The year's coming to a close and I'm glum. Not because it means I'm one year closer to death. Am momentarily stuck in a moment of feeling helpless. Driving for four hours straight, at times in rain so heavy I couldn't see more than 5 feet in front of me.. driving back to a rented apartment alone gives one a few moments to reflect.
It's not very gratifying to feel that I haven't made any difference to people. Do you realize how frustrating it is to come across patients regularly who travel several hours to wait another few more at a crowded clinic, to be seen by a registrar (they're lucky if they get one of the good ones..) for less than 10 minutes and then be either be told that they're not healing well, or they are but to come back in another couple of weeks once their broken bone has healed? Some of these people struggle to find the means to come, either because of lack of transport or lack of funds. Couple that with a painful injury, sometimes in a cast that doesn't allow them to bend at the knees to sit comfortably in the car... And yet, there are ads on TV telling people that help is never too far away (via helicopter), showing signs in the middle of nowhere with things like "pediatrician --> 500km" or "heart specialist <--- 630km" on them.
It's not near. It's bloody far away for these people. It's frustrating to be part of this system, where we're at the bottom of the food chain. People "up there" sit there making rules that affect the lives of many hundreds out there without full understanding of the implications for those affected.
Do you know how much of a lightbulb moment it was for me to admit to myself that I've enjoyed my short weeks of ICU more than I've enjoyed ortho all year (except for my secondment hospital posting)? Yes, the huge blocks of days off help a lot. Maybe it's that. Or maybe I feel like I'm doing something useful - like preventing home teams from inadvertently killing their patients from sheer neglect when I go on MET calls. Coming from someone who has been gunning to get into ortho since internship, this is huge.
I thought 2010 was a crap year. The workplace woes resulting in a non-negotiable boss-initiated week off, no questions asked. The stress associated with planning the wedding (would have been worse without the support of the Tubby-Hubby) - so much so that I forgot to actually enjoy the moment of getting married because it passed in such a huge blur. Sad, eh? The disappointment of not scoring an ortho interview (for that was the goal) and scrambling around to rack up the points. The bulk of it was mostly the mental torture stemming from work, and a particular colleague at the time.
This year was worse. It's like the universe is out to prove that it can outdo itself. The few moments we could steal of married life were good but we were mostly apart this year due to work. I'm renting an apartment nearly 300km away for goodness sakes. And then, I lost my rings. On the one-year anniversary of his proposal. Both rings. And then the bitching at work! This year took my workplace woes to a new level of hell. Then my car died on me. A minor crack in the radiator was undetected and ended up blowing the gasket. The engine needed to be replaced and the car was at the mechanic's for more than a month. I got stuck in floods, the worst in the region for decades. The regional hospital was basically in shutdown mode for the week until waters receded. And then my grandpa. The parents thought it would be a nice thing to tell me that my grandpa isn't likely to make it.. one month into his ICU admission overseas. You have no idea how much I seethed at being told so late. He died soon after. I found out on the train, via a text message. Gee, thanks for the kind gesture. The Tubby-Hubby was next to me on our way to pick up our wedding album. We were to bring it back home to show my grandparents the wedding they missed. It was the main reason we got the album made. He never got to see it. It kills me every time I think about it still. We flew back for the funeral. We flew back again less than a month later for the vacation we planned half a year ago, wedding album in tow. The poor Tubby-Hubby has occasionally had to suffer the under-the-surface bubblings of angst and frustration I can't contain but otherwise, I've been trying to lie low ever since..
So yeah, given all that, I'm glad this year's coming to a close. I'm glad I'm getting a new shot at things. I'm scared of not living up to expectations, but am glad nevertheless to start fresh. I'm glad that I get to go home every night to home, not some derelict run-down apartment where I look over my shoulder all the time to ensure my own safety. Two thousand and eleven, I'm glad you're going to be history soon.