5 Sep 2014

fahye: ([luth] metal on our tongues)
Has it really been two months since I posted here? The year is FLYING by, which is terrifying, but I am also gathering up my building excitement about next year, for a variety of reasons:

1) I'll be back in Canberra, which...look, I LOVE the place I'm working at the moment, I'm going to cry horribly at the prospect of working in a place with a less incredible set of people, but at the same time I'm rapidly losing patience with the whole small-town life thing. I miss shops, I miss the theatre, I miss even the modest Canberran version of city crowds, I miss restaurants and cafes and art galleries. I miss my family and my friends.

2) My apartment will be built and ready for me to move into. I don't think you realise how excited I am about the prospect of MY OWN PLACE, my own teensy one-bedroom third-floor apartment with a shitty view and an easy walk to my favourite Chinese takeway place. I'm going to hang art on the walls, I'm going to buy three enormous bookshelves, I'm going to have a fucking kitchen colour scheme, I'm going to have people over for really tiny dinner parties. I'm going to whine about having a mortgage at every opportunity. I already know what my housewarming presents to myself will be.

3) I got the part-time job I was hoping for at the medical school, which will mean I am doing two days a week of research and teaching as well as two days a work of clinical patient contact. After years of running in the other direction so as not to be exposed to the faintest whiff of research, I'm coming around to it, mostly because I love teaching so much and no university will let you just bum around designing curriculums and running clinical tutorial groups, which is my ideal professional life.

Work. Okay, let's talk about work.

I haven't been posting about my work much because it's overwhelming and draining and annoying and incredible and humbling. Being a GP is very, very different to being a hospital doctor; being a registrar and working largely independently is very, very different to being the paperwork and blood-taking monkey at the bottom of the medical pyramid.

I make decisions all day that have potentially immense consequences. I am learning to tell people things they don't want to hear. I am learning to talk about everything and to listen to people say everything to me; I am frequently cried on or yelled at; I've told people they have cancer or that I'm taking their driver's license away from them; I've been manipulated and lied to and resented. I talk to people of all ages and backgrounds about their sex lives, their abusive relationships, their jobs, their fears, their embarrassing symptoms, their pain and their pregnancy, their genitals and their hallucinations. I'm a psychologist and a life coach and a teacher and a social worker.

Which is not to say I'm particularly expert or wonderful at being any of those things. I spent four years of medical school learning the coagulation cascade and the causes of cardiomyopathy, and then spent two years as an intern/RMO learning how to talk an urgent CT scan out of a grumpy radiologist and how to fit twelve hours worth of ward jobs into an eight hour shift. Nobody teaches you how to sit with a straight face and a sympathetic voice and recommend that your 60-year old patient buys a copy of The Joy of Sex to read with her husband because penetrative intercourse has been impossible since his prostate surgery and her response to a gentle suggestion about exploring non-penetrative intimacy was, "I don't think he knows about all of that."

It's so challenging, and so tiring. But I tell you what, it's the best education in the breadth and depth of humanity that anyone could ask for.

October 2016

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