doctors make the worst patients

So as I stated in my previous posts, I’ve been really stressed about starting second year. The summer before I started medical school, between the wedding and moving three times, was so hectic that I never really had the time to stress too much about the future. I kind of just showed up to orientation and somehow a year passed without me even noticing. After remediating successfully, I was of course so grateful for the opportunity to move onto second year with my cohort but I’ve been really nervous too. Part of me still feels really unsure about whether I belong here or if I ever learned enough during first year to actually competently be able to take care of patients in the future. I know that self doubt can be really poisonous and I need to get all this negative energy out of me so I’m trying to put my best foot forward and move on.

I made a big effort to think of this year as a fresh start and to put the bumps in the road last year behind me. But I’ve realized that I’ve never been the kind of person to shy away from a challenge and I know that life is all about learning from your mistakes, accepting things as they come and looking for the good in every situation.

I was moseying along (yes, I did just use that word) through the first couple days of second year when I was hit with this weird upper respiratory/ear infection combo and it just bleeeeew me away. I’ve been collecting diagnosis since I was nineteen so I’ve been very used to being ‘sick’ but I’m somehow always surprised by how crappy an upper respiratory infection can make me feel. Most of the other conditions I deal with are chronic so it’s kind of always there and I never really get the opportunity to forget so as I was trying to be optimistic about this year and have a fresh start, I ended up missing a week of lectures and required classes. Fortunately, missing lectures isn’t that big of a deal because all our lectures are podcasted so I can access them from home. And I go to school with the most supportive people on the planet so I was constantly getting checked on and updates about what was going on school. My classmates helped me out with what I missed and the deans and staff have been super great too.

And as much as having this nasty cold sucked, it was also kind of a blessing in disguise. Hubby and I only had one week off at the same time and we spent that whole week on vacation. So I got to spend an extra week at home being taken care of my the most wonderful man and I’m so grateful for it. He’s going to be starting his new job next week so we’re going to have to make adjustments again on how/when/where we’re able to spend time together. It was nice to have a week of laziness, even if it was full of cough attacks and sniffles.

I also realize that our patients will be coming to us with diseases much more serious than simple upper respiratory infections and ear infections. As future health care professionals, I think it’s important that we take the time to reflect on how it feels to be ‘sick’ so that when our patients come to us plagued with more serious ailments, we may empathize. An appreciation for good health only comes when it’s taken away. As a medical student, I spend day and night learning about various diseases and pathologies that plague humans around the world. I go to clinic and see patients affected by the diseases I learn about in the classroom. But while I was sitting on the couch, trying to distract myself with books and terrible TV, surrounded by cough drops, NyQuil and tomato soup I realized that it’s so easy to forget that we, too, are human. That we too can be, and will be, plagued with these diseases. And that we need to take care of ourselves.

They say that ‘doctors make the worst patients’ and I want to end this post reminding myself first and foremost, and whoever else it may help, that self care is so incredibly important. As we grow older I think it’s important that we recognize what we need in order to be healthy and happy and do whatever we need in order to make that happen. Especially in a field like medicine, where it’s so easy to become jaded and lose whatever motivated us to come here in the first place, it’s important to do whatever we need to do to stay in a good, even great place so that we can remind ourselves of what an incredible privilege it is to help people through their most vulnerable times.

Currently listening: Sons & Daughters by Alan Brown & Liz Lawrence

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