I never thought I would say this, but I broke. I give up. I am done. I surrender. I am handing back my dream of becoming a surgeon. I have nothing left to give. I don’t want it anymore. I’ve lost my ambition. I’ve lost my spark.
I started 2018 with optimism and zest. This year would be my year. I would apply for the advanced training program for Plastic and Reconstructive surgery. I’ve done the hard yards, I’m good at what I do, and I have the right intentions… Fast forward to October and I find myself in a hospital bed, barely able to speak or move. If I wasn’t so resilient, maybe I wouldn’t have put up with the abuse for as long as I did. But I did. And all I can do now is focus on what I can do now to get myself back to my former, bouncy self.
The worst working days of my life
February 2018. The start of my term at Hospital X. I had just finished a term where there were three registrars who shared the on call responsibilities equally. Hospital X was staffed by two, so I knew I would be busier… but it wasn’t a 50/50 split. It was 10/4 (me being the person on call 10 days a fortnight).
My two-week cycle looked something like this: I was on call from Monday morning 7:30am until the next Monday 4pm… about 180 continuous hours. This means that at any time during those 180 hours, I could (and did) get called by the hospital. From the first week I was receiving phone calls every night until about midnight, and sometimes even a 3am call here and there. I would then get Monday night off – a momentary relief of one night’s uninterrupted sleep – and then back on call again the next morning until Friday afternoon – another 80 continuous hours of being on call. I got two days off, and then the cycle started again.