Well it’s not quite a year since I last posted so I must be winning at something right! This blog has been running since 2010 – I can’t believe it! Pity it’s not more frequent but eh, you can only do what you can do. So, 2010 was final year of medical school, 2019 is second last year of advanced training. Can you believe it? I know, I probably should be done by now but there’s two babies and two mat leaves and some part time training in there, so I’m not doing too badly.
When I look back over the last 9 years, it’s like looking over a series of mountains. I can’t see the starting line anymore. I’m not the same person by any stretch. I’m harder in some places, softer in others, I’m pretty sure I’m much stupider than I was but I make up for it with lots and lots (and lots) of hospital experience. And I’m also pretty tired of hospitals. Some people never get over the merry-go-round and just love the acuity, the intensity, the perpetual high-functioning anxiety of it all.
But oh, I am so tired. I haven’t slept since 2014 when my first was born. I churn through patients and patients and patients and never quite get enough time with them because I’m drowning in paperwork and meetings and projects. Every single little thought I have, every email I get, every meeting request gets scheduled, reminder-added, double reminder, or added to a task list with another reminder. I get home from work and jump straight into my beautiful, relentless, children. The evening routine of play-feed-bath-put to bed gets me to 9pm. We wrangle dinner. No time to make lunch if I want to sleep. And my nights are filled with rocking my non-sleeping baby and breaking all the sleep-rules. And then back to work, with it’s dizzying array of people, requests, and frightened, vulnerable patients and families. I never, ever, thought it would be like this. I had no idea. It is just push-push-push all the time.
But less than two years to go now. You sort of think after exams it will quieten down but it’s just a different kind of intense. So many more competing demands. And today I was sitting in meeting #92034783297892 and I started daydreaming about getting my letters. Letters!! FRACP!! I daydreamed about standing up at the lectern wearing a cap and a gown and shaking some dudes hand and getting a certificate, but really what it means is that I’m shaking that hand and walking through to my freedom from changing jobs every 3-4 months. It will be ten years of a new job, every few months by that point. When you think about it, it’s fucking ridiculous. But that’s medicine. So much of it is a level of ridiculous, delivered with full seriousness, gaslighting you into believing it’s normal.
So much is coming out into the media now, so much of my old normal which I never realised until later was overt bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, abusive work hours. I’m glad I’m out of all of that (mostly). Junior doctor life, depending on where you land, is like Lord of the Flies. It’s awful. And maybe one day when I have my letters, I’ll have more perspective on it and maybe I can help. But I’m so tired, I’m out of fights. My former indignant, and usefully outraged self has been replaced by this pleasantly comatosed and somewhat zombie-like human who pastes on a smile and tells herself and everyone around her that it will be okay, that this too shall pass. Less than two years to go. My secret inner-catastrophising mind whispers “what if something bad happens and you never get to finish?!” Things that keep me up at night. I have thrown myself at this wall over and over and over and the thought of that makes me feel ill. But hey, they’re just thoughts, not realities.
I’m so tired. And I can’t wait to be done.