|An image of almost exactly the same setup as on my first day of ObGyn.|
Original image from: http://www.lourdes.com/media/157961/daVinci_OR2.jpg
2. Lack of free time
I'm currently just over three weeks into my Obstetrics and Gynecology (ObGyn) rotation, and it's AWESOME. Crazy, crazy, exhausting hours, but very cool stuff. To help you understand the hours, I'll put it this way: I just finished day 3 of a 20-day stretch where I am scheduled at least 12 per day, every day. No weekends. No breaks. Let me break it down a bit more for you:
This week, I'm on from 5:30am - 6:00pm every day in Labor and Delivery (L&D). Yesterday I didn't get home till about 6:45pm because a patient started pushing right at the end of my shift. It was great though, because I GOT TO DELIVER HER CHILD. I'm keeping a running tally of deliveries - more about that once this clerkship is over. Anyway, this Friday I start at 5:30am and don't get home till Saturday morning at 7:30am. That's 26 hours straight, so I don't go back in until Sunday morning, when I work 7am-7pm (12 hours). Then Monday through Friday next week it's 5:30am - 5:30pm in Gynecologic Oncologic Surgery. That Saturday I'm back in L&D from 7am Saturday morning until 7am Sunday morning. After that, I'm on 5:30am - 5:30pm Monday - Friday in Maternal Fetal Medicine - all high risk patients. Then, I get a two-day weekend before a week of 14-hour night shifts from 5pm - 7am.
I want to reiterate - this is exhausting, but TONS of fun. I didn't expect to enjoy the ObGyn rotation half as much as I am. The moments when a couple's new baby is born is indescribable. It's awesome to see tough guys cry the first time they lay their eyes on a new son, or the look on a mom's face the first time she sees her baby. So fun to be part of all of that.
I've assisted on more than 20 different surgeries in the past weeks, even getting to throw My First Stitch. Who knew that ObGyn was half surgery?!? Definitely not me. My first day of the rotation, I was able to be in the room during a da Vinci robot surgery (see above image). While I wasn't operating (students don't operate), I was able to observe as the resident and attending worked. It was really cool how much they could do through just one small port through the umbilicus (bellybutton).
In most of the other surgeries, I've been able to actively assist the resident and attending. At this point, I think C-Sections might be my favorite, but I'm not sure. My week of ObGyn (lots of surgery) is still coming up, so we'll see if that changes. It's just really cool to have surgery start off nice and normal and then all of a sudden BOOM a BABY is coming out of the surgical site.
I have been almost constantly in awe of what modern medicine is capable of these past three weeks. It's insane what we are able to do with the aid of anesthesiology. A patient can be awake and talking to you one second, and then two minutes later surgery is underway and you're inside them, working to make them better... Many times throughout each day, I take a few seconds to pause and think about what I and the other doctors, nurses, and techs are doing, and I'm humbled. We are so privileged to have the abilities and education that we have, but we are so much more privileged to have such profound trust as that which is placed in us by our patients.
I still don't know what I want to do. I just know that I made the right choice in pursuing a career in medicine. Yes, there are often frustrating, embarrassing, uncomfortable, and really exhausting periods of time, but the good outweighs the bad, no question about it. I love taking care of people, and even though (as a med student) I'm not the focal point of the patient's care quite yet, I'm finally learning how to move into that role. Yes, I might be constantly on the verge of nodding off whenever I move to a quite room with some white noise. No, I don't get to play with Hobbes as much as I'd like. And extra-big YES, I might be missing Wife more than ever these days, with both of us working 12+ hours most days. But in the end, third year is leaps and bounds different from the first two years, and I'm love it. Granted, that might be because I haven't had to take an exam yet (and won't have to for another four weeks), but there you have it.