Welcome to Paediatrics, the roughest rotation of intern year. When the head of department begins her speech with “I’m sure you’ve all heard the rumours, and they’re all true” you know you’re not in Kansas any more.
Everything from gaining intravenous access to giving chemotherapy is a thousand times harder in children. They’re definitely not little adults. The entire frustrating process is complicated even more by the precision of doses, by the fact that doctor have to give all IV medications and by the constant presence of scared and angry parents.
“The parents are not your enemy,” our head of department advised. “Once you talk to them about what’s going on, they’ll be more likely to step back and let you do your job.”
But the actual job is so goddamn hard. Just getting blood from a baby for a haematology sample can be a Herculean struggle. The need for constant attention to detail keeps me up for 36 straight hours on every emergency duty. Having to calculate the neonatal dose of crystallized penicillin for a baby with ?sepsis feels like something I should not be doing at 2am after 18 straight hours on my feet. And yet.
I’m always counting down the weeks, the days, the hours. My first duty was so horrible (I was so unprepared) that as I walked from the lab where I had just dropped off some samples to the elevator that would take me back to the 6th floor I said to myself, “I just survived 30 more seconds of this battle”.
I do what I can to keep myself sane. (It doesn’t always work).
As much as I want time to speed up when I’m on duty I want it to slow right down for the moments when I’m not at the hospital.
I want time to stop entirely when I’m having an epic literary discussion with triciatallen over a Burger King lunch. I want time to slow to a crawl when I’ve gone out to dinner with the Todd and our medical students (because they were absolute lifesavers these last two weeks). Hell, I even want time to pause when I’m having dinner at home, despite the complaints and arguments that frequent our family time.
But it never does.
It only keeps moving inexorably forward, dragging me along to the end of Paediatrics, the end of internship and maybe, just maybe, to the beginning of a career path that might actually make me happy. Whatever that is.