I guess what’s really getting to me is that I’m not operating a whole lot this month. Maybe I had rose-colored glasses last year, looking at the juniors, but I expected to operate more. I don’t think I can stand to wait another two years till I get to be a senior resident in order to operate on a semi-regular basis.

My technical skills are poor. I know that. But if I got in the OR more than once a week, I might get better. As it is, I can see myself improving through an operation, or if I ever get two in a day, the second one is always smoother. But then there are another five or six days before I get at it again, and I forget what I learned.

So I’m snapping at the intern, and I can’t tell whether it’s just me taking my frustrations out on him, whether the fact that I still seem to be doing all the work on the team is purely a result of my poor management/delegation skills, or whether he really is as unhelpful as I imagine him to be. . .

I had it hammered into me last year that the resident doesn’t ask for OR time, doesn’t ask for anything even when scrubbed in; you do what the chief or the attending tells you to, always, everywhere. . . so I don’t think it would do any good to ask; but my deferred-gratification capacities are getting pretty strained. I thought I only had to get through internship and life would get better; it hasn’t really, and the prospect of doing scutwork for another two years in order to earn the chance to live my dream is extremely discouraging. Jacob served seven years for Rachel, I tell myself; somehow that doesn’t really help, can’t imagine why not.

I guess that’s why I’m jabbering about work hours; somehow I imagine that if we were allowed to work longer, I’d get to operate more. That’s probably completely unrealistic. It’s still ridiculous that, in addition to trying to take care of my patients properly and get out of the hospital sometime before 9pm (I’m not completely insane, I do like to get home in the evenings) I also have to worry about finding a time clock to swipe out on, and remembering whether, although I’m still at the hospital, I’ve marked myself out, or not yet.

I told the medical students, you know you have to do surgery if you get homesick for the OR when you go on to a different rotation. It’s infuriating to have it within reach, within eyesight, and not be able to get there.

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