Every time there was a rough time during my intern year, I looked forward to the time I would do anesthesia. As I drug myself though the tediousness and exhaustion of internal medicine and cardiology, I thought about how great it would be to leave it behind for anesthesia. I daydreamed how anesthesia would be all rainbows and daisies and sparkles and pink unicorns.
Well, it's not.
Most of the emotions that I'm dealing with I know are irrational. I know it's because it's all new and scary and will eventually stop being that way. But at the same time, it's hard to cope at the moment.
My days are tough. I leave the house at 5:30 am, so that I can be in my scrubs and setting up the OR by 6 am. I work until 6 or 7 pm. And by work, I mean flat out run, both physically and mentally. There is no way to work fast enough to satisfy either my attendings or especially the surgeons. And everything is so new that I fall asleep the moment I sit down at home. I've fallen asleep both at the dinner table and while reading bedtimes stories to the boys.
Everything terrifies me. I feel like I don't know enough, that I'll never know enough. Obviously, I'm not supposed to know every thing right now. That's why I have three years of anesthesia residency, to learn all that I need to. But every time I provide anesthesia (under the watchful eyes and trained hands of my attendings) I feel that there is no excuse for the gaps in my knowledge.
There are days when my feet hurt so bad from standing for 13 hours that I limp to my car. There are days when I'm at the hospital until 8 pm that I want to throw things and give up. There are days when things go wrong in the operating room, things that I do know how to fix, and I'm shaking so bad that I can barely stand up. There are days when I feel that I'm not cut out for this.
I kept looking forward to anesthesia because I kept hoping to feel that medical school wasn't a terrible mistake. That I can have something good so I can stop feeling that I've given away my youth, my energy, and precious moments of my childrens' lives for something that just wasn't worth it.
Do I think it will always be this hard? No. Eventually I will feel comfortable, things will be second nature, and I'll know what I'm doing. Do I think it will always be so discouraging? Hopefully not. I'm counting on it not. Do I think it will be worth it? This is the question that takes more faith that I have some times. I hope so. I need it to be worth it.