Sunday, May 17, 2009

M.D. -> Patient -> Mommy -> Resident

Weird transitions to be happening so very closely together.
A little over a week ago I graduated. The big one. THE graduation. The Grandaddy I've been working towards for eight long years.

Less than two days later, I was admitted into the hospital where I had been a student, into one of the rooms where I had delivered a baby as a medical student, to have a baby of my own.

About 13 hours after that, I became a mother.

My head is spinning. Doing this baby thing is completely overwhelming. Obviously I have tremendous support (which is the main reason I'm still alive) but still--insane.

Again I am faced with the same issues I was when Mr. Dr. Dr. VonB got sick. I know too much, and too little. Though I'm going into a peds prelim year in four weeks, there is so very much I don't know about healthy infants. Sadly, I know way more about sick infants, the result being that I have been one of "those" mothers, the ones who drive pediatricians crazy; wondering about every single little thing incessantly. Is she breathing too hard during this feeding (subtext: could she have a congenital heart defect)? What's up with her peeling skin and nails (subtext: could she have some kind of weird genetic connective tissue disorder)? Why is she so pale (subtext: could she have a red blood cell disorder? (real answer: because you and your hubby are dairy white, crazypants...))? You know. Crazy.

Being in the hospital was strange, too. All of a sudden, instead of the medical student dealing with a frustrated patient waiting hours to be discharged, I was the frustrated patient. Instead of fielding 1000 paranoid questions about a new baby, I was the one hurling them out there.

Having not been in the hospital in forever, I had forgotten how horrible it is being woken up every 10 minutes. At one point, when my husband was taking care of the baby so I could have the first nap I'd had in almost two days, I started counting: in 1 hour we had EIGHT people knock on our door to come in and examine me, examine the baby, tell us about the new study they'd like to enroll us in, offer to clean the room, examine me again... I was ready to die. The hospital is such a HORRIBLE place to try and get any rest or recuperation. And the worst part is that when you do want to see someone, they don't show up. Ever. The lactation nurse came by once, and I was anxious to meet one more time before we left, but of course she was two hours late and I was therefore discharged before I could see her. The attending came right in the middle of my nap, but when we were ready to be discharged (and I mean, REALLY ready), it took her three hours to get the orders in. Ugh. Things to remember when I'm back on the other side.

Speaking of which, that's right around the corner. I feel I have forgotten everything I've ever learned, and it's freaking me out. I have two weeks of orientation and then I'm fresh meat on the wards (though starting with a very easy rotation).

My other problem is that I never imagined I would be one of those women who finds herself crushed thinking about leaving her child to go back to work. I'm not heartless; I assumed it would be difficult. But I can't put into words how hard it is to think about now. I am 150% sure at least part of it is the hormones and the sleep deprivation, but still. This is going to be a doozy. Strangely, at the same time, I'm excited to be a real doc. It's remarkably difficult.

Well, baby is stirring and calling for the cow (me). At her next nap I am going to try to get some reviewing in, but I'm not holding out much hope. Lately whenever I'm not actually standing or walking I tend to fall asleep, and this time I don't think that even the fear of being an intern will be enough to keep me awake while reading about strep throat.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Graduation cometh

Well, this is it. Time's up. Graduation is tomorrow.

Last night we had our mudphud program graduation party. Today we had graduation rehearsal, so I got to hear them call my name, then say, "VonB, Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy", then I walked across the stage so they could put the crazy hood on me. Then I sat back down.

I have to tell you--so far, this whole thing has been strangely and unsettlingly anticlimactic. Maybe it will be different when everyone has on their robes and hats, and the bleachers are full of friends and family cheering. Maybe it will be different when I have a program that has my name in it. I don't know. For now it's all just surreal and, well, tiring.

Little VonB has not made her appearance. I can't wear the dress I bought for graduation, both because I can't go without support hose now (by the way, 3+ edema is VERY uncomfortable; I have a whole new level of sympathy for patients who have it) and because I can't get my feet into any shoes besides sneakers. She's due on Sunday, and I am lucky enough to have an OB who understands that I am eminently beginning residency and was happy to schedule an induction on Monday should the tike continue to be stubborn.

So, it is looking like I will be able to waddle across the stage tomorrow after all. But like I said--it isn't as exciting as I thought it would be, somehow. I find myself not really hoping that Little VonB holds out until after graduation, but feeling more indifferent. It's like when I had my dissertation defense. Then, I blamed it on not having a graduation. But I see now it's not that at all. Maybe it's because I've been doing this thing so long, it feels much more like a job than anything else. Maybe it's because endings are often anticlimactic. Maybe it's my crazy hormones. I'm sure it will dawn on me soon and I will feel all kinds of emotions. But for now, I mostly feel: meh.

I admit, have been feeling sort of nostalgic and sad; a lot of it is for the friends who are moving away, but some of it is for my MSTP program itself. It's been like a family to me for so long. I've invested a lot in it, made a lot of changes I'm proud of. I hope I've left it a little better than it was before. And it isn't like I won't be around and able to check in from time to time. It's just... well, I won't be part of that group anymore. I'll be in a new group.

I think that's part of it, too. I'm excited to meet the new interns and get to know all of the residents I hadn't met before--but I'm nervous, too. And kind of tired just thinking about it. Although basically everyone would describe me as an extrovert, I'm shy in my own way. I'm also not good with change (I guess most people aren't, but still). Also, like when I started medical school, I'm hesitant to get too attached to a new set of people I will be leaving so soon. However, I always regretted not making more friends in my original medical school class, so maybe this is my chance for a do-over.

On the other hand, as we recently discussed over on OldMDGirl's blog, it can be hard making friends with people who are so much younger than you, with such different life experiences. Maybe residency will level some of that out. Hmm. Not holding my breath, but still hopeful.

Now I'm just rambling, which is my cue to sign off. When next I post, I will be VonB, M.D., Ph.D. For reals.