Another 4 month medical rotation has come to an end. Just as I am adjusting to a noctural way of life and 70 hour weeks, I have been thrown into my new job – General practice. I am ready to hibernate.I feel like I haven’t had chance to catch my breath for the past 4 months but I am actually going to really miss A&E. I loved the staff, the fast pace and variety. I enjoyed whinging about all the shitty situations we had to deal with because deep down they made me piss my self laughing (when the patients werent looking). I mean how else do you cope with an irate patient swearing at you with a deoderant can shoved up his arse (I probably should add he wasn’t swearing at me because I put it there). The incredulous story that accompanied this presentation had me struggling to portray my ever professional exterior. In the end, of course we sorted him out and packed him off to the surgeons to have it removed (not without the entire department having a good look at the xray). I’ve learnt a great deal in A&E not, just about medicine, I mean thats the boring bit but mainly about confilt resolution, drugs, sex and certain echelons of society. I have also learnt that I bloody love old people. I hated my health care of the eldery job – I dont love crumbly old zombie pensioners. I love old people in A&E because they always come in following an accident and they have often been attempting to do something they shouldnt at that age. For instance climbing trees to trim over hanging branches, salsa dancing, drinking too much alcohol and falling over. These are proper old people and it gave me no end of satisfaction to fix them up and send them home.
I have done 1.5days in GP and I can tell you its not been good. Some of you will know that “cock of the moment/year/lifetime” chris whom I now live with is a GP. I am not allowed to see any patients yet. I have to pass a 2 week induction process before I am allowed near a patient. I have spent the last day and a half learning how the fire alarm works, learning how to take blood (I’ve only been doing it 5 years), watching nurse receptionists code patients and I have endured a 30 minute lecture on how the air conditioning working in each room. Im pretty much ready to commit suicide. Bring back working every weekend – I cant take the boredom. To make matters worse my placement is 40miles from my home. Today I will have driven 80miles and achieved nothing (I wouldn’t mind if I could have cycled it). I haven’t even met the other GPs yet. I have met my mentor GP and he seems lovely. I have to sit in and watch him work until they feel I am confident enough to see patients on my own. I sat in with him yesterday and I was reminded of the absolute drudge people come to the GPs with. I do believe that the general public are now devoid of all basic common sense and medical knowledge. I still do not understand how after all these years people still think they need antibiotics for a cold. I am also amazed that people will seek medical advice after having the slightest twinge of pain for less than 24hours surely you give it a few days see if it settles, try taking some painkillers for fucks sake! (yes I’m an unsympathetic twat – I like to save my sympathy for when it’s really needed).
Being a doctor is all about being a good actor and nothing about knowing loads of stuff. I me an thats what google was invented for. Obviously we are all “thirsty for knowledge” and we like to learn snippets to allow ourselves to look bright infront of our colleagues. But the main bread and butter of being a doctor is to listen carefully to what the patient is saying – decide if its a serious problem or not and then portay a calm and caring exterior without shouting “are you fucking kidding me?! this is fucking ridiculous!” or in the acute setting still portray a calm and caring exterior without shouting “holy fuck this guy looks like shit. please dont fucking die on me!” Thankfully I have passed my advanced life support course so this skill in the acute setting has been extensively tested. In the GP setting not so much, but I’ve got 4 months to practise.
The one good thing about this change of jobs is the hours – I have reduced from 70hours to 40. Unfortunately this does mean my pay gets cut in half. Already I have noticed a change, sleeping at night rather than in the day has boosted my energy levels and my legs feel much better from sitting down all day rather than running around (no wonder chris is so bloody fast). I am struggling with the choosing of what to wear in the morning – no more green pyjama uniforms. It should mean I can do a bit more cycling and racing. Hopefully I can do enough training to not completely embarrass myself at the national champs in january. Luckily the Mule Bar girls have been extremely supportive and forgiving of my lack of effort over the past 4months. I have tried to race even after working all night and 1.5hours of sleep. I can assure you this did nothing to improve my performance, it was like pedalling through treacle and my reactions were so slow I feel off numerous times. I was just becoming so frustrated about missing races. Training has becoming increasingly difficult. There becomes so much pressure on my one day off per week that I would try to fit in as much riding as possible and then rest days would be 12hour shift days when training would just not fit in. It is not long before you start to feel pretty run down. Thats why I chose a bike free holiday and when and played in water parks in Dubai.
Many people have made comments along the lines off – if its so hard do something else, if it makes you miserable blah blah. Medicine is meant to be hard just like cycling. The training is hard and its tiring and it can reduce you to tears – after a 12hour day in the dark and pissing rain trying to use your ID card to swipe into your own house because your brain can’t comprehend that you need to use a key! but when things come together it is worth it. Plus I don’t actually have any other career options, from age 6 when I spent my spare time dressed in a back to front dressing gown operating on teddy bears its been my only career choice. That is of course unless anyone wants to pay me an extortionate amount to be a general party girl about town…..?