I seem to be saying this a lot lately, and I hope it’s not getting monotonous, but: I am so happy to be where I am, doing what I am. Every time I walk into through the doors labelled “OR attire required beyond this point,” I am thrilled to be one of the people privileged to walk through and belong there. It’s like a secret kingdom, hidden inside the hospital, which is completely closed to 90% of the doctors and nurses here – and I have the key.

I’m walking in a lot, because the last couple days have been full of consults and admissions. Every hour or so, I turn around and there’s another patient showing up; or that’s what it feels like. I spend hours every morning discharging people, and by evening the list is longer than it was to start with. But I feel like I’m at least doing my job, so it’s semi-satisfying.

Five weeks left till the end of intern year. That doesn’t sound like much time at all. But it wasn’t long ago that we were just starting. It’s a lifetime away, and chief year is a lifetime away, and it all flies by so fast. One week at a time, and you’ve got 52 before you know it.

I noticed today that my concept of time has changed a lot since the beginning of the year. Then, getting to the hospital before 5am was awful; there were long stretches where I had to drag myself out of bed every morning, and got to the hospital in the middle of an existential consideration of the meaning of life, the meaning of sky being dark at 4am, and why am I doing this at all, and is it too late to quit and find a job that lets you sleep a couple hours later. I was depressed every day until about 10am. Now, I consider 4:15-4:30 a decent time to be at the hospital, and I don’t try hard to come in later, because I’m more worried about several new patients coming in overnight, and not having time to see them properly, than I am concerned about getting another half hour of sleep. I’m bouncy all morning (annoyingly so to the nurses coming off night shift, or to the ones dragging themselves in to start a new shift and drinking coffee), and when noon comes, I’m surprised that the day is half gone so fast. Time seems to have started warping, and it feels a lot better this way.

I suspect that the imminent prospect of a class of new interns to relieve us in – 38 days? – is a big part of all this cheerfulness. Someone else can have this scut, and let me have the OR cases routinely. Although, I’m going to miss knowing the patients as well as I do now. I own the service; I own my patients; and everyone else hears about the patients from me. It’ll be different to spend most of my time in the ICU, and just cover the floor patients – after all the majority on every service – only peripherally.

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I figured out another thing to cook. I marinated chicken with onions and soy sauce and some spices overnight and all day, and then put it in the oven when I got home. It took too long to cook (and came out black on the edges because I turned the heat up too high), but it tasted pretty good. I’ll have to use smaller pieces next time. I was getting tired of peanut butter sandwiches and ramen soup.

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