I think I can

June 30, 2008

The other day Patrice asked me if I died this week, would I be disappointed? The following conversation went something like this:

C: YEAH … there’s still a lot of things I want to do.  If I have to die when I’m 24, at least let me die after next weekend when I get to see Ringo and after August when I get to see Bob Dylan.

P: Dude, don’t be greedy!  You already saw Bob Dylan once.

It’s almost July.  I haven’t gotten a letter from the kiddos in a long time … I think they’re probably having some vacations in various parts of the country.  I wish I was traveling at this moment — well, maybe not this very moment, I’m fucking exhausted.  But I’ve been really feeling the travel bug lately, my latest craving is to go to Bosnia or Croatia.  I was looking at pictures of Sarajevo today online, it’s so beautiful.  But I can’t, and I’m here, plugging away, so close to being done with this year that I can taste it.

Good news is, I’m starting clinicals tomorrow NOT at the depressing hospital where students aren’t allowed to do anything.  I’m going to the hospital I can walk to, which is a considerable benefit when I have to get up at 5:30 and be there by 6:15.

Bad news is, I have a final the next morning at 8am.  I don’t understand why they would do this to us, a final at 8am after a 12-hour shift the day before, not to mention the 9-hour workshop we had today, but whatever.  WHATEVER.  I can handle it.

I still feel overwhelmed by self-doubt and anxiety a lot of the time, when I think about what’s coming up in the near future, but I try to remind myself that I have handled a lot of shit in the past year that I had doubts about, and I’ve overcome my fears, been pushed out of my comfort zone and only made a couple of mistakes.  That’s not bad.

I’ve completed a head-to-toe assessment, written it up, passed a skills test, interacted successfully (therapeutically?) with most of my patients (and very awkwardly with others), started a foley catheter, tested blood glucose, given insulin injections, pulled out a nasogastric tube, hung a blood transfusion, started IVs, given an IM injection and drawn blood.  I have discontinued IVs & catheters, given tube feedings, flushed PICC lines and pushed IV medications.  I have presented papers, projects, case studies …  I have watched two c-sections & insertion of a pacemaker, given bed baths and written countless pages of care plans.  I have rocked babies, walked the halls with post-op patients and gone in search of toys for bored little ones.

I have accomplished a lot, and I try to keep this in mind, because I’ve decided I’m going to do my best to just fake it.  I’m going to ask a lot of questions, but I’m going to fake the confidence that I don’t feel until I do feel it … fake it ’til I make it.  I feel like I still know nothing, but that’s not true, it’s just that I still know very little compared to all there is to know.

A year from now, if all goes well, I’ll be catching babies.  For now I’m going to go review that whole insertion-of-a-catheter thing, because I haven’t done it in a while and I don’t want to give anyone a UTI.