Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Much Is Enough

I feel like 2nd year really started like a bucket of cold water to the face. I was still reeling from almost 2 months of full-time plus in the hospital, jet lagged, bleary eyed...and BAM!



Rheumatic heart disease!

Acute astma exacerbation!

Lung cancer!

I feel like I am drowning this year*.

I made all sorts of vows to keep up a strong training regime, to play mandolin every day, to spend quality time with Tobie, to get a good nights sleep, to eat well...

It seems that I am constantly trying to patch together work for the weeks PBL, cram anatomy from last year, review all of our cases from last year, prep for the weeks "line of fire" anatomy session, and learn the new material being thrown at us.

I am tired of the 'drinking from a fire hose' analogy. Drinking would mean there might be some satiety involved, some resolution of thirst. But I honestly feel like the I am just running after the bus which is belching exhaust (and lung cancer causing hydrocarbons!) at me.

It is just hard knowing when enough is enough. When have I read something enough, when do I understand something enough, when have I gotten enough detail. It is impossible to know and it is that nagging uncertainty that I am sure is now fueling my insomnia. Oh, hey thanks for returning with a vengeance sleep thieves!


So do you structure your time? How do you know when to stop? How do keep your sanity (relationships, hobbies, life) in medical school?

*Ok maybe there is something to that stupid fire hose analogy. Damn.


Absentbabinski said...

I'm all ears for a better analogy!

Seriously though, I find if I do enough during the week, Friday evening and the weekend are mine to do with what I want.

It's hard though. Like this week, I've not done enough, I'm sure, so maybe my weekend will be a bit busier.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I worked constantly, but would watch basketball or read books to relax here and there. I didn't have much of a life.

If I had the internet back then I'd likely have failed.

Beach Bum said...

I had a really slow internet connection in the Caribbean, so I would let a Youtube video load while I read for 10 minutes or so, then watch it, then find another one to load. It worked for me, and I have fond memories of the Monty Python canon interspersed with Histology and Anatomy.

Seriously, you will do fine. In some respects, I think you just have to put your head down and get the job done. If you spend too much time looking at the mountain of information, you can get overwhelmed. Just focus on what you have to learn in the next hour, the next day.

Have fun!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Critical point! Thank you, Beach Bum!

"If you spend too much time looking at the mountain of information, you can get overwhelmed. Just focus on what you have to learn in the next hour, the next day."

Cartoon Characters said...

"you can eat an entire elephant if you just take one bite at a time"
I used to tell myself this in College.... ;)
Oh...did you pick up some Mersyndol to try?

OMDG said...

Ok, a) I think the fire hose analogy still applies since if you REALLY drank that much water out of a fire hose, you would develop hyponatremia, seize, and herniate through your foramen magnum.

I never do enough during the week. Even if I try I never feel like I do. So I always plan to do work on the weekends as well. I didn't do this in the pre-clinical years (I studied essentially constantly then including weekends -- it was never enough), but in the clinical years I did the following:

1) I read for at least 1 hr every week day (unless I was on call and not at home), not including all those BS presentations / extra work they made us do. This was a REAL hour -- not including breaks. I was allowed to stop working when it was done.

2) On the weekends I did 5 hours of studying (not incl. breaks). When it was done, I was allowed to go out. I found what worked best for me was to knock out an hour or 2 right when I got up, go for a run, and come back and study for another hr before showering. Then I'd shower, eat lunch (or whatever), and finish off the last 2 hours. And it would only be 3PM then, so I'd have time to do other things.

3) If I was studying in the evening and I was too tired to focus, I would close my book and just go to bed (this enabled me to get 9 hours of sleep many many nights during my rotations -- I AM NOT EXAGGERATING). My brain functioned quite well during that year because it was a rested brain -- better than pre-clinicals anyway).