Every ending opens the door to a new beginning

Today’s inane images of the day:

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The 17th floor of Henry Ford has the best views of Detroit.
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Tried fowling (football + bowling pins) with my co-interns! I can barely throw a football but it was still fun.
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My third consecutive floor month was on this general medicine unit.
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I presented a medically challenging case at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ meeting in San Diego this last month!

The first third of my intern year has been… difficult. Residency is a tough job.

My first month on the Nephrology floor was exhausting. I never rotated at Henry Ford during medical school, so I started from scratch on the processes and practices of the hospital system. Seemingly simple things like paging consult services or finding my way through the hospital proved to be difficult. On my first day, I was carrying more patients than I ever did as a medical student. And being on Nephrology meant all of my patients were incredibly sick and prone to decompensation.

Since our internal medicine program was randomized to the experimental arm of the iCompare trial, we take 30-hour call. We have a night float system during the week, so we only take 30-hour call on weekends [on the floors, at least – when I do the MICU in April, that’s a different story]. With the q4 call schedule, this translates into 2-3 30-hour call shifts each month. I was on 30-hour call during my first weekend; this was a terrifying experience.

Every single nursing call overnight for pain medications or questions about a patient’s care plan required a lengthy chart review or literature review. I now understand why patient care can suffer with every handoff – especially in July. As new interns, it’s hard to identify what is relevant and to predict what may go wrong. Even with a template to follow, little can make up for inexperience. This meant during my first call, a request for Tylenol on a patient I was unfamiliar with took time to make a decision on. Did the patient have liver disease? How much Tylenol has he/she already received in the last 24 hours? Can he/she tolerate PO?

As the month progressed, so did my confidence and knowledge. Residency humbles you. It shows you how hard you can push your own limits. It teaches you resiliency. It teaches you to appreciate the little things in life and never take a day for granted.

My second week of residency was complicated by the end of my relationship with Mike. Although the terms of our breakup were hazy at the time, within a few weeks it became clear that it was over. At that point, I had just started building my confidence as a resident only to be knocked down. He was my best friend, confidant and partner in crime for over 5 years and it seemed to just dissolve in a matter of days.

So I did what I had to – I mourned the end of an era as I tried to adjust to my new life as a resident.

I struggled with the transition to residency and loneliness of being single. My family and close friends supported me as I cried and yelled [thanks, guys!] for hours at a time. While I still feel depressed and angry at times, it’s hard to hold on to these negative emotions when I consider what my patients and their families are going through. Looking at the big picture, I am healthy, in a profession that I love, and well-supported.

Medical school ended, but residency has been fulfilling. My relationship ended, but it has forced me to be closer to my family and friends. These last few months have been a lesson in recognizing that every ending opens the door to a new beginning.

6 thoughts on “Every ending opens the door to a new beginning

  • November 8, 2015 at 7:10 pm
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    Thanks, Rishi! Closing Time is such an appropriate soundtrack for this post haha.

  • February 6, 2016 at 5:33 pm
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    Hi Amanda!

    I just want to personally thank you for all your writings and sharing on your blog. I’ve perused your blog frequently throughout my 2nd and 3rd years in medical school and have enjoyed every post I’ve read! I’ve recently decided I want to pursue Anesthesiology, with an interest in pediatric anesthesiology, so its really awesome to see what your journey looks like. Best wishes to your residency year, it sounds sooo hard but its amazing how you’re so resilient. Hope you keep at it and thanks for sharing.

  • February 8, 2016 at 6:57 am
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    Dear Pauline,

    Thank you so much for your comment! I’m excited to hear that you decided to pursue anesthesiology – please feel free to reach out to me via email for any personal questions regarding away rotations, applying, etc! I’ll try my best to chronicle a bit more in the coming months since I’m on elective rotations [especially next month – I’ll be in Boston looking for housing!].

    Amanda

  • August 23, 2016 at 9:37 am
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    Hi Amanda,

    I worked at Beaumont Hospital for 5 years and was directed to your blog on our employee website a few years back. I used to read your blog quite frequently, but after moving away I neglected to check in for a while. I know this is an older post, but it made me realize how much time must have passed since I last read your blog.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I think you’re awesome! Our medical system needs more people like you, not less. So keep up the good work! The end of a relationship can feel like the end of the world, but it’s so not. You have better things ahead of you, more than you even know!

    Thanks for the entertainment and enlightenment. Your writing is a pleasure to read!

    Take care of yourself~

  • September 5, 2016 at 8:09 am
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    Hi Kristina,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Encouraging words like yours remind me how awesome the Beaumont and blogging community are. Where did you move away to? Please feel free to reach out to me if you’re ever in the Boston area – I love meeting my readers in real life. =)

    Amanda

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