Friday, July 5, 2013

Thoughts on Psychiatry

This post conforms to the blog rules.Phew! There has not been much time to blog lately. Two weeks ago, my first rotation started. Since then, my schedule has approximately been:

6:00am: wake up, drive to Mass
6:30am: Mass, Morning Prayer, and drive to the hospital
8:00am: see patients with my attending and one other student
12:00ish: lunch, Midday Prayer, and sometimes commuting to another place.
Afternoons were very variable: since I just finished two weeks on the alcohol and drug dependence unit, I often got out before 3:00. But on Wednesdays, I worked until 11:00pm in Admitting (and I would go to an evening Mass the following day so that I could get some extra sleep). Three afternoons, we had lecture, so I got out at 4:00 or 5:00. Since I am living at home now, I
Some time during the day: 30 minutes of Meditation
9:50pm ish: Night Prayer
10:00pm to 12:30am: bed

There have been about a hundred stories I wanted to retell here. I had no idea that opportunities for "medical matinses" would come so thick and fast in the third year. In almost every patient I see a huge, magnificent, intricate tale that deserves treatment by Homer or Hugo! I'm very grateful to be living at home because people are willing to listen to me, and that has replaced some of the function of this blog (good thing, too, because talking with someone has a much smaller activation energy or barrier cost than writing a blog post, in terms of time).

But I've also struggled with this rotation. I have had a sheltered life, and to see so many dysfunctional families, so much drug and substance abuse, so much poverty and desperation, and so much mental illness all in two weeks was a little overwhelming. There was a woman around my age seeing and screaming at her hallucinations, while I was trying to talk to her. There was a young man who can't accept his diagnosis because it doesn't fit into the reality created by his psychosis, so he can't see that he needs medicine. There was a little girl with new-onset intrusive thoughts, who cried in my arms because she was so afraid of her own thoughts and scared of all the other (even worse) pathology on the pediatric unit. And then there were all the addicts, with pasts full of loss and with futures of fragile sobriety (and I could never tell when they were lying to my face). Will the ones I got close to be safe on the outside?

I was struck by how human everyone is (and I've talked about that before). For instance, I spoke with at least two men who came in with homicidal ideations. In both of the conversations that I am thinking of, I was not afraid, but only filled with compassion and love.

I'm also in the process of pursuing my vocation, which means I'm in formation one night a week and trying to use Sundays for formation, too. I'm navigating the city and trying to attend daily Mass and Adoration in the midst of a crazy schedule. I am living more and more of the particulars of my future life, and it's hard and wonderful. I might post my vocation story here...we'll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment