Wednesday, August 13, 2008

for now, we stand alone

you will notice that i have once again cloaked myself in anonymity. it seems best -for a variety of reasons. all of my old posts are tucked away, so that one day - when i write a book about my experiences - i'll already have it mostly finished (i have 300+ pages of old posts!)

so...i'm going to talk about work. not about some of the interesting and stressful cases i've had to deal with - but the other side of work. the interpersonal side.

i knew it would be difficult for me. i'm the eldest of 5 children - the other 4 being boys. i also come from a big, argumentative family. family holidays are organized chaos and involve a lot of shouting and friendly arguing. in short - i'm combative by nature. on top of that, i've just started working as a doctor, so i question EVERYTHING - everything i do, everything other doctors do. i'm constantly looking for the best way to diagnose and treat my patients. when confronted with something i don't recognize or understand, i look it up. i use VIN (veterinary inter-network) religiously. i'm a total and complete perfectionist. and medicine doesn't leave much room for perfectionism. in short, i'm high-strung and prone to being very stressed at work. not only am i dealing with the terrifying nature of being the one responsible for my patients, the one who must diagnose them, and treat them, and not accidentally kill them...i also have to deal with doctors above me, my intern-mates, technicians, and receptionists. it's a lot of people. and we're all women. there is 1 - read that - ONE - male working with us. that's a lot of estrogen in one place. a place already running at maximum stress level.

i am constantly cognizant of how i interact with people. i always, always try to say please and thank you. i always try to lend a hand and clean when the ICU is chaotic and stuff is strewn everywhere. if i'm walking my patient to the front and his drain leaks on the floor, i get the mop and clean it up. i try to make sure when i request help from the technicians that i do so with a pleasant manner, no matter how stressed or behind i am. i'm always thinking about these things - ALWAYS. even when i go home at night and when i'm off work for 5 days at a time.

and yet i think i'm the intern no one likes working with. how do i know? suffice to say that myspace isn't as private as some foolish, very young technicians think.

it wasn't so much the comment i accidentally stumbled on that made me feel so bad. i've been feeling bad for a while about work. i can tell that i am not loved. and i never, ever wanted to be the doctor that everyone dreads being on with and makes hearts sink when she walks through the door.

what amazes me is that my clients love me. i've received heartfelt thank you cards, a toaster oven big enough to roast a turkey, and tons of affirmation. one of my patient's owners (the kitty whose tail i amputated) asked me if their daughter could shadow me, because i so obviously love what i'm doing - and i'm good at it. how can i be so good with my owners and my patients - and not with the people that work underneath me? i have infinite - and i mean infinite - patience with animals. i never lose my temper, never get upset when they are aggressive or frightened or hard to handle.

but to do my job right - to serve my patients and my clients to the best of my ability - sometimes i have to be demanding. amazingly, the myspace comment was in regards to me filling my own prescriptions one particularly crazy sunday. i thought that getting my own (patient's) drugs would be helpful. apparently, i was sorely mistaken.

it's not important, really. it just adds another dimension to the already incredibly stressful job that i have taken. at the end of my 8 day stretches, all i want to do is curl up and sleep for 2 days - not talk to anyone other than jim, not leave the house, not do anything. at the end of that period, i hate veterinary medicine, i hate myself, i hate my's not a good way to feel.

i went out to dinner with a couple of my intern-mates and one of the ER docs (who was herself an intern last year) - we went out for $2 pint night after that, and we had long heart-to-hearts. it made me feel a great deal better about things. but it's still gnawing at me.

oh well, i never thought an internship would be easy. i just didn't realize all the ways it would be so difficult.


all but 1 said...

Love the new photos. And I'm so with you on the stress of dealing with new people when you're trying to find your way as a vet.

Amy said...

Only people who are insecure in their own job would see as what you did (filling the prescription) as an infringement or insult to what they do.... ie "don't they know I know how to do my job?" kind-of-thinking
Just be yourself, don't talk down to people (which you don't... you may disagree with them but you don't treat them with the air of superiority) and focus on the things that got you into the vet practice. The rest will work itself out.
You can't MAKE people like you any more than you can MAKE an animal love you... "Kitty loves me!!" (ask the hubby about that one)... some won't like you no matter what you do and some will love you no matter what... but no matter what if they respect you you'll have a good working relationship.
There... enough preaching... love ya