Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why I love third year...

I cannot speak too much as to first year because my husband and I were 365 miles (a 6 hour drive or a 12 hours by a short car ride with two train rides to allow for adequate study time while I was in law school) apart. But I can speak in regards to second and third years of medical school. Second year the days were long (but manageable) but the excitement and nervousness of first year had worn off for Drew. While he was still excited about his dreams of becoming a doctor he began to get worn down with the long days of his nose in a book. The only change from studying and lectures was to practice on fake patients. Drew didn't really enjoy this first year and then only to continue it in second year to advance to doing pelvic and rectal exams was no improvement. The year dragged on for Drew and he was often exhausted.
We were worried to start third year; we had heard it was going to be tough, long days, busy weekends and very little free time. I guess with all the worrying about how "terrible" it was going to be we weren't really prepared for Drew to enjoy it.
Once Drew got past the orientation part of his rotation he would come home each night so excited. He was different, it was like someone had relighted his fire and passion for medicine. Drew started with "longs" which are Internal Medicine (IM) and Surgery (and are called longs because they are 10 weeks, rather than the rest of the clerkships which are only six.) Typically the "longs" are considered the most intense and most demanding. And while they most certainly were, I still can say that Drew (and even I) have been so much happier than last year. Internal medicine usually started at six or seven and he was usually home by six or seven. He was gone Saturday mornings but most of his Sundays were protected (meaning he had the whole day off). Surgery was a little less consistent. Most days he started at five or so and was done by five-ish but there were the occasional days where he got out in the early afternoon or other days where he went till 8 or 9 at night. Weekends were the same is internal medicine. While this seems miserable keep in mind that Drew's "shorts" psychiatry and Oby-gyn thus far have been shorter days and offered him most weekends off.
Although the schedule of IM and surgery seems intense, it was really quite bearable. I kept myself busy by visiting friends some weekends and we made every Sunday our day, all day, even if it meant laying down on the couch all day. I have also learned to love even simply times like when I lay in his lap while he studies. While I have gotten a little off-course (thanks for staying with me here) the point of my post, is that I have found third year to be the most rewarding. There have been so many days where Drew has come home so excited, and although exhausted he couldn't wait to tell me what he got to see, hear, or do that day. For us it was like all that time that he had spent with his nose buried in a book had finally paid off. He has finally gotten to see so many of the things he had only before read about. He is actually working with real patients, with real problems. It made the idea of becoming a doctor a little more real.
My favorite of course was surgery because each night I could watch his eyes light up with such awe and enthusiasm as he spoke about his day. It didn't matter what he spoke about, it wasn't what he said, it was just so wonderful as a spouse to see the one I love find his passion. It was the acknowledgement and satisfaction that all his hard work (studying and self-discipline) had paid off. I think it also provided a huge amount of joy and relief for him to not only know that medicine really was his calling, but also to know what your calling is.
And while finding the right specialty can be stressful for some, when they do find it, there is just a huge sense of relief and contentment. So if your spouse struggles to find something they like my advice is to try and calm their fears and encourage them to just learn from what (rotation/clerkship) they are in, even it means learning that they never want to do it ever again!
So while third year takes some accommodation and adaptation, it is a very exciting time - especially as a significant other getting to watch your spouse transform from a student to a future doctor.

1 comment:

Premedical University said...

Nice story..
I like what you are going and the adventure you both have encountered.
All I wish is good luck.