Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May Day

Not exactly sure where April went. Well it involved a holiday to the UK, then buying a house and writing my QE1 exam. Oh, OK, that is where April (and the beginning of May) went.

Since residency started I feel that I am standing on the platform of a subway station. The days go whizzing by, past my face, at a speed that leaves everything a trailing blur. Then for a moment, the subway stops and people pour out, and pour in, bumping past me. Some linking eyes, some carrying on, some talking, some silent. I remain still and the chaos moves briefly around me, then the doors close and everything speeds up again. There are these blips of human interaction that stand out, but much of it remains a blur.

I kick myself for not writing, even just for myself, every night. I really ought to try and start doing that. Maybe that will be my mid-years resolution.

Things have been in a state of flux. I recently went through yet another soul searching time in my post-graduate training. I am gearing up to apply for my +1 year (in Canada GP's can undertake extra training in things like emergency medicine, anesthetics, surgery, obstetrics, palliative care, sports medicine, etc). I always knew I wanted to do this +1 option but I've gone around and around with what area to specialize in. I thought for a long time that it would be emergency medicine, but if I am honest I am getting to be COMPLETELY over EM. I am just tired of all the abuse that goes on in the ED, in every realm: patients abusing the system by going to emerg for non-emergent presentations, patients abusing the physicians and nurses, and then the specialists abusing us when we call to consult them. I still love a sick patient, a surgical patient, a procedure-needing patient, but that is about it. I just don't want to do it full time. A shift a week - sure! Everyday? Shoot me now.

So I thought about anesthetics. 9 months in the Big City and then 3 months in my current city. I like the procedural side of anesthetics, and I love airway management, but I am not a detail oriented, thinking person. I am a cook, not a baker, if you can appreciate the vast difference between the two personalities. I can force myself to be detail attentive but it requires a lot of mental energy. I realised that I was choosing this option more because it has greater portability and demand currently in Canada. It wasn't what I truly wanted to do in my heart of hearts.

Thus, I decided to apply for the Enhanced Surgical Skills program (ESS). It is one year of surgical training that is divided between 6 months of obstetrics and 6 months of general surgery. In the obs component you learn c-sections, essures, tubal ligations, instrumental deliveries, and other office procedures. In the general surgery component one is expected to become proficient in performing hernia repairs, appendectomies, lumps and bumps, scoping, and any other procedure you feel you ought to provide to your community (some do tonsillectomies, carpal tunnels, etc).

So now I am pumped. I have found an accepting community that will give me privileges in this scope of GP-surgeon practice. The applications are in the fall (for a July 2015 start) but I'm already trying to get as much experience as I can with these enhanced skills. It's been great, having loads of obstetrical procedures here as well as being scaffolded up on basic surgeries...all by kick-ass GP-surgeons!

It's weird feeling like things are possibly falling into place. I've had so much internal conflict and so many questions about what I ought to do with my career. I have always felt that family medicine was an uneasy fit for me since I started residency, mostly because there are many things about FM that I do not love. THIS feels like a fit, it feels like something I can hold on to and mold into what I want it to be in the future. I hope.