Monday, October 3, 2016

Taking Care

One of my colleagues, Rebecca, came by last week and I think she could tell that things were a bit rocky. She took a look at my schedule and pointed out that I was working 17 days in a row without a day off. And that needed to change.

She was not wrong!

So she urged me to talk to our physician scheduler and ask for some clinic time off and to see if I could get rid of some of my ER shifts. I didn't know I could do that! She texted me on Monday and asked if I had talked to the scheduler yet. I hadn't had a chance. Then I get a sticky note on my desk from the scheduler saying to come talk to her when I have a chance.

Did Rebecca tell you to talk to me?

Sideline glance, non-committal mumble.

Riiiiiight. Okay.

So we did some tweaking and now I have a few afternoons off, and I took the last 3 days of October off. I still have 15 days in a row of surgical call but, that's the way the cookie crumbles when there is only one other GP-Surgeon in town for the time being.

I started using this app called Headspace. It's a mindfulness app. I know, it's an oxymoron to put those words together, really. But I have found it very useful and have been trying to do 10 minutes of guided meditation (or mindfulness or whatever you want to call it) daily. It's not an airy, breathy woman chanting about crystals. It's a dude talking about observing your thoughts in a very straightforward and concrete way.

Hopefully between the little pockets of protected time off, the commitment to spending some time clearing my head, writing, and scurrying around the forest with the pooch, things will start to look up and become more manageable. No one tells you how to take care of yourself. No one else cares if you disintegrate into tiny drooling shell of a person who watches Price Is Right reruns all day. So I'll start with these baby steps.


Liana said...

Glad to hear things are getting more manageable. You're right, it's all about the baby steps...

(I'm heading into Day 6 of 9... but at least I just came back from a 1 week holiday.)

Just Me said...

Sounds about right. It's amazing how a moment to yourself throughout the day can make a difference as well. Slow things down as much as possible. Good luck. Love that you are writing again.

Zed said...

Headspace is amazing!
I recently graduated so I've been a doctor for a few months and it's so true. I'm finding it hard to make time for myself, but I'm trying.
The Medic Mind

PGYx said...

Rebecca cares! And I'm really glad she does. But yeah, the hospital doesn't care. Even interns (in the US) get 1 day off in 7. I think one needs more days off than this to avoid burnout, but your schedule is a lot more harsh. I had a somewhat similar schedule last year and the effects on my mood and life were not pretty. Trying to take much better care of myself now, even when I am tempted to try to give the world more than I reasonably can. I'm glad you're on a better path now and hope you will continue to make self-care gains!

tage said...

Thank you for such an awesome blog. I'm the random Southern exercise physiologist who thought about med school, and then decided not too. I still wouldn't change my decision, but your blog helps me to better respect and understand the doctors I work with.