A Whole New Outlook
Lately, it feels like I’ve woken up into someone else’s life. And this someone else’s life is WAAAAY better than mine! Honestly, I worried I’d never get to say this: my job is freaking awesome. I know there will be months I’m on rotations that suck, or rather, rotations with sucky hours. But right now that’s not the case, and the actual work is so fun. My days are full of variety, from freezing genital warts to biopsying suspicious moles to surgery clinics. To clarify, I despise the OR, but I do think procedures are fun and derm surgeries typically involve nerve blocks or local anesthesia, not general (patients are conscious, and we’re not in an actual OR)…and there are TONS of them in derm. Fun, rewarding types of procedures. I’ve already seen some crazy stuff, even a new case of bullous pemphigoid.
My biggest fear in starting derm residency was that I wouldn’t like my colleagues. Every field in medicine has its stereotypes, and I do NOT like the stereotype my field is building. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but medicine specialty reputations are pretty hilarious and most docs would roughly agree on each one’s stereotype. For example, that psychiatrists are often crazier than their patients. Neurologists are severe dorks. Anesthesiologists barely speak English and are socially awkward. Family docs are pie-in-the-sky dreamers. Surgeons are a$$holes who just want to cut and have no bedside manner. ER physicians have ADHD and are adrenaline junkies. Peds people wear bowties and are sweet but talk with funny voices. Orthopedic surgeons are meatheads. Dermatologists are entitled and superficial. There’s a stereotype for every field, and my fear was ending up in a derm residency program where people fit the “type.” Anyone who knows me realizes I wear 3 pairs of shoes (flipflops, running shoes, and Danskos); none has a bow on the toe. I’m not a make-up lover or a fashion diva. Naturally I worried I would like or fit in with my colleagues.
Still feeling like a family doc at heart, I forged ahead after discovering my love for derm itself. So as you can imagine, I was HUGELY relieved to learn my program did not match ANY derm divas. It is full of very cool, very down to earth people and attendings. I have yet to encounter an excessive ego in our department. My program director hosted a party a few nights ago, which was SO reassuring to me. Normal people, fun people, having a good time together and without the hierarchy that’s typical of Internal Medicine and the East Coast. It’s a very tight-knit program (small size helps that) and there are lots of kids and babies amongst the group. I know there will be REALLY tough times ahead still, and I’m already feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material I’m supposed to be absorbing on a daily basis, but I can say confidently that I’m very happy with my choice of specialty and program.
And can I just say, having weekends off is RIDICULOUSLY amazing. What? All I need to work is 5 days in a row and I get 2 off?! Done! Even if they’re long days, that is SUCH a beautiful improvement from the past year of my life. It’d been 5 months since I’d had 2 days off of work in a row. Ahhh, so nice to not have that “Sunday night dread” every single night of my life. No more calling time of death, no more heavy white coat pockets, stethoscopes, rectal exams, diabetes / CHF / COPD management, EKGs, rounds, admissions…the worst is over and it’s up from here.