Today as I walked down the hospital corridor, I passed by a few souls, clearly a newcomer in this harsh world of doctoring. Sparkly white coat, nametag on point, stethoscope around the neck, and above all, a face that screams "help me", "why'd I choose these path", "should I quit" on top of a skinny and exhausted physique, always running, as if chasing time and the unforgiving amount of never-ending workload. Yes, that was me 2 years ago when I first started as a first poster.
Looking back, sometimes it still knocks me into disbelief that I've eventually made it through. I rarely cried, but I gave in at one point after 5 days of tagging, I came home and cried and cried and cried into my husband's arms. The trigger point was simple; it was a patient's relative who scolded me for changing his father's medication dose (he thought he was a smart-ass and that change was not indicated). The breakdown was an accumulative effect; as a fresh doctor I faced a lot of bullying and verbal abuse that week from my superiors but I didn't cry until that one particular trigger. Funny when I looked back, I don't think I'd cry over the same reason now than I did last time.
My dad had to send me daily inspirational quotes to keep motivating me, he's cute like that.
Another time I broke down was in my 2nd year of housemanship. That was merely work-related, when I was at home with my parents and I received a call from a colleague. She questioned me on an unclerked patient presumably because she thinks I was trying to play truant by leaving work early and because she felt burdened by the workload I "purposely" left for her. She called and over the phone yelled at me so unprofessionally, I wanted to fight back but my eyes just welled up with tears of anger.
Imagine you've been doing your job diligently just tryna get through the day unharmed then somebody came along and said this shitty thing about you. It hurts. That day I learned that not everybody can work without being calculative. I became calculative towards her thereafter hahaha kidding
Working temporarily in my current department has made me realized how numb I have become to verbal abuse and sarcasm. If previously my day would be ruined by one simple scolding, now I can refer a case and get a verbal tell-off and can totally shake it off minutes after (although I would recall the story back to my husband with the same amount of annoyance). I realized that in Malaysia, our interdepartmental relationship are no joke. MO from Department A will tell off MO Department B for missing one tiny detail in his/ her referral and MO A would make a big deal out of it. I mean, come on, get over your ego. You're not the only expert in your field. If I get a dengue medical MO to induce and maintain ventilation in GA patient can she do it so perfectly? Seriously get over yourself.
What I'm trying to say is it's okay to break down and cry. Some of the thoughts that stop me from quitting housemanship are; 1) I felt like I've wasted 7 years of grueling medical studies just to leave it hanging halfway incomplete 2) I don't know what else to do other than doctoring, seriously 3) Families, they took so much pride in my job that it feels like a huge letdown if I stopped halfway.
It's been harsh these days, with the contract basis employment. I have a feeling that those malignant superiors will use this contract thingy as an excuse to abuse fresh housemen even more but that's okay, let them be. It'll be tougher but tough times don't last, tough people do.
Random postcall ramblings as usual!
Till then xx