Oh man…long time, no talk! Life has been very, very up over here in the land of clinical residency, and I’m trying hard to stay afloat let alone write about it. Being in clinical 40 hours per week (10 hour days Tuesday-Friday) + 2-2.5 hours commuting + class 9-5 on Mondays + all the outside work that goes along with all of the above means that I’m tired all the time! Waking up at 5am is rough no matter what time you go to bed, that’s for sure. On Friday night, Eric found me nearly asleep in my notes at 9pm – definitely went to bed at that point.
Despite the crazy hours, I’m enjoying clinical and can tell that I’ve progressed since day one. I also appreciate that some preceptors I’ve been with have said the same, which is reassuring because I certainly have days where I feel like I don’t do anything right! An ICU shadowed my CRNA preceptor (and therefore mostly me) this week to see if she’s interested in nurse anesthesia, so it was cool to show her what we do and feel like I knew some of it. (And probably good for her to see me learning intubation techniques, especially when I needed some direction!) Not sure she was totally sold, but I feel pretty good about my decision.
The new residents (doctors) started a couple weeks ago, so there’s some people in my shoes. It’s a little bit of a bummer because they get priority for cases, but usually I can find a CRNA to go with since residents aren’t with CRNAs. (In New York, CRNAs work under a team model where they are covered by an attending who may oversee a few CRNAs. They’re supposed to be in the room for intubation, extubation, and if any issues arise.) I’ve been with a bunch of different preceptors, both 1:1 with an attending and with a CRNA, so it’s been good to see how different people do things and get tips and tricks and bits of knowledge to help me eventually figure out what I like best. (When do you give Tylenol? At the start of the case? At the end before emergence? Everyone has an opinion, and I tried looking up studies and couldn’t find anything definitive other than it doesn’t necessarily decrease opioid use in the PACU….fascinating.)
This rotation has its challenges because my site doesn’t assign cases the night before (so I get there early to set up and look up stuff) and I don’t have access to the Pyxis (medication vending machine), so it’s a little hard to grow some independence when you have to ask someone to pull out medications for you. I feel like the hardest part for me so far is determining when to extubate (pull out the breathing tube). We have “extubation criteria,” but not every patient fits it every single time, and there’s a fair amount of variance between providers (and patients!) on when to pull the tube. Usually I’m waiting and trying to decide if the patient is ready, and my preceptor says, “You can pull it now.” And I’m thinking, “Now? We’re ready? Really?” But they haven’t been wrong yet! So much to learn and experience to gain.
On the running front…….let’s just say I’ve become a bit of a weekend warrior. I get home from clinical between 6-7pm and have work to do when I get home before going to bed usually between 10-11pm (hopefully closer to 10…). I’m pretty exhausted from the day plus the 1.5 hour commute home, so I’ve only run twice after clinical. (And the first time was only a mile, oops.) I ran on Thursday after clinical this week (traffic was a gem so I got home on the early side!) by telling myself I could get Shake Shack on the way home from my run. I ran four glorious miles and headed to Shake Shack, where I learned they were closed for a private event. So, so sad.
Otherwise, I’m the weekend warrior. I got pretty sick in late June (and was googling the maximum daily dose of cough suppressant while alternating Tylenol and Advil – and going to bed at 8:30pm) and had a lingering cough for weeks, which liked to become worse after running a couple miles. I had planned to run the Pride Run for the first time, but the night before I was convinced I had step throat (I didn’t) and it was all downhill from there. That was a bit of a set back, for sure…and still waiting for my first Pride Run!
I’m trying to get a long run in every week, but that usually means my legs don’t like me the rest of the week. After a couple 12 mile runs, I ran 14 miles this morning! I told Eric I was going to run for “a couple of hours” and ended up with two hours on the dot. It’s been pretty toasty here in NYC, but it cooled off into the 70’s (while the humidity stuck around, for sure). I even got rained on a bit which was super refreshing. I’m not really running with any goals in mind other than to enjoy it and be happy to be running without pain. I don’t really think about my hips anymore with each step, and that is so amazing. My calf isn’t 100% but I can run 14 miles without any problems, so I’m counting that as a major win. (The PA I’d been seeing asked if I wanted to move forward with treatment, but I don’t have any time during business hours, so here we are.)
One thing that I’m excited about is that I’ve been transitioning back to not taking my phone with me when I run. To be honest, I started taking it with me a year or two ago because I was trying to hit 1,000 followers on Instagram (just being honest, and you can only take so many pictures of your shoes. I was never one to listen to music or anything while running, so I had always left my phone at home. As my injuries seemed to linger, I lost some running motivation and started listening to podcast to help distract me, and it worked! Not that I have anything against running with music/podcasts (you do you, but try to be aware of your surroundings!), but I like being able to hear my footsteps and breathing and to let my mind wander. (It’s also really nice to not be connected to the rest of the world 100% of the time.)
I’m pondering running a half marathon in August (East Bay Half in Rhode Island…or taking suggestions for ones in the northeast!)) because I really want to do one before the one year anniversary of my surgery. (Can you believe it’s been almost year? It feels both so long ago and like it was just yesterday, although when people ask how my hips are doing, I have to think about it for a second because they feel great.) A half marathon in August doesn’t really sound like fast times will be had, but I’m running what I like to call “anesthesia school pace” which is basically whatever my legs will do on that day. I’m just happy to be running even if it’s not 100% what I would like it to be.
And because life isn’t 100% studying/clinical/running (although it mostly feels like it), Eric and I had a quick get away to DC to watch the Nationals play. I’d gone to their ballpark in college (Go Terps!), but Eric hadn’t yet. In our quest to visit all the ballparks, we headed down for a quick trip. We had front row seats just past first base (right next to the ball girl!) and had fun seeing some friends and exploring DC. (And finally got to meet Jason, who I’ve known on Twitter/Instagram for maybe five years??) I wish we had a little more time to explore, but always good to get away (and spend time with Eric since I tend to hide behind care plans and readings basically all other times.)
Alright, back to the grind! Sorry these posts are basically dumping everything I’ve done in the past month on you, but I like checking in and will probably enjoy looking back on these when I’m done with school……and being glad that it’s over. While this is one of the most challenging things I’ve done, I know I’m lucky to be here and try to limit my
complaining commiserating to my study group (and Eric, sorry!!). Everyone says it’s worth it on the other side – 13 months to go!