June and July are interesting months in the medical world. Residencies start, families move, school ends, and orientation scares everyone. Relating to residency, residents are experiencing a ‘first time’ all over again whether they are an intern or a chief. Every July 1st (at least that is the date in our case – but every program is different) brings a whole new slew of learnings, rotations, tasks, responsibilities and brand spanking new “one step” closer moments, which are obviously my favorite.
I will never forget the first day Mr. Dr. started residency. I kissed him goodbye in the dark, wished him well and had no idea when he would come home or what he would say his day was like when he did. When that tired soul did finally walk through the door, I remember thinking he looked like two things: a deer in headlights and confusion. Sort of like the look you might expect on a 2 year old when they are standing in a room and at that split second realize their parent isn’t standing right next to them anymore. Confusion leads to utter panic within seconds. That is sort of what I pictured as I watched him describe his day. I think I asked something along the lines of, “Did you see a ghost on your way home?” But his response, “I ran around the hospital today like a chicken with my head cut off, I have no idea what I am doing and everyone is too busy to teach me what the hell is going on. This is going to be brutal.” Poor guy. Welcome to residency you naïve little long white-coated intern. Yes, you have an M.D. after your name now but good luck with the next 5 years. Cheers though for coming out alive on the first day of understanding what that M.D. means in the ortho world with your body still in one piece. I felt for him…oh did I ever. Then I felt for myself. What have we gotten ourselves into? Two things have remained true for me since we started.
1. Despite what everyone tells you to expect, it’s probably worse.
2. No one understands residency until they go through it both from the M.D. perspective and the spouse perspective.
Evvvvvvvvveryone tells you all of the residency rumors before you start – how hard the next few years of life will be and blah blah blah. And while everyone is right about how difficult residency is, there is one thing that a lot of people forget to mention. For the second half of June and most of July, patients will probably be getting ‘B’ game service without even realizing it! I don’t know about you but I expect ‘A’ game whenever I visit a hospital. Well folks, those young little newbies in scrubs running around the hospital halls looking like they don’t have a clue are probably not acting if you ever pay a visit in those summer months. Sure they catch on quick – I mean there has to be a reason why they got into residency – but after seeing Mr. Dr.’s first month of residency unfold 2 years ago, I certainly recommend holding off a bit on a hospital visit until after the dust has settled in those call rooms. Maybe consider scheduling that knee surgery for September instead of July.
Take my advice or don’t take it. I am just laying down the cold (hm or maybe hot since we are talking summer) hard facts. Beware of the hospital in the mid-summer months or…enter at your own risk.