Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Psychiatry Clerkship Begins Well

My first rotation is Psychiatry. I know nothing about psychiatry and wouldn't have chosen it as my first rotation, but because I switched with a classmate, this is what I ended up with.

Yesterday was my first day of third year and my first day of my first rotation: psychiatry. The hospital where we do most rotations doesn't have an inpatient psychiatry service, so we go to a psychiatric hospital elsewhere in town. I'm still new to the city and I'm not a great navigator to begin with, so I thought I might have trouble finding the place. I mapped it with my iPhone and with Google the night before, and planned to leave twenty minutes early so that I had some time for U-turns.

Well, I followed the directions and ended up in a manufacturing district of a suburb. Driving around, I thought, "maybe they just put the hospital out here to protect the sensitive nature of the problems?" but after finding nothing but an Urgent Care, I decided to whip out the email that the clerkship coordinator had sent and open the Welcome Letter, which had a map at the end of it.

the map was about two inches square, very pixelized on my phone, and had almost zero streets marked. In my haste, I didn't read it properly and saw that one end of the path landed in a different part of town. Quickly I tried to find that area on my iPhone. Without street markings, I headed in the general direction, hoping that my extra twenty minutes would save me. I got stuck in rush hour on a highway I'd never been on before. I called the clerkship director twice, and the clerkship coordinator once, to no avail.

Still wondering what street I would be looking for, I found myself downtown, where one-way streets, bizarre intersections, and other driving disasters about. My iPhone's map was carpeted with streets, and the map on the welcome letter had very few, with no labels. Where was this psychiatric hospital??

I was trying to trust in Jesus and abandon my on-time self-image to Him, but I started crying at this point. I was already late to orientation (and the 8am time was marked in red on the Welcome Letter) for my first rotation during the year when personal characteristics and first impressions matter so much! I pulled into the parking lot of a random high-rise to ask for directions. As I parked I tried to compose myself. Hoping I wouldn't be towed, I headed toward the door and left my white coat in the car.

Another woman got to the door at the same time I did, and I was so desperate that I blurted out, "can you help me?" My eyes were probably red and my voice was soft and shaky.

"Sure!" she said, concerned. "What do you need?"

I don't remember what I said, but it was something like: "I'm lost. I need to get to ____ Psychiatric Hospital," and as I said it a sob broke out. How embarrassing! Even as I was saying it, I was thinking what a great story this would make if everything turned out well.

Well, it turns out she was on her way to a doctors' appointment. We went into the building together and she took me with her to her OB/GYN's office, where she checked in and she let me ask the receptionist for directions. I repeated to the receptionist that I was looking for the psychiatric hospital. Tears were still welling up in my eyes. (I was now forty minutes late for orientation.)

The receptionist's face was instantly concerned and she offered quickly to find out where it was and print off a map for me. Then she said, "I'll call and verify where they are." I thanked her as she dialed. "Hello," she said, when someone picked up. "Hello, this is ___ at ____ Obstetrics and Gynecology. I have a patient of yours here...."

I didn't hear the rest, I was laughing and going hysterical inside! I wanted to cry, but that was just too funny. I eventually got to the hospital (which was a frustrating few minutes away from the manufacturing district that the iPhone had me visit), an hour late for orientation. However, the clerkship director was very forgiving, and now I have a hilarious story.

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