* * Anonymous Doc

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not to dwell on this part of my life, and especially not this early in the morning, but I fell asleep feeling kind of down that I don't imagine I met my wife at the social event last night. It's this weird sudden pressure, this sudden realization that the "normal" part of my life, at least for a few years, is over, in four days, and the craziness of intern year will begin. And that there's just no way that with my schedule, and with the kind of sleep-deprived, stressed-out person I'm almost certain to become, that any relationship is possibly going to work. And so every night for the next three years, I'm going to come home to an empty apartment, turn on the TV, make myself dinner for one, and collapse in my bed. That's a crappy life. Even if the work part is satisfying, which at this level there's no guarantee it will be. It's admin work, it's writing notes, it's entering orders, it's defensive medicine-- making sure my patients don't get worse. I'm going into primary care because I want to do offensive medicine-- preventative care, quality-of-life enhancement, I want to make people's lives better instead of just reacting to problems that are already too far along for medicine to do all that much. I don't want to spend my career working in a hospital setting. I want to do research, but more than that I want to see patients and develop relationships with them over the course of years and feel like a part of their lives. But if I'm working in an office, if I'm working normal hours-- I also want to have a family and someone to come home to. Which I'm more and more worried I won't.

Part of me knows this is silly, that the right relationship will happen when it happens, and even residency won't stop something that's supposed to happen from happening. And part of me even knows that residency can't possibly be as bad as everyone says it is-- nothing's ever as bad as people say it's going to be-- and I'll be fine. Look, I have colleagues with babies, I had medical school classmates with two kids, it's not easy but they make it work. And if they can make that work then certainly I can find time to go on a few dates or something. I've been to four weddings this year already-- what are they doing that I'm not? (Well, part of what they were doing was looking for a relationship. I only now realize I spent too much of the past ten years just assuming it would find me and not doing much to put myself out there. But that doesn't make me unique....)

I don't usually obsess about this. I think it's just the impending doom of this whole thing starting. It's like this is the last four days I will ever be completely free, ever. I'll have patients, I'll have responsibilities, I won't ever be free again (until I retire?). And so what am I doing with my last free Friday? Surfing the Internet. Ha.

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