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Do I Need A Break?

Today I went to see my Family Doctor.  I wanted to talk about my bone scan results… and how I might be depressed, and how I’m not comping well, and to introduce her to the ongoing problem with ED*, and to tell her how I increasingly feel the need to escape from my life…(I know all your Family Med types are cringing at the thought of how this 10min booked appointment went…).  It didn’t take me long to break down crying in her office.  She listened.  And that’s doing a lot more than what most other people in my life have been doing.  She asked me if I thought about taking a short medical leave from residency, you know, to get my feet back underneath me.

It sounds like a good idea.  I can let myself recover a little bit and give myself a chance to really think clearly about what I need to do for myself.  I can sort out the priorities around my family life.  I can re-evaluate my career choices while I am better rested.  It really does sound like a good idea.  I said I would think about it and mentioned that I set up an appointment with the learner advocacy office next week to talk about what a medical leave in residency would look like (and what it would do to my program time frame).  She also suggested that maybe I take the rest of the day off today – or even the rest of the week.  My short Christmas break starts next week and the thought of having the next 3 days off leading into that sounds quite nice.  I accepted the sick note that she wrote for me and tried to compose myself before I walked out of her office.

I got back to work right away – after all, there were unanswered pages piling up on my pager… “I’ll tell my chief that I have to go home sick after I get this stuff done,” I told myself.  But now I’m second guessing whether or not I should take the time off.  I feel bad about taking 3 sick days off work when I’m not really “sick.”  Is 3 days off really going to make a difference to me?  But then again, is 3 days of not having a junior resident (aka, general surgery scut monkey) going to make a difference to my team?  I don’t know which is worse, the guilt of staying home from work, or the guilt of not taking care of myself?

I really just don’t know what to do…

*I approached my Husband about ED last night.  He confirmed my fears.  He said he doesn’t think it’s a problem and that he’s not willing to do anything about it.  I can’t live with that option.  But all the other options don’t seem that appealing to me, either.

9 thoughts on “Do I Need A Break?

  1. I had to chuckle — all that discussed in 10 minutes? Oy! 😉

    But in all seriousness, perhaps a bit of time off is a good thing. Get your own mental health back on track and regroup in the new year. I’m not sure how all that works in residency, you should definitely talk to the advocacy officer and see what your options are.


    1. Does it make you feel better to know that i had the appointment right before lunch?
      I will talk to them, for sure. I know i beed some time to “recover,” but i always feel bad about using sick time


      1. Oy — that’s even worse! *before* lunch! 😉 I kid. I love seeing residents – wish I had more in the practice, actually. She gave you some really good advice. You need to take care of yourself.


  2. Sick leave is for physical health and mental health. Both are important to tend. You are like an asthmatic caught in a smoky room with cockroaches–time to attend to the environmental triggers! Sending healing wishes for you to take care of yourself through this challenging time.


    1. I can’t even seem to take one day off… here I am, at work again. I am going to think about taking a leave in the new year… depending on how my Christmas break goes.


  3. First of all, I’d like to admit that I chuckled when you mentioned the 10-minute appointment. 😛

    Second of all, I COMPLETELY understand the guilt of having to leave and not getting all the scut work and leaving more for your team to do. I’m not a resident yet, but I had to leave all the time to go to eating disorder recovery stuff during clerkship, and so I do get that guilt. But I really do believe that you have to always make yourself your number one priority, however hard that may be. (And I’m not saying I’m always successful at it, either!) But you’re the hero of your own story, and if you don’t take care of yourself now, you’re setting yourself up for bad news bears as you continue on in your career.

    Just my thoughts! I want you to be as happy and healthy as you can. 🙂


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