RESIDENCY begins on the 16th of December. Last week, I was handed my schedule for the entire year. I'll be at the Pay Wards on December, the Charity Wards on January, and the Medical Intensive Care Unit, hereon referred to as the MICU, on February—that's all I can remember for now. I will have my out-patient clinics every Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon. I will have 24-hour shifts every three days. Except for the seven-day “leave” (yes, it's in quotation marks because it doesn't really exist) on the third week of August next year, I will be doing rounds every single day of the year 2015, regardless of holidays, floods, or supertyphoons.
To do these things, I will have to cancel some engagements, postpone meet ups with friends, absent myself from reunions, and even miss church. That might mean fewer blog entries too.
Friends who've taken specialty training are unanimous in saying that first year residency, at least at PGH, is the hardest. But once you're done with it, you're good to go for the next two or more years. Dr. Alric Mondragon, the out-going chief Internal Medicine chief resident, told me to “take it one day at a time.” Thinking too much about tomorrow can get overwhelming, sometimes discouraging.
One can never be too prepared for residency; it is almost like med school but harder. One must find time to study, on top of delivering quality patient care and getting sufficient rest. One must also keep one's self humane, because residency often makes robots out of doctors, a tragic irony. It must be the non-stop work, or what pyschologists call “caregiver fatigue,” which government health care workers are often prone to.
I don't know how I will fare, but I pray that I always find strength and joy in the Lord. For the past weeks I've made a list of resolutions, inspired by Jonathan Edwards, which includes: that I always pray for my patients and be a kind and competent internist for them; that I be Christ-like in my dealings with them; that I be humble in my interactions with superiors and colleagues and that I think highly of them. I can do these only by God's enabling grace. And so my perspective must always be heavenward. I must immerse myself in the study of the Scripture. I must make every effort to fellowship with other believers. I must also put my theology into practice.
Dear Reader, do pray for me. And thanks for always sticking it out.