It’s not so bad

Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they initially seem.

So far, Surgery does not suck nearly as much as I thought it would.  In fact, aside from the freakishly early mornings and late evenings, it isn’t bad at all.

I was scared because, well, I don’t like doing surgery.  And surgical patients are often out of my comfort zone.  I don’t consistently have an overwhelming urge to cut things out and the whole concept of wound infections and such is beyond what I generally deal with on a day-to-day basis normally.  Plus, some of the other residents I know had some pretty awful experiences on surgery.

I, however, seem to be learning a ton.  Yes, I still have that fish-out-of-water feeling more often than not.  And I have to check with my senior residents about all sorts of things.  But, I am learning.  I am getting better at jumping on the “correct every lab abnormality” bandwagon (I have adjusted to dealing with really sick, not-so-correctable patients).  I am getting better at understanding how to give TPN (total parenteral nutrition, i.e. food in an IV).  I am figuring out the ins and outs of the still-new-to-me  hospital.

The nurses, for the most part are helpful and understanding.  Same with the residents.  People take time to teach, especially if I ask questions or at least try.

In fact, earlier this week, one of the attendings was taking the rest of the team to the skills lab and when I asked, he said I could come along.  He showed me some cool tips for suturing and didn’t eat me for being a bit slow on the uptake.  By the time I left, I felt near competent in that area.

I also have had a chance to hit up clinic, another thing I had heard was something we often don’t get time to do.  But, where my co-residents are so helpful (and a bunch of people are away at a conference, so it was a slow week), I am actually getting these other learning opportunities.
I feel like I am already a million times better at understanding and dealing with pre and post operative issues.  And it is only a week and a half in.  I am grateful.

My new goal is to learn how to take out drains.  And maybe even go to an OR or two.

It is funny how things change.  A week and a half ago, I pretty much deemed my life to be over (and no, I am not being overdramatic).  But, honestly, it is pretty good.

Things often happen like this.  Sometimes, you dread things and they are as bad as they seemed.  But, most of the time, they aren’t as bad as you expect.  Probably thanks to low expectations, but also because we (or at least I) have a tendency to expect extremes.

It isn’t perfect.  I still don’t enjoy the OR.  I probably will never enjoy the hours.  And, honestly I would like to spend far more time with people than the schedule allows and take a different approach to patients than some of the things I have witnessed.

Thankfully, though… It isn’t bad.  And I can work to make it better and keep it good.

A good chunk of it is in attitude.  I really do want to learn.  And I just keep reminding myself it is for learning.  I really want to help people.  So, I keep reminding myself that what I am doing helps the patients and families (and every once in awhile, the staff).  I think if I moped and stewed and walked around absolutely not caring all day, I would feel miserable.   All the more reason to be happy about where I am and what I am doing.  Even if it isn’t my favourite thing in the world.

So yes… Surgery is not what I expected.  It is much better.  It is a good lesson in many things medical, but also life.  Not all things are as bad as you expect.   In fact, they often turn out to be little blessings in disguise.


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