Sunday, July 31, 2011

City Baby

 Danny and I had a great weekend with my good friend from med school, her husband and their 364 day old baby.  It's hard to go enjoy the city without out-of-town guests to force us to do it.  

So please come visit!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Million Thoughts

I have a million thoughts that I want to write about, but pretty much no time to do it.

I want to write about my first patient who I cried with.  And how much it sucks to tell someone that their tumors were unresectable.  I want to tell you how emotionally exhausting it is to have four palliative patients on my service right now- who all look to the surgery team for some kind of hope but we've got nothing to do for them.  How I find myself avoiding visiting them, because as soon I step into their room, I feel the full weight of their incredible emotional burden.  I think of the quote alot- "Consider exhaustion a state of having given completely, rather than having been taken from".  When I'm emotionally spent, its because I chose to give my energy, attention and empathy to someone who truly needed it- and remind myself not to feel abused or taken advantage of by the System or the Man.   I want to tell you how emotional exhaustion has pushed me to the edge of what I can handle on a few occasions- resulting in at least one episode of hanging up on one very senior doctor who was treating me like crap when I just had no energy left to be reasonable.

I want to tell you about my patient who asked me if I went into medicine for the money.  And how my first real paycheck adds up to just over $8/hr after taxes.

I want to write about how torn I feel every night when I get home- between relaxing with Danny, reading up on all the things I don't know enough about, showering, having dinner, calling my med school friends, catching up with family, doing the dishes, buying groceries.... and how I only have time for about one of those each night.

I want to share how rewarding it has been to work with my team- how they support whatever decisions I make about patient care, and go out of their way to make me feel appreciated and recognized for all the work I do on the floor while they are in the operating room.

I want to tell you about all my new ideas for my next novel, and how guilty I feel about wanting to spend a hour per night of my already cramped time for Danny and studying holed up in the office writing another silly book.

I'm grateful to have one of my good friends from med school, her husband, and their darling 1 yr old daughter as house guests this weekend.  Pictures to come- I needed a nice relaxed weekend with good friends and it's been awesome so far.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Language Lessons

#1- The word "poo poo"  is universal.  Spanish, Polish, Ukrainian, Mongolian, Russian...  everybody knows poo poo.

#2- Using charade-like motions to communicate vomiting or diarrhea is never as successful as you would hope.   But it sure is funny to watch.

#3- Conjugating verbs in Spanish is soooooo unnecessary.  Past tense = just add "en el pasado..." (in the past....), future tense = "en el futuro..." (in the future).

#4- This is what my pocket looked like last time I was on call.    Doesn't have anything to do with language, but I managed to avoid dropping any of them in the toilet accidentally, so I win.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Drawing Blood

At the county hospital, the  phlembotomists only draw patients blood at one certain time.  If you want blood drawn at any other time, you have to do it yourself.

This morning, one of my funny old man patients refused to let phlebotomy draw his blood.  So I had too, which is one of my least favorite parts of being an intern because it takes forever on some people.   While I was doing it, I asked why he refused them.  He said that it was because he likes me more and wanted me to draw his blood.

Dear patient, I appreciate that you like me.  Please please please find a new way to show it.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Not the stuff I wear every day- but the TV show.  It's fantastic.  Starting residency has made me dislike Grey's Anatomy more and more, and made me love Scrubs a TON.  It's become a bit of a nightly ritual to crash on my ridiculously huge couch and watch an episode or two.

I love it.

That's all.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day One!

Yesterday was wildly successful.  The county hospital that I work at had a "furlough day", so the OR's were closed on Friday.  That meant that my 3rd and 5th year residents weren't in the OR and therefore they very slowly and patiently took my co-intern and myself through everything that we needed to know.  All of my team is incredibly smart, nice and helpful- which is exactly why I picked this program to begin with.

I did have a few classic intern moments.  I got really nervous about giving a patient Tylenol for a fever.  I resisted the urge to check liver labs before giving a simple over the counter medicine.  I was actually paranoid enough about sending the healthy young patient into liver failure that I checked back at the end of the day to make sure I hadn't killed them.  With Tylenol.

I also had to transport a semi-stable patient from the ICU to the CT scan (all ICU patients have to have an MD with them when they move).  I definitely re-lived some of the more dramatic scenes of Grey's Anatomy as the doors closed on me and my patient alone in an elevator.  The nurse had sent me with a small amount of vasopressers to start "if the patient craps out again".  What?! My current knowledge of vasopressers is that if someone needs them- they should be in the ICU, and far far away from an intern like me.  I was not excited about starting them alone in the elevator.  But everything was beyond fine, and it was probably good to get my heart rate above 120 for a few minutes.

I don't think that I really knew a lot about what it would like to be a doctor before medical school.  I never really shadowed anyone, or had any family members in medicine.  But even with that extreme ignorance, I think that I somehow picked a career path that fits me really really well.  It's awesome to be in a position where I can actually DO stuff for people who are in the hospital.  People are vulnerable and alone and scared when they are sick- and it is incredible to be able to relieve some of their anxieties and pains about their illness, and sometimes FIX them (yay surgery!).