Monday, June 12, 2006

Just Call Me Negative Ned

I haven’t written for several days because I wanted to try and avoid sounding like a depressed freak. I had hoped to post some lighthearted, joyous stories. As I am normally a fairly rapid cycler, I thought the pendulum would swing back to Pleasantville sometime over the course of the weekend. Well, it hasn’t. I still feel totally eviscerated.

This morning, after an anxious and fitful 5 hours of sleep, I wanted to die when my alarm went off. The thought of starting pediatric wards was totally overwhelming. After a full day of orientation, it still is. I suppose I can take some solace in the fact that several colleagues expressed similar feelings. But the fact is, strength in numbers can only carry one so far.

I’ll spare you the details, but basically I’ve been wandering around in a funny fog for the past week. I feel like I’m in a movie. Tonight, for example, I had to drive out to Orleans to get an MRI. I sustained a hand injury at hockey several weeks ago, and the orthopedic surgeon thinks I may have done a real number on it. Perfect.

Just driving into Orleans is enough to make anyone feel shitty, but as I shuffled up to the door of the clinic, nestled in a dark strip mall, I felt especially rotten. I had gotten lost and was a little late. Worse, my car was operating on fumes. I proceeded to have bizzarro interactions with a woman waiting for her MRI. She essentially told me the story of her life. If I weren’t so turned in on myself these days, I might’ve given a shit, but fact is, I didn’t really want to hear about her GD rheumatoid arthritis tonight. I feigned interest.

The MRI experience sucked. The guy had serendipitously tuned me into CBC Radio One, where Michael Enright (not my favourite guy) was interviewing a super fascinating woman about human behaviour and personality disorders. I was loving it, but he set the volume just a titch lower than what my ears could accommodate as the machine shook and moaned for 25 minutes. It was something like how I would imagine Chinese water torture would feel. I strained in vein to hear and clung to my panic button for dear life as I tried to lay as still as possible for fear or exploding if I moved an inch. My guts were absolutely rumbling by the end, and for a brief moment I thought I might lose control and shit my pants in the MRI machine. I wonder how that image would show up.

As I was leaving, the woman who walked me out said “good night, and be careful out there.” She said it like she knew something I didn’t, and I wondered how bad the gang scene had become on the mean streets of Orleans. Eerily, she was right. I was in for a shake up. I have a knack for taking wrong turns and getting totally disoriented. Tonight was no different and it probably took me twice as long as it should have to get home. My blood pressure was peaking as I "navigated" in circles through lifeless subdivisions.

Why can’t I just have a normal life? I could be done a phD by now, in bioethics, or something equally stimulating. I would still feel smart, have the respect of my colleagues, and probably my research would've been funded. Instead. I start a new job every couple of weeks. Last week I was a general surgeon, a few weeks before that, a urologist. Before that, an ob/gyn. Today, and for the next three weeks, I am a pediatrician. Then I will do a brief stint as a neonatologist. Is it any wonder that eating and anxiety disorders run rampant among medical students? I feel like I am on the verge of a panic attack these days with no control over anything. I used to be cool as a cucumber, but now I feel like a different kind of vegetable.

Hopefully, by the next time I write, I will have rejoined the realm of the emotionally stable. Probably not though, since I am on call tomorrow night. At the very least, I will be able to share some self-deprecating, but humourous tales of humiliation and inadequacy for your reading pleasure. I guess this blog is a better coping mechanism than obsessive repetitive counting exercises, or pulling my hair out in clumps.



Blogger The One and Only said...

Hey Tabbs. Although I enjoy your posts, I have to say that this one was not as enjoyable - based only on the idea of you being tortured. It sounds like the medical school thing is getting on your nerves and I think that once all these rotations stop and you can have more control over what is going on you will be fine. I also wanted to note that you are very funny and that I am glad to be your friend. I wish you the best and I believe you are going to come out of this a better person.

As for myself, I have a job interview in two hours and I have a feeling that this interview is going to have a profound effect on my self-worth and happiness for the near future. Wish me luck.

1:57 PM  

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