Tuesday, June 21, 2005

the question of why

Sometimes people ask me why I keep this online journal, or how I have time to update on a semi-regular basis. The quantity and quality of the updates definitely tapers off the busier I am, but I'm always, always glad to keep up the journal. I mean, I'm glad that other people like to read it too, and that certainly lights the fire under my boots to update regularly, but the main reason I keep this enterprise up is selfish. Because I want to remember all this stuff.

When Joe and I started med school, one of Joe's friends (who had just started his residency) encouraged us to keep a journal. "You will not believe the stories that you'll have to tell by the end of your training." At the time, I couldn't understand how reading about my Infectious Disease final would be terribly fascinating for posterity, but weirdly enough, even that is interesting in its own way now, looking back. As the years passed, the stories sometimes got a little more interesting, but also sometimes just as inane, if not more so, than ever. It's just life, you know, the little things and the big things and all the things in between.

These are just the things that I'm thinking about now, preparing for Cal to be born, and moving into a new phase of my medical training. With all the whirlwind of the next few months and how fast time seems to fly by these days, I wouldn't be totally surprised to look around only to realize that, incomprehensibly, another five years has passed. And honestly, in another five years, it's going to be really difficult to remember those hazy first few months of having a new baby, that feeling of disorientation in starting a new field, or just the day-in day-out torture of being a resident. People who finish residency say that the amnestic process takes them by surprise in how quickly it strikes, and from personal experience I know this to be true, since I can already barely remember what med school was like.

Luckily, I don't really have to remember, because I wrote it down. And then I wrote down some more. And reading back on some of those older entries is a fun, though occasionally disorienting experience. It's like opening up a time capsule, or getting into my own flying DeLorean. Sure, my experiences aren't so special or earth-shattering (I would classify it as externalized self-analysis at best, naval-gazing at worst), but there's just something very reassuring about having a record of it all. I'm a pack-rat anyway, so it's just in my nature to keep all kinds of mementos and souvenirs around. Lots of it is just minutiae, but now and then there's something pretty big. Personally, though, I barely even differentiate. Because I want to remember it all.

* * *

My scutmonkey OR cap arrived in the mail yesterday, and pleasantly surprised me by not being yellow as depicted in the retail picture, but a lovely shade of apple green. Better yet! I will be stylish, with my apple green cap and mashed hair.

I've had a lot of time off over the past few weeks, and I'm getting anxious to start work again, even if the timing is a little off with the whole due date and whatnot. It's like that feeling at the end of summer vacation, when you've kind of had enough of lying on the air conditioner and daytime TV, and you go back-to-school shopping with your parents to stock up on notebooks and pencils and things and all of a sudden you JUST CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL. But then fast forward to three weeks later, when you actually are back at school and you just can't believe you were ever in such a rush to have your summer vacation over with. That's what it's going to be like in a week and a half, when that alarm clock goes off at 4:30am and I ask myself just what the hell I've gotten myself into.

That's one of the things about Anesthesiology that's making me nervous. They wake up so damn early. Maybe not at 4:30am every day--that's just a cruel personal detail dictated by earlier start times for the first month in addition to the commute time--but certainly no later than 5:30am for most people, unless they happen to live next door to the hospital or something like that. Maybe if I went into Pain Management or something with more normal "clinic" hours, it wouldn't be quite so painful (heh), but otherwise I feel like I'm never going to see the sun for the REST OF MY LIFE. Certainly, there were months in Peds where I felt like that too--stretches on the wards, in the NICU, stuff like that--but they were always interspersed with clinic or ER months where I didn't have to get in until 8 or 9am.

Well, I guess I'll just have to get used to it. And who knows, maybe I'll become one of those really annoying "morning people," the kind you see clad in head-to-toe spandex power-walking around your neighborhood at 6:00am on a Saturday morning, who beam and holler "GOOD MORNING!" at you with such chipper energy that you just want to punch them in the mouth.

Currently watching: "The Notebook." I rented this from Blockbuster because...actually, I don't know why I rented it. Lack of anything better to do, I guess. I don't like sappy romance movies, and I wasn't particularly enamored of any of the featured actors, except for Joan Allen, who was nice and frosty as always but not really given a whole hell of a lot to do, character-wise. And was I supposed to be surprised that the old couple were the same characters as the young couple? It seems like they went to extraordinary lengths to delay that "revelation," but...um, duh.

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