Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Life of a Surgery Resident

This blog I really started to blab about my experiences on my way to adopt my new daughter - but as you can see by the name of my blog - my job is a really important part of my life. It has taken an enormous amount of time and energy and 6 years ago my desire to get this job usurped my plan to adopt. I am still in training - as a resident I get paid, but not as much as a fully trained doctor. The ladder to real doctor-ness starts with medical school and bunches of student loans to get through it, then an intern year, a subsequent residency (mine will be 3 years) and then a real job! I am doing a preliminary surgery year in Arizona and will go on to train for 3 years in anesthesiology in Alabama. I am in Arizona now for the sole reason that my parents live here and can help out with my daughter.
I was worried when I first started that I might not have enough time for daughter - the hours are long. I started my first month as a surgery intern with Trauma surgery...I averaged 104 hours a week over that month. I was looking forward to only working 80 hours a week - that is sad. My pumpkin had a tough time that month. I had been home with her all day for almost 2 months so it was quite a change. The benefit to starting with the most time consuming rotation was that every other month seemed easy in comparison. General surgery at the VA and at the UMC was a little friendlier - closer to 80 hours a week. I was lucky enough to do a rotation in the ICU - most interns at this program don't get to do a month in the ICU because the institution policy is that interns can not take call alone in the SICU. That is not the case in most facilities, but I think it is a very wise rule. You learn a lot managing complicated patients, but I know that I would not want my mom or dad or daughter to be an educational experience for a surgery intern!
My experience as a surgery intern has been really great so far and at this program - I can't really speak for any other programs. I feel really lucky that I ended up where I am this year. If anyone has any questions about being a mom and a resident - drop me a line. I have had a difficult time finding like minded women. There is a really great message board called MOMMD, but I feel like I am a little less traditional in my momminess than a lot of the women that post there. It is a great resource though. I suppose I approach momminess from more of a tom boy perspective.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a 34 yr old mother of two (3 year old daughter and 7 month old son) and wife to a 4th year medical student headed into general surgery. I am a part time attorney (work mornings and take care of the kids alone in the afternoons). My husband is a very involved and hands on dad and usually helps with bath/bedtime. I have now been reading more about surgery residency and the lifestyle implications of being a surgeon - I am starting to freak out! It is so depressing to think that my kids will not see their dad but one day a week (if they are lucky) for the next 5-7 years! And I don't know how I'm going to handle everything alone. Any advice? Is it as bad as I imagine? I am looking for realistic feedback. Thanks!!
- Depressed Wife

Michelle said...

depressed wife...it is a very demanding work schedule...even at the most benign, community program pretty much the most you can hope for is to see your husband in the afternoon of his post call day...which will probably be every 3rd or 4th day and on his days off...which will probably be one weekend a month. It is very demanding and very hard on marriages and families. I think the marathon nature of it...the 5-7 years would be the hardest part. Breaking it up with a year or two of research in the middle could make it a lot better.
If that is your family's path...you can do it...you can handle anything life throws at you!

Anonymous said...

I am the wife of a general surgery resident, a full time corporate attorney and mother of a 3 month old. I have a 8am-6pm schedule but my husband has crazy schedules. n his current rotation he leaves at 5 am and is back at arnd 8 pm while taking home calls. However, his craziest schedule so far has been being on call for 36 straight hours every 3rd day. It is pretty tough on our marriage as we hardly get to talk. Esp. now with our kid, sometimes, he is so tired that he does not even hold the child for days at a time. That means that I am a full time attorney and a full time mom with no time to be a wife. It has been eons since I had a 'me' time. The pint of all this is to just tell u that when your spouse does a medical residency, you get to vicariously take all the burdens of it, whether you like it or not and believe me it is a 100 times tougher than you think you know

Michelle said...

Anonymous...I am sooo sorry for all that you are going through. I can't even begin to know what it is like to go through what youa re describing. My anesthesia residency now is soooo much less time consuming that my surgery intern year. My husband has a super flexible schedule and takes on so much of the child rearing burden...I am very lucky. I pray that you will find the strength to make it through. Sometimes situations are bad enough that you need to get out of them and reevaluate your life....don't stay trapped in a terrible situation for too long.

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power