Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sweet dreams are made of this

Okay. The stress dreams have got to stop.

Just a sampling of the nightmares I've had in the past few weeks:

Dream One: I was operating with two residents, and we didn't really know what we were doing, and one of them made a mistake and the patient died, right there in my arms while I was trying to save her, and then the resident who killed her starting threatening that if I told anyone there would be big trouble... possibly another murder...

Dream Two: They tell me to do a procedure I have never done or even SEEN, one I don't really know how to do even in theory. But I have to do it, so I start by cutting into this fully conscious dude's scalp with a scalpel, and then I realize, horribly, that I didn't sterilize the area, and I'm not scrubbed in or even wearing gloves, so I try to play it cool but it's too late to use the betadine now, and one of the surgeons calls me over to tell me that I'm not cut out for medicine, that I'm a truly horrible student, not just because I just started cutting without any anesthetic or betadine or scrubbing but also because I keep scratching my leg, and even as she is telling me this I realize I'm scratching my damn leg, and they're telling me I'm no good, and the guy is bleeding, etc etc etc...

This is just a small sampling; there have been many, many other dreams (there are lots, since I've been having at least one, and usually several, per night). So what does it all mean?

It means that 3rd year is scary as hell. It's amazing, and great, and exhilarating, and definitely totally, completely terrifying. If you have never experienced it, the closest I can come to explaining it is to envision that you are on a jetliner, and all of the crew has passed out, and they grab you and plop you in front of the controls and say, "It's up to you to land this plane! The lives of you and everyone on it depend on you!" Then they slam the cockpit door and it's just you and the controls, the millions and millions of controls and blinking lights and switches with no labels. This analogy only works if you have never even set a toe inside a cockpit before.

Alright, enough of my melodrama. The irony in all of this is that they basically never ask you to do anything that matters (which, perhaps, makes it all the worse when you do it ineptly). I have to get some decent studying in since I spent most of yesterday reading the new Harry Potter book (it was AWESOME), and then get some sleep to prepare for my last week of reprieve before my general surgery month. Until then, may you dream of sunsets and waterfalls and butterfiles, none of which need a central line.

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