Notes from the Edge of a Social Life

I wrote this more than a week ago. Clearly I am psychic. You may have it, unedited, because I am still chin-deep in post-call duties, ward rounds and general madness. 

I begin my Junior Medicine rotation on Monday, November 19. That’s also my mother’s birthday. I will be stationed at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston. My mother will be at her job in Montego Bay. This will probably be the first time in my entire life that I don’t see my mother on her birthday.

I only hear terrible things about this rotation. Whenever you ask one of the other students how it is, you’re rewarded with a blank stare followed by a big sigh, “prepare to die” warning optional. This is because as the consultants put it, “medicine is the most important rotation of your entire med school career”. This is what doctors do. Well, internists, at least. Internal medicine has the most patients and the longest hours. On these wards, patients are chronically and terminally ill. Surgical patients come in, get cut up a bit then go home. Medical patients are long-term residents.

I will be on call no less than three times during this rotation. Staying at the hospital clerking patients until 10pm is a pretty daunting prospect. I am terrified but determined. We get Christmas break halfway through, so that will ease the pressure somewhat.

I suppose this is a suicide note, of sorts. If I don’t show up when I’m supposed to you’ll know that I’ve died of shame from my ineptitude on ward rounds. And lack of sleep.

I really want to survive, though.

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