Right now my life is in the midst of its own sort of "horse latitude" cycle. The doldrums have struck, and have done so in a rather cataclysmic and convergent fashion. My description is metaphorical, of course. I'm not on a ship, and the ship that I'm not on is not stuck in one of the Intertropical Conversion Zones of low pressure and calm winds -- either the calms of Capricorn or the calms of Cancer. Furthermore, I am privy to the knowledge that the idea that horses had to be thrown overboard for the purpose of preserving ships' rapidly dwindling water supply -- hence the sobriquet horse latitudes -- is largely a term borne of folklore, which is not to say that there was never even a single instance of a horse being thrown overboard when water supply diminished rapidly during the calms of subtropical latitudes. The point here is that I took the same undergraduate physical geography course covering weather and climate that nearly every other university student did. No one needs to feel obligated to consult Wikipedia, then to use the "comments" section of this blog to "educate" me or other readers concerning the particulars of atmospheric circulation, disambiguation, and other features of the Intertropical Conversion Zones. Most of us already know as much as we care to know about the topic.
The one bright spot in my life, thank God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Great White Blood Cell, or whomever is responsible, is that my personal issues are not interfering with work, and that work is continuing to move along smoothly. My supervising attending physicians and residents have thus far liked me and have been pleased with my work, as have the interns supervising me. The word on the street is that the surgical rotation is the one in a which a third-year medical student should not begin his or her clerkship. Nonetheless, someone has to start out here, and I figuratively drew the short straw. The work is physically demanding, and that's the very least of the drawbacks associated with the surgical rotation. Through a combination of over-preparedness and sheer dumb luck, I've been able to overcome most of the stumbling blocks of having gotten stuck with surgery as my first clinical rotation. For that matter, I'm finding it fascinating and am having a blast with it.
After an organ that is not to be transplanted is discarded, third-year students often get to use it to practice incisions and sutures. This probably sounds bizarre and disgusting to anyone not actively involved in the allied health fields, but it's an excellent way to get the feel of incising and suturing live tissue when the stakes are very low. The organ is useless, so we can't do any harm. We've all done our time in anatomy lab, but cold, embalmed bodies have a much different feel to them than do living (or recently living) tissues. I've done well enough with my discarded organs that three of my supervising surgeons have allowed me to do just a bit of work on the actual surgical patients. The real surgeons are right there on the tips of their toes, poised to jump in and to repair anything that I might screw up, but thus far that hasn't been necessary. Knowledge of this has to be far from comforting for anyone who is or whose loved one is facing surgery at a teaching hospital in the near future. Still, training must happen, and until someone comes up with a mannequin remarkably similar to the human body, we doctors-in-training must practice on actual patients. If whoever operates on you or your loved one hasn't had adequate training and practice, the surgical patient is in a world of trouble.
Unfortunately for me right now, life consists of more than just work. My family hates me. Okay, that's probably an overstatement. Most members of my family are angry with me. I shall not air the dirty laundry in this forum. I initially messaged a friend with the details, but then thought better of it and erased the messages. We all have problems. My friend surely has issues of his own with which to contend. Probably the very last thing he would choose to do with his finite free time is to read about the dysfunctionality surrounding my family. Even if he read about it, what could he really do? I can't exactly see him calling my relatives and telling them how wrong they are even if he did agree with my points in the dispute, which isn't necessarily a given.
On top of everything else, I'm dealing with a bit of a situation in the domain of romance. While I'm in the league of neither Tesla nor Einstein where raw intelligence is concerned, I'm not so lacking in gray matter as to believe that now is a good time to involve myself in any sort of affaire de coeur. Lamentably, these things sometimes happen anyway, even to otherwise intelligent, or at least otherwise not overwhelmingly stupid people. The upside to the situation is that it is temporary. This, too, shall pass, and probably sooner rather than later. In five weeks the subject of this relationship and I will be in different rotations and may not meet up again in another rotation for a long time if ever.
The family situation will not likely work itself out with quite such ease. Blood is thicker than water (and speaking of blood, some blood types stain clothing more persistently than do other types; some things one has to learn the hard way, and I will never again wear non-hospital-issue scrubs into surgery), and these things usually eventually work themselves out, though not always without resultant scars. All I can do is stand my ground where I think it is absolutely essential that I do so but not be so stubborn as to hold out in ways that hurt myself more than anyone else solely for the purpose of making a point.
Sayonara, and I hope that your summer is sailing along more smoothly than mine is.