends in a row) with 7 call shifts in there, so I kind of want to curl up and cry. Post-call days are still work days. I don't leave until 10am post-call, which means I've worked ten hours on that day. So yeah, I still count post-call days as work days. My next day off is June 17th - the second last day of this rotation - and I've spent this entire weekend studying so I basically haven't had it 'off.'

Honestly I'm having a hard time finding any time for self-care. Okay, I'm not just having a hard time, I have had precisely no self-care time at all. I've barely seen my kids this rotation so I feel like if I'm not studying I should be with them, or taking some of the load off my husband, but I'm minimally functional right now right now and am saving all the energy I can for work.

I'm sure it's pretty evident by my posts lately that my mood is in my boots. I've basically spent all of today holed up in my office trying to study and failing miserably because I can't remember anything, so I've spent the last two hours starting at this stupid SIMPLE (online training) case feeling like the biggest idiot in the world because I just can't remember anything. And I'll feel like more of an idiot when I can't answer at the drop of a hat what the mechanism is for whatever drug that I read about six months ago and have never seen used clinically.

I've tried to write a post about this a few times, and have failed. I'm not even sure I'm going to post this one because I've been doing a lot of complaining lately, and this is what I signed up for so I really shouldn't.

I'd be lying if I said the thought of just leaving med school hasn't crossed my mind. I wouldn't, I never will, but damn it's tempting right now to just say 'screw it' and walk away from this and not feel stupid anymore and have to work 10-16 hours a day for a almost a month straight.

I'm trying to be positive. It's only four more weeks. It's only four more weeks. I will come out the other side of this with much better essential skills and knowledge. This is a critically important formative experience for my future as a physician.

This will make me stronger. I know it will. I just have to get through it. A month is nothing in the long run.

But it's a long month, looking at it from this end.

9 comments:

  1. You are going to be a doctor... but you also need to take care of you... From this side of the post, it seems you are way past the point of being well. I don't know you and what your situation is, but stopping a rotation is not the end of the world as we know it, and it might sometimes be the right decision. I know I did, before being at the bottom,and it is the best decision I took. Every program is different, but it won't help you and your CaRMS application should you fail a rotation because you are not at your best. Med school is not easy and it is not a failure to take a few weeks off because your body tells you it needs it, I think it is a sign of strenght to know our own limits.
    Take care and good luck to you!

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    1. Thanks. It's just frustrating; I have fought so, so hard to make sure I will graduate on time. I can't let this get the best of me. I'm too stubborn for that.

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  2. I can't find your email address for some reason (I know we have emailed before). Would you shoot me an email when you have a chance? We all go through these periods once in a while, and I've had many of the same thoughts you're having right now.

    PS, this is Luckett. I am having wordpress troubles.

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  3. Please remember that you are only human. When you reach the point where you aren't able to retain anything because you're so tired (and we've all been there), you need to take a break, even if you feel like it's impossible.

    I'm sorry that medical school is making it so hard for you to take care of yourself. It's a messed up system in many ways.

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    1. There's no real option for a break. I'm actually probably going to start going in earlier because I'm struggling to get my work done because I'm losing an hour of my clinical day to pumping and I carry the same workload. This is known to be the most intense rotation of clerkship, so I feel like I just have to suck it up and get through it.

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    2. I vividly remember how tough internal medicine was! It's a brutal rotation. When I suggested taking a break, I didn't necessarily mean taking a long break...but sometimes having a nap instead of studying is necessary to keep the body and mind from giving up. I studied very little on my core internal medicine rotations because I was just too tired to do anything but rest during the evenings and weekends.

      Are there supportive residents on your team (maybe a senior) to whom you can talk about expectations? When I was senior, a lot of students spent more time than they needed to working because they were documenting more than was necessary or otherwise doing things that were beyond the expectations. A good, experienced resident might be able to help you lighten your burden a bit.

      (I was also really inefficient as a med student and would have benefited from someone sitting me down and helping me figure out all the things I didn't need to do.)

      Not sure if any of this is helpful...just my thoughts! Hang in there.

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  4. Can I email you? (I'm not a total random internet person - I'm a family med resident and I think we chatted a bit several years ago on PM101 when I was still on there.) I've had to health issues all through med school and residency and have had to deal with leaves of absence and call schedule accommodations and things like that, and I would love to offer you some support.

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    1. Hey,

      Feel free to message me on PM101 or email me at Premedpostmom@gmail.com (it forwards to my email.)

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