I'm now a nearly two months into internship and what a ride it's been so far. My program is better than most when it comes to hours, but my longest shift thus far was 33 hours. We have a night float system, but we still do 24 hour calls occasionally. The ACGME rules allow for the extra 6 hours for transfer of patient care, bringing the total to 24 + 6 (or 30) but my program supposedly abides by a 24 + 3 rule. In other words- 27. It's like they think we won't realize we're working more than 24 hours if instead of saying that the shifts are 27 or 30 hours, they say "24+3" or "24 + 6." Managing my medication on long calls is tough, and I have to make sure I don't flip into hypomania so I HAVE to take my evening dose of Seroquel, even if I'm going to be staying up all night. I take less of a dose, and make sure I get sleep when I return home. So far, so good. No hypomania. Just exhaustion- like all the other interns.
I keep my illness a secret from other people- sneaking pills from inside my Coach wristlet- and I don't think anyone I work with now would ever guess in a million years that I'm hiding something. If you met me now, you'd have no idea. It's nice to be out of medical school because my hospitalization is now a nearly three years in the past. I just tell my peers that I did a research year if it comes up that I was in medical school for 5 years. Of course when I was interviewing, I didn't lie- when asked I said I was on medical leave and then did research. But now, there's no reason to discuss this with my new friends. I just say research year, leave it at that, and I don't have to answer uncomfortable questions anymore.
It's great- sure I do struggle- but I'm so happy to have made it. Sure, there are sucky parts of internship. I had a 24 hour call last night and a nurse called me at 2:30 am to say the BP was 180/80 when it had been that way all day. But, despite these annoyances, I don't regret going to medical school.