Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties (a.k.a. "Leaf")

Monday, December 18, 2006

Second chances

I started knitting a second Seaweed and Shells scarf for my mom a couple of days ago...Now that I'm doing my yarnovers correctly (i.e. not backwards), it looks a bit different. So I'm planning to knit the Dayflower and Branching Out scarves again correctly to prove that I can actually follow a pattern!

Life is a little slower now that I'm on night float, which is why I have some time to post these days. Last month, I was working in the MICU, which was alternately exhilarating and exhausting. When I worked in the MICU as an intern, I found that a lot of my patients were critically ill, but I wasn't doing much for them and what I was doing for them wasn't doing anything to change their prognoses...Most of them were dying and I was unable to change that. Yet with all of the medicines and drips and lines and machines, I was able to prolong their lives. It felt awful. As a resident, things in the MICU had changed. There were a lot of younger patients, which I suppose is scary on the one hand, but on the other, well, Mike put it best. He said that the reason that we take younger patients to the MICU is because we think that treating them aggressively will actually benefit them--we're fighting hard because they have a chance of walking out of the hospital and living a normal life. I thought that was a pretty astute assessment for someone who hasn't done any clinical medicine.

And so there were times when I really felt like that was what I was doing--getting people up to the MICU, treating them, and then sending them out to the regular wards. I'd see them walking the halls and feel a little bit gratified (although to be honest, the real point of the MICU is more the nursing staff than the residents).

But there were a lot of times when I felt like I was just torturing patients with those same needles and lines and drips. And those memories, sights and sounds, won't go away.

Last month also led me to the definitive conclusion that critical care isn't for me, which is part of what allowed me to finally submit my application for rheumatology fellowship. (The other part was getting my butt in gear and writing my personal statement.) Part of the attraction, I think, is that almost all of the pulmonary/critical care physicians I've worked with are wonderful--smart, insightful, compassionate, great teachers...basically everything I aspire to be as a physician. But pulmonology just isn't interesting to me. And I don't want to be emotionally drained all the time, to become cynical, and to try not to care--which started happening towards the end of the month.

Anyway, all of that is over now--for the moment, at least. I caught up on sleep last week, and now can start focusing on new projects--Step 3 of the medical boards, interviewing for fellowship, and, oh yes, winter-time knitting.

Comments on "Second chances"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:19 PM) : 

i'm amazed that anyone can do what you and other doctors do - you definitely deserve some down time!


Blogger Anne-Caroline said ... (8:16 PM) : 

Congratulations on choosing the next step - that is big. Sometimes, you just have to admit things to yourself that you can't see until you take a step back. Plus, I bet you will be all those things as a rheum doctor. :)


Anonymous sharon said ... (2:17 AM) : 

Medical boards and knitting. Good to see you have your priorities sorted. ;)



Anonymous jennifer said ... (2:24 PM) : 

Nice one, girl! I think I'd seen you mention rheumatology many years ago as a possible speciality.

Also, what is the MICU? Is it what we call "intensive care?"


Blogger aruni said ... (3:06 PM) : 

Thanks for the support--last month was really tough, but I guess I learned a lot. (And yes, Jennifer--the MICU is the medical intensive care unit, as opposed to surgical, pediatric, neonatal, etc.)


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