I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m up to.  Wondering if I’ve forgotten about my blog.  Wondering if maybe life as intern just got so busy and hectic that I could no longer find time to write.  I haven’t forgotten. And I’m not too busy.  Lately I just haven’t been able to find the right words.

Life as an intern is almost over.  It’s been a long year.  And I want nothing more than for it to end.  I started the year as a bright-eyed new doctor, looking forward to seeing patients and learning the ins and outs of patient care.  But slowly through the year, I’ve grown tired.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Just, tired.  And this month especially, as I am working in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), I find myself feeling a little burnt out.  Numb.

Being an intern, being a doctor, is so much more than I ever imagined.  More difficult.  More tiring.  More consuming.  More challenging.  More of everything.  One minute can be thrilling and exciting.  The next can be emotional and terrifying.  And I just don’t feel like I was prepared to feel this way.  Medical school taught me a lot about medicine.  But it didn’t prepare me to deal with the emotions that come along with a life in medicine.

Nobody prepared me to pronounce the time of death on a patient.  Nobody prepared me to put in orders for “comfort care only.”  Nobody prepared me to call someone’s family and tell them their loved one is dying.  Nobody told me how to deal with the fact that I was the last person someone ever spoke to.  And nobody ever told me how to deal with the haunting feeling that maybe if I had done something differently, maybe if I had been a better doctor, my patient might still be alive.

So most days I’m left to myself.  Left with my thoughts.  Left with my feelings.  Left with my worries.  And the worst part about being a doctor is, that you feel isolated.  You feel like you can’t talk to anyone, because how could they ever understand.  When I come home after a 14 hour shift where I spent half of those hours managing a dying patient, how am I supposed to tell my husband about my day?  How can I explain to him that I don’t want to talk about it?  That I can’t talk about it.  That I just want to forget.  That I just want for it to never have happened.

Believe me.  I’ve thought about writing.  I’ve thought about how to explain everything I’m feeling.  But there are no words.  There is nothing to say how this feels.  There is nothing that can make it better.  It is what it is.  This is what being a doctor is like.  And some days, I just wish I wasn’t a doctor.  I wish that I didn’t have to know what this feels like.

About emilyehoward

My name is Emily, and I am a Hospitalist in Nebraska. I live with my husband and three beautiful daughters. I hope you enjoy my blog!
This entry was posted in Doctor, Health Care, Medicine, Osteopathy, Physician, Residency and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Numb

  1. Shelly Chloupek says:

    Love you Emily! You are in my prayers everyday.

  2. I was just thinking about you this morning, that I hadn’t read anything new from you in awhile. I began reading your blog as a med student mom, and now I just graduated and am getting ready to start internship. I’m terrified. I don’t know a darn thing. And I feel like I’m going to be in for a rude awakening in a couple weeks. I’m sorry to hear how stressful this has been for you. But I do hope that you are finding ways to cope with this process of doctoring. Take care, friend.

    • emilyehoward says:

      Intern year has probably been the hardest year of my life. Close in comparison the my first year being a mom. I hope that things gets better, and I’m sure they will. It’s not without rewards but intern year is a struggle. I’m always here if you need advice or need to talk. You will be ok. If you can be a mom during MED school you can do anything!

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