So, fellowship is grand. I enjoy specializing and learning about just infectious diseases. I even (usually) enjoy getting a call for a new consult, because it's a new case and something to learn from.
With this new position comes a big piece of humble pie. I don't know anything. Well, I know some things, but I get a lot of calls that require me to call the person back after spending time looking up the answer...and then frustratingly having to call the attending just to make sure I've got it right.
It's a rough transition -- from attending to "intern" again. It's not the workload, which I don't mind and am very used to. It's the impotence I feel when someone asks me a question about MY specialty, and I have absolutely no idea how to answer it.
Last night the ER called me about a patient who had just returned from an African vacation with a few weeks of fever, nausea and vomiting. They wanted to make sure that if the malaria smear was negative, was it ok to discharge her from the ER with follow-up. Well, I'll be darned if I know! So, after checking the CDC website and finding nothing terribly useful about fevers post-Africa, I had to call my attending. Did I mention it was midnight? Yeah, embarrassing. She was terrific, and we talked things through (no, there's nothing else to work-up acutely in the ER). But, I still felt bad calling her.
So, I'm hoping with time I'll pick up a thing or two and be able to handle some of these questions on my own.