I guess I should have saw it coming.
I guess I didn't.
I put myself into this final year of medicine with what seemed to be gusto, but I soon found out that once I tried to rely on my own strength, things got very messy. Dependence on the wrong things led to more problems, and all too quickly, I was stuck in a quagmire of desolation.
-- Presenting my IRP at the BSACI 2016 Annual Meeting at Telford (super nervous). --
Don't get me wrong, on the surface, things seemed okay. Most of my friends would probably say they thought I was doing okay, if not very well - coming off a presentation at a national level conference, consistently taking and uploading photos of daily activities etc, writing what seems to be insightful things into the Christian mindset on an almost-daily-basis. In fact, one of my facilitators gave me a perfect phrase to describe how I was performing for my life support course assessment - "Maybe you're like a swan - paddling like crazy under the surface, but appearing graceful from above." when I said in the debrief that I felt I was quite panicky
-- Not quite a swan, but illustrates the calm. --
And things did seem okay, except for the fact that each day I lost a bit more of my will to live, as I dug myself deeper into this pit which is medicine.
Now you see, medicine (probably like any other career path, but particularly more so) very easily engulfs one's life. The average medical student is surrounded by other brilliant medical students and doctors, who together embody the culture of medicine - excellence, at a high personal price. Simply because there are so many things to know in medicine (although no doctor is expected to know EVERYTHING about medicine), a dedicated student can very easily spend the day in the hospital / clinic / ward, and the rest of the day studying or doing questions, whilst cutting down on time for "housekeeping" (physical / emotional / spiritual).
-- My GP and I. --
Things came together for me during my GP rotation. I had a brilliant GP as my mentor, and I was very quickly adopted into the team at the GP surgery. Seeing patients on my own, and being forced / coached to come up with my own diagnosis and management plans made me think on my feet, and really apply all I had ever learned. I went for everything - clinics, special clinics, home visits, visits to the pharmacy, ending up with an average break of 20-30 mins in a 8.30-6pm day. Adding in the commute time, my 7.10am - 7.30pm was spent. On the commute, I'd do questions, trying to not "waste" my time. Once I was back in the house, I'd come up with the quickest way of feeding myself.
-- My first ever own-made salad. Chicken salad. It actually tasted good! --
I was a fool, burning both ends of the candle, hoping to illuminate the face of the deity named Medicine which I sought.
Where was the stuff I wrote about - about putting my trust and faith and hope in God and God alone?
Where was my sole dependence on my God?
Where was my belief that God was still in control and that I should not worry?
Reluctance to relinquish control is what brought my burnout, I think.
-- Couscous, Spam, pesto, and basil. --
And burnout doesn't go away easily; it persisted through most of my next rotation, till yesterday when I decided to just totally disengage - I took the rest of the afternoon and evening and night off, and then decided to extend that disengagement to the next day (I'd gotten my rotation sign-off on Thursday) so I could have my Friday off if needed. My sub-dean told me I was pretty far ahead of the logbook game so I didn't have to worry about looking for a NG tube placement or male catheter or suturing.
Today morning (Friday), I woke up bang at 7.15am without my alarm. Forced myself to go back to sleep, and woke up again, without the alarm, at 8.50am. Dozed off again, and finally got up at 10.45am.
Sleep is sweet.
My closer friends will laugh at my saying that. I'm known to function on continual 5.5-6 hours' daily sleep.
I guess I'm growing old. Ironic for someone my age (actually considered young lol).
My today (actually half a day since I got up so late) has been full of non-medical stuff, which has been amazing.
This blog post has been put off for far too long, so here I am, typing away since midnight.
I've often felt that medicine is sad in the sense that it takes usually pretty creative individuals, and sucks them dry of their creativity because the system discourages it. Everything has to be evidence-based, and proven to be effective.
-- The day I decided I had had enough of eating the same old food again and again, I made a burger! --
Maybe there will be a better culture surrounding medicine one day - I just don't see it at the moment.
-- When David came to my room with batteries for my new flash. --
But I really thank God for putting close friends in my life, who I can bug when I'm feeling down. And for God's presence (which I often ignore because I'm trying to do my own stuff).
And for God's mercy. I would not be here to type this now, if not for God.
Every breath is a gift from God. I need to keep that in my mind at all times. I have a tendency to complain, which is unhealthy.
Plan for the rest of the academic year (not much longer till exams actually):
- clean up my priorities and use time accordingly.
- actually study (not done since like semester 4 IMU).
- do questions (quickest way to learn stuff).
- spend time with good friends (must).
- take photos.
- food eating and cooking.
-- Visited Wee last week! --
-- And Tim and Co too! =D --
SJTs are coming up and I have not prepared at all. Zilch. The thing is, I don't really have to, because the plan is to go back to serve in Malaysia, and the SJTs are for points placement within the housemanship system in the UK. One annoying thing I've found this year is that everything I do is done with the foreshadowing of my leaving the UK - and although it's definitely not the fault of people, every time I get questioned about my plans post-graduation, I sigh in my head as I prepare to explain yet again, why I'm not staying for the foundation years here.
Malaysia will be a challenge, as I have to re-adapt to how things work in the healthcare system. This will be a process of reverse culture shock. I'll have to learn how to survive in a different system, with more languages, and lesser manpower. But God will make a way, I am sure. He sent me here, and He will take care of me.
-- The sun rises again. This was the day I got up to shoot the sunrise. --
I'm not sure how long it will be till my next blog post. Hopefully it will be on something less sombre. I intend to schedule more "me time" and that might mean more blog posts =D And if I learn to put God at the centre of my life, I don't think burnout will come again so easily. Here's to hope =)