Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Depths of Despair

The title of this post comes from the movie the picture comes from. I'm not actually in the depths of despair, but I am somewhat frustrated with life in general and medicine in particular. Sometimes, I feel like I've gone into the wrong profession. There have been shining high moments while I've been a medical student, where I feel like everything is worthwhile, but right now, I feel like those moments are few and far between. There seem to be many more moments where I'm frustrated with a resident's callousness toward a patient, or an attending's casualness with time, or a patient's refusal to take responsibility for their own care, or the system's inability to provide even basic care to those who really need it, or any of the other million things that frustrate me.

My decision to go into urology has seemed somewhat ridiculous here lately. Several guys I've discussed this with have told me they wouldn't see a female urologist, as if women never see a urologist or as if all men have such a preference. Should we tell men not to become ob/gyns, since some women have a strong preference for female ob/gyns?

I met with a urologist today to discuss research options. After scheduling an appointment via email, I walked over to the clinic, hopeful and excited. As I went to meet the doctor, he said, "Ah, you think you like urology, right? I want you to meet with my resident here, she's the best resident I have, and she is quitting urology here soon. Oh, yes, research. I have some basic research starting soon, leave your contact information with my secretary and I'll get in touch with you when it begins." For this, I walked about a quarter of a mile, and had to get special permission from the attending and chief resident to leave L&D. Was he deliberately trying to discourage me? Why else would he want me to meet a resident who is quitting? Or did less thought go into this than that?

I had been doing so well for a while. I can't tell if I'm getting more upset because I should be, or because I'm getting depressed. I do feel somewhat hopeless, like what the fuck am I doing? Am I going into the right field? Am I taking the "easy" route by not doing family practice or internal medicine or OB? How interested am I in this field? Am I picking it by default, because nothing else was interesting at all? The questions just keep coming, and I can't quite answer them right now. I'm sure this will pass--after all, I've been very excited about urology. I just dislike feeling so helpless.

At least I got to deliver my second baby today. I also sutured a perineal lac, which scared me to death--I hadn't sutured anybody since surgery in August, for pete's sake. And I still haven't dropped a baby, thank god.


gaucho said...

Hang in there. We all have days like that. You know my career goals are pretty much a moving target still also. You'll be OK.

Midwife with a Knife said...

Hm... I bet that a woman going into urology is kind of like a guy going into ob-gyn. Sure, there are some women who don't want a male gynecologist. But most, including me, don't really care. I think that once you're a urologist (if that's what you decide), you'll find plenty of patients.

The other thing to remember is that there are tons of other surgical subspecialties. You're not taking the easy way out! Optho is kind of cool. I always have fantasies about ortho. Neurosurg (although that may not be your bag of tea) has its good points.

I'm sorry the attending that you saw didn't respect your time. That sucks. Is there anybody else in the urology department there that might be a little more approachable?

In terms of the depression thing, I don't have a ton of great advice. But I think that since you're working long hours, not entirely 100% pleased with your ob rotation, and have tried to seek mentorship from someone in your chosen field and been rebuffed, you do have some reasons to feel not quite yourself, and be a bit demoralized. If I were near where you are, I'd give you a big hug (not that hugs are an approved treatment for depression, but they have a very favorable side effect ratio!)

Oh, and sorry for the second long comment of the day!

Tiny Surgeon said...

i appreciate all comments, long and short. thanks for the support, guys. i just needed to whine a bit--i feel better now. sorry.

The Peanut Gallery said...

I just wanted to say 'hi.' OB sounds incredibly crazy. Have a good weekend!

health watch center said...

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