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.
My days were long. I kept a log of my hours; I was at the hospital for 120-140 hours a fortnight, and work would follow me home with phone calls whilst trying to park my car in the garage, whilst I took a shower, whilst I was trying to cook dinner, and whilst I was trying to fall asleep. Every fortnight I would only be guaranteed four nights of uninterrupted sleep. The other 10 nights were unpredictable. Maybe I’ll get woken up, maybe I won’t. This mental unrest for 10 days a fortnight was taking a toll on me. I couldn’t go and exercise, I couldn’t plan anything social… I had to be on standby.
Oh, and I was also made to cover some of the on call roster for the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery department – a specialty I had no prior experience in. The ENT registrar was not required to reciprocate. I wasn’t treated too kindly by the ENT department, because I wasn’t one of their own. I had admitted a little boy who had a lot of pain after he’d had his tonsils removed and he couldn’t eat. I called the surgeon who did his operation, but before I could finish my sentence, his response was; “He’s not a private patient. I’m not on call,” and hung up. Care factor: zero.
???? S C R U B L I F E ???? This is my every day #ootd ???? Back to fitness & lifestyle soon! I took some videos this week ????????????♀️Some are running / yoga specific, but hopefully everyone will find something that’s relevant to their activities ???? Stay tuned . . . #surgeon #doctorlife #thisiswhatasurgeonlookslike #workhardtrainhard #happyweekend #ドクター #仕事 #手術 #病院 #医者