34. That’s the number of hours of sleep I got in the last one week. From the 4-5 hours nights to the 0 hour nights oncall.
There are times when the pride I feel to be working at a world renowned medical center, feels like it’s going to burst my chest. But there are days too that I would wish for a case of acute appendicitis just so that I would not need to go to work. Would not need to get up at 5 am. Would not need to face the dreaded sound of my beeper.
Before I went into medical school, I had been told many times about the hardship of a medical doctor. However, nothing could have prepared my body for the shock of being so constantly tired. Never could I have thought it to be possible, to even speak, after one has been awake for 36 hours. But we find ourselves living, and even being responsible for people’s lives, prescribing medications or even running codes in that condition.
What propels me? Certainly not the monetary gains. Some colleagues have actually sat down and calculated, that, hour for hour we as medical residents earn less than that pimple-faced kid at McDonald’s. I suppose it’s that stubbornness, that in the end life will change for the better. That being a ‘consultant’ will be different. That the lives we touch make the tears and sweat worthwhile. But can we ever quantify the sacrifices we make? How a residency can steal one of his very soul and make him into a bitter, depressed person?
My internship year, easily the most challenging ever in my life, is a year behind me. I’m proud to say I survived, and survived well. There are lives I know I saved. People I touched. Friendships I forged. Would I do this again? Probably not, if I had known. Do I regret this. Again, negative.