Stuck In The Grind

Tell me why I woke up this morning at 7:45 AM bright-eyed & well-rested, ready to take on my day and filled with joy that I got to “sleep in” for a few hours after working in the hospital for ten days straight.

Like, WHAT IS MY LIFE??

I’ve just come to accept the fact that this is what my life is going to be like for the foreseeable future; a whole lot of work with small built-in breaks in between the grind. I may have said something like this before in one of my past posts, I don’t really remember. I probably sound like a broken record talmbout “accepting the fact that my life is going to be hard” 😂. But the more I say it, the more real it will feel and the more I’ll ACTUALLY accept it lol. I just wanna go on another vacation man 😭#TakeMeBackToFourthYear

As you might have already guessed, things have continued to be busy on my end since my last post. I’ve spent the past three weeks on the Pediatric Cardiology/GI service, where I’ve taken care of patients with unbelievable conditions that I’ve only read about in medical school. I’ve also grown quite fond of some of the patients on the service and I’ve found myself not only thinking about them and their families on a regular basis, but also praying for them to persevere through their circumstances and for their quick return to good health. There have been patients who’ve popped up in the hospital, recovered quickly and were out in 1-2 days. There have been others who have surprisingly decompensated acutely and had to have the rapid response team called in order to get them stable again. And then there are the patients who have stayed in the hospital for multiple days in order to adequately recover from their respective ailments. It has been an interesting experience caring for all of them and I’ve learned so much through my interactions with each and every one of them.

Throughout these past few weeks, I’ve managed to keep a positive attitude overall as I’ve worked with my team to manage the patients on our service. However, there have been times where I’ve felt the grind get to me and have felt waves of negativity crash upon me. Yes I’m a pretty positive person, but I’m still not immune to negative thoughts and feelings. I’m still human after all. There have been some mornings where I just stared at the ceiling in gloom for about ten minutes before finally throwing the covers off of me and going about my day. There have been some evenings where I’ve trudged off to bed not really looking forward to the seemingly endless days of work ahead of me and already knowing how tired I was going to feel the next morning. There have even been moments where I’ve wondered what the hell I was doing with my life as I watched people in the hospital with normal work hours come to the hospital hours after me to start work and leave hours before me to go home, as well as remain absent over the weekend while I was still grinding away at the hospital.

Disappointed Standing In The Rain GIF

When I’ve had those moments of negativity, I force myself to take a moment to reflect on why I decided to pursue this road of medicine in the first place. I try to pump myself up with the endless stream of quotes and affirmations that have gotten me through the ups and downs in my life. I also use reframing techiques to change the way I’m viewing things in order to put things in perspective. When none of that seems to be working (believe it or not, there are times where all of my efforts aren’t as effective as I would like them to be), I throw on some music because that always puts me in a better mood. I also bug my fellow residents and share some of my sentiments with them, who in return share their sentiments with me and we end up having some bonding time together. Another thing I do that has worked wonders for me is stop by the rooms of my patients for a few minutes to check in on them and chat with them and their families in order to try and brighten up not only my mood, but their moods as well. It’s never fun to be sick and trapped in the hospital. Unless you’re malingering. That’s a WHOLE different story.

And last but certainly not least, my fiancée has always been there to help pump me up, support me and keep things in perspective for me. She has made, and continues to make, this journey a much more palatable one. Honestly, I’m not sure how well I would be faring without her. Huge shoutout to her! Shoutout to my family and friends as well for continuing to keep in touch with me even when I go ghost for a little while!

All in all, the gist is that residency continues to be grueling, but it is all doable and I’ve learned to manifest my own joy and happiness as I continue to overcome the challenges that I’m faced with. I love interacting directly with my patients, learning about the wonders of the human body and how to effectively manage and treat the patients that I’m responsible for. What I don’t love as much is the amount of documentation that I’m forced to type into the electronic medical record (EMR). However, I do understand the vital importance of documentation and am truly glad to have the EMR because it is the main form of communication that healthcare providers use with one another. It also makes following patients much easier, if you know how to use it correctly. It really is a double-edged sword; it makes our lives both easier and harder at the same time. Like most of the health providers in the country, I just have to learn to live with it and to be as efficient with it as I can.

I’m going to end this post here so that I can catch up on some other important things on this day off, as well as have some time to kick back and relax before I start a seven-day stretch of work tomorrow. The grind NEVER stops!

“Your reality is as you perceive it to be. So, it is true, that by altering this perception we can alter our reality.” – William Constantine

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I just had a conversation with my future mother-in-law (also a physician) who lifted my spirits about powering through the unique period of residency training and reminded me of the awesome opportunity that I have to learn as much as I can about medicine and patient care as a resident protected at an excellent program at an academic institution. She understood how hard residency can be and how it can swallow up your whole life, and she encouraged me to use that to my advantage by losing myself in my work and really taking full advantage of what my experiences have to offer because three years will go by much quicker than I realize.

She believed that there would be a time in the future where I would look back on intern year and warmly reminiscince on my experiences. She also had full belief that I would make it through even when things got harder as I advance in residency and that I would make the most of my experiences, those of which will help mold me into an excellent physician. And last but not least, she advised me to remember my why when times got rough and that most people do not receive the opportunity that I’ve been blessed with. I definitely appreciated our conversation and hearing all of those encouraging words. I needed to hear that right about now!

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