Saturday, February 10, 2007

I'm pretty sure I'm married...

...but has anyone seen my husband?

This medical school thing sucks. Just in case anyone was wondering, it is as bad as they say it is. Only some of it is better and some of it is worse.

Worse. Maybe that's not the right word for it. I think some of it they just don't tell you about, and then you figure it out on your own and you're like, "Wow, this really sucks."

What I mean is, Justin is on the inpatient internal medicine rotation now. I can't remember if this is supposed to be one of the good ones or one of the bad ones; I am not sure what the typical qualifiers are for such labels. But I can tell you what I think of it: it's both. (Now all my English 9 kids are going, "What?!?! You have to pick! And then defend your answer!" Well kids, this is what's called a rough draft. Maybe I'll go back and change my thesis later. Plus I'm a more advanced writer than you, so despite having used "well," "like," and "sucks" in this blog thus far, I have a degree in literature and a writing process.... at least I am writing... so deal.) ;)

So far, as you may recall, Justin has done his surgery, ObGyn, psychiatry, family practice (intermittently) and internal medicine outpatient rotations. Soon, he has to pick a field to specialize in so that he can apply for his residency. As the official recorder of rotation experience, I have this to say about internal medicine:

Coming on the heels of ObGyn and psych, he loves it. He's back in medicine, doing things that actually help people get better (v. the often unhelpable mentally ill--and I obviously say that with all due respect) and seeing tangible results each day. He loves the human anatomy, and I think getting to work with the whole body instead of just the female parts or the brain is stimulating for him (ironically). But, he wakes up at 5 a.m. and leaves the house by 6 a.m. every day. Though they do not have overnight calls, he has this bizarre system of short and long calls. Each day is different and I can't really figure it out. I think it works like this: pre-call day he's supposed to get off work around 5 p.m., then there's short call, where they admit patients in a different way starting at 1 p.m. or something and are supposed to work til 8 p.m.ish (or when they've admitted two patients each, possibly meaning they're later or earlier than 8, depending on people's willingness to be sick in an orderly fashion), then there's a post call day?, then another pre-call day and then a long call day. On these days they work until midnight or 1 a.m., though Justin has a nice resident who miraculously facilitated his return to me at 10:30 last night, so we got to cuddle and watch the last of Law and Order together. But, since it's a weekend, he's got call of some sort today that has him at work as usual in the morning until God knows when, though rumor has it he might be home in the afternoon. He said, "who told you that?" when I told him. So I'm not counting on it.

In case somehow you didn't follow that, the long and short of it is that since Sunday, Justin and I have seen each other in dark-sleepiness exclusively. I come home from whatever activity I've scheduled to keep myself from getting too lonely, and he's already sleeping or not home. One of us is almost always in bed before the other, the sleeping one stirs, the awake one cuddles-up, we sleep, he rises, I stir, he kisses me goodbye and hours later I wake up wondering what day of the week it is. Rewind. Replay.

People were kind enough to get sick quickly on Thursday, so he was able to admit two patients early enough to have DINNER WITH ME! It was amazing. We had a CONVERSATION. And then I went to my art meeting and he was asleep when I got home.

Our Pastor had this advice for us about 15 minutes face to face time each day, for conversation and emotional/spiritual/intellectual closeness, but I can't even find time to remember to tell him the toilet is not flushing properly. At least we still manage date night once a week, by default of not cooking and so having to eat somewhere else if we realize we're together and hungry.

So to the question you've all been asking--what is he going to specialize in?

Definitely not psych. Boring, too close to home, boring, and not "medicine" enough for him. It was making him crazy.

Definitely not ObGyn. Boring, too close to home (all those damn women and their healthy babies being born and some of them not even really needing or wanting more kids), boring, and not interesting enough for him. Plus after surgery all the med students think ObGyn surgeons are butchers with terrible technique.

He loved surgery. Orthopedic surgery. This is not hugely surprising, he likes puzzles, and putting bones back together isn't that different. Plus he gets to use power tools like drills and hammers and nails, so it's like he's working construction or in the garage he doesn't have. And, there's the tangible result of obviously fixing something that is obviously broken. And he likes the orthopedic surgeons--he's liked them as a patient for his foot, his knee (torn ACL clearly connected to amputated half foot and weakening of the left leg), his collar bone... need I go on? They're jock-like and funny and charming and just like him. Sure, the other surgeons make fun of them, but that's just the super-nerds making fun of the jock-nerds. And like a Marine can't handle a little ribbing.

So over that one dinner we shared this week, I told him not to hold back, not to choose another specialty because he thought it would be easier or have better hours. Choosing a career based on those characteristics is relatively stupid. Firstly, the hours aren't that great anyway, and secondly, it's a really bad idea to do something for work you're not actually passionate about if you've got the choice. There's too many people out their who hate their jobs or don't have the educational opportunity or drive to have choices like this to make and so are suffering. Why endure four years of medical school just to choose to be bored like a cashier or clerical worker? (Jobs I find boring, no offense if you do not.) He told me he keeps talking himself out of surgery, and that doctors who are guessing his future keep pegging him as a surgeon. Someone said he "has good hands," plus he's got that organizational-attention-to-detail thing, plus he's spatially adept.

But then last night he said, "But when I was on surgery my foot hurt a lot, didn't it?"

I said I didn't remember, but now that I think about it, I think it did. But I also think they can make it so he can sit down on a bar stool like thing and be able to do surgery. They can accommodate him. For God sake, it's hospitals and handicapped people. Just fix it.

I also felt hugely relieved because if it's his foot, then it's not me that he's using to reject surgery--and we already resent his foot.

But I want him to be able to do what he wants to do while he's working. And I'd also like to see him now and then.

Granted, we start to drive each other crazy when we spend 24/7 together when he's on vacation, but 15 minutes a day doesn't seem like a lot to ask.

The future shall be revealed... I'm going back to my one day at a time, and today I have an Art Show for Ray at Night. :) He might be there, with a medical book in a coffee lounge... studying... and that's fine. I just like it when we smile at each other. He has dimples.

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