Aug 4, 2011

The Parking Garage

One of the perks of my new job is that I get to park in the physicians' garage. This may sound minor, but is a substantial benefit during the Phoenix summer. While initially exciting, it has proven to be an interesting insight into the sociology of doctors.

It is labeled "Physicians' Garage" and "Parking: Doctors Only." At first I thought, I'm a doctor. Sweet! I have finally reaped some reward from the eons of school and debt I have undergone. However, on further examination, the first three floors are "Parking: Doctors Only" with blue tape around the pillars. If you continue up to the 4th and 5th floors, there is red tape. I notice that my parking sticker is red.

What does this mean, you ask?

The first three floors are reserved for ATTENDING physicians only. They get a blue sticker. The resident physicians have a red sticker, and have to park on the 4th and 5th floors (the 5th is uncovered). So, the reward for completing medical school is a car that is equally roasting as the CNA's in the parking lot down the road, except I have to walk up five flights of stairs to get to mine. I pull in at 5 am, and wind up the garage past floors of empty spaces, and park in the crowded upper floor. The cars on the first floor are shiny, new, and mostly expensive. Undoubtably, they do not have a gas tank that is perptually one-third full. They have dark tinted windows, rendered irrelevant by the fact that their "covered parking" is actually fully covered. Later in the morning, the bottom floors become more full, and then empty again by the time I leave.

I have drawn a few conclusions from the sociologic observation of the physicians' garage:
1. I am not a doctor
2. I will become a doctor after residency
3. At this time I will
a) have more money
b) sleep more
c) be able to touch the steering wheel with my entire hand instead of two fingertips
d) said steering wheel will be attached to a choice car that will not be running on fumes
e) and generally have a better quality of life overall

I look forward to parking on the bottom floor of the doctors garage.

Just for Laughs

They say to smile instead of frown, since smiling takes 15 facial muscles and frowning requires 35. It's a simple matter of efficiency.

Some women take this advice a step further, and laugh instead of push. Every now and then I'll have a woman that is ready to deliver, and instead of pushing, something will make her laugh and she'll just pop that baby out. Instead of screwing up the face and pushing as hard as she can, the woman will give a laugh (creating some abdominal pressure) and the head will come out.

What a fun way to deliver. I love it.

Aug 3, 2011


I grew up in Southern California. At least once a week during the summer, my dad could be persuaded to drive me down to the beach, where I would spend the day catching waves on my garage sale board. I loved it. Sometimes, I could catch them just right, and ride them all the way in. Other times, I would think that I had caught it, only to end up on the top of it. I could ride it for a split second before looking down and seeing only air between my board and the water, and then feel the weight of the wave crash on top of me. I would be spun underwater three or four times with the force of the wave, and then swim hard, only to run into the bottom of the ocean. I was disoriented from the spinning, and didn't know which way was up.

I really wanted to work out today. It was a long day on labor and delivery, and I had missed my last few days' workouts due to circumstances outside my control. All day, I planned to go to a favorite class at the gym. Another delivery? It's ok. I'll be out by 5. I didn't do that paperwork right? No problem, I can redo that. Did you see that postpartum patient? No, I'm sorry, I didn't realize I needed to. I will do that now, and it will be okay because in three hours, I will be pumping weights with friends. Dr. Kennard, did you see this patient's fetal heart tracing? Dr. Kennard, we need you for delivery. Dr. Kennard, you have a call on 2054. Dr. Kennard...Dr. Kennard...the med student is interrupting my charting again, to ask some inane question and interrupt my train of thought. Dr. Kennard, you have a new patient. My head was spinning. I just needed to leave, and go to the gym, and everything would be okay.

I ended up leaving late, and the drive that should have taken 35 minutes took over an hour for traffic and construction. I finally pulled into the gym, proud that I kept my resolve to go and not succumbed to the takeout and recliner that were now paging me. I was too late for the class I wanted to go to, but there was a Spinning class available, so I walked in for that. I set down my water bottle and scrub top that was going to double for a towel, and adjusted my bike. The pedals didn't work. I moved to another bike, not in the ideal position since the class was getting full, but it would have to do. Those pedals didn't work either. I was frustrated, as now I was missing the warmup and there was only one bike left. I went over there, and began to pedal. All of a sudden, the seat fell backwards, causing my feet to slip and the pedal to hit me in the shin. I burst into tears.

That was the low moment for me. Sitting in the bike with my knees above my ass, crying, wiping my face with the scrub top where my tears were probably mixing with amnion and blood from the day, disappointed and frustrated that this one thing, this one class I had wanted to do, was now full of people and broken bikes. And in that moment, this Spinning class reminded me of how I used to feel when I thought I had caught a wave, only to crash spinning into the ocean.

As I extracted myself from the bike, I wondered where these tears had suddenly come from. Rather than sadness, emotions that seem to bring tears to me include disappointment, anxiety, frustration, and fear. And the start of my residency has been laden with all of these emotions, among better ones. Disappointment in myself, that my skills aren't better. Disappointment of unrealistic expectations being unmet. Anxiety, elevated to a level that my baseline anxious self couldn't have predicted. Frustration, with myself and others, with the learning curve of learning a new job and a new lifestyle. Fear, that I'm messing something up. Fear that at best I will annoy someone or create more work for them, or at worst that I will hurt somebody. The first six weeks of my residency has left me spinning, not knowing which was is up. Just when I think I've caught the wave, that I'm on top of it, I find myself underwater, not sure how I got there or how to swim upwards, how to do it better next time.

I'm hoping I'll get better at catching the waves. I think I will, only because I watch the residents above me, confident in their skills and knowledge, able to manage multiple tasks and do excellent work. I have to hope that they were like me one day, desperate just to stay afloat. Somewhere between now and then, I'll get better, become more confident, and have the reserve to deal with a faulty Spin bike. Until then, I think I'll stick with the treadmill.