Lisa asks why I don't stop by more often.
Soon, soon. Four weeks and one day.
(I have to count the day because I am on call today.)
It's difficult to convey how draining CPE is. Let me just list the requirements. This isn't a whine; this is just a list.
In the hospital for a regular 40 hour week.
On call once a week. Today is an easy one ~ a regular 8-4:30 workday. A weekday on-call follows such a regular workday, and goes from 4:30-noon the next day. You usually get to sleep a couple of times in two-hour spurts. Last Saturday night I didn't.
A variety of units on which to see patients. Mine include two ERs, a NICU, an ICU, and pre-and post heart surgery. On call, you have the entire hospital.
A level of acuity, as they call it, that ranks among the highest in the nation. That means that codes and deaths are daily routines.
Every possible kind of faith-related, despair-related, hope-related conversation.
And I haven't even mentioned the training or educational requirements for our little group of interns. Nearly daily meetings in which we explore what is going on for us. Weekly written reflections. Weekly verbatims (word by word scripts of encounters with patients, written for discussion and critique by supervisor or group). Four books to read and write about. Lecures. Rounds. I get to go to an open-heart surgery in a couple of weeks. (Yeah, I'm good with that. I watched my boys' c-section births in a mirror, and I've been to several other births - both methods. And from what I hear, the OR is so crowded that you mostly watch the monitors anyway.) Midterm and final evaluations, meaning a series of questions that boil down to several pages of: How are you doing with your goals? How is your experience? Articulate your theology. Little things like that.
As I said, it's just a list. No complaints, other than the unremitting exhaustion. It's an incredible experience, and I have wished many times this summer that seminary, which has often been a disappointing series of lectures and tests reflecting an unyielding devotion to teaching and learning methods long fallen by the wayside elsewhere, were more like this. Imagine engaging the texts of the Scripture and the commentaries of the last 3000 years with this kind of personal reflection and interactive dialogue! (They tell me second year will be better. I sure hope so. The first mostly demonstrated why we in the church have such problems communicating among ourselves and with others. We don't practice.)
Anyway ~ that's why I haven't been around much.
Just a few more weeks.