Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And So I Enter the Surgi-Cell

Is it odd to dread the thing you love?

For the past month, I've been biding my time on Pediatrics, watching the surgery team burst onto the floor, parade around importantly, impatiently jiggle a few bellies and pack a few abscesses and disappear. Every intern I spoke with had the attitude of "Good luck, dude...", with a head-shaking and low whistle. I've been alternating between envy and fear.

And on Sunday, I started.

As is my luck, I caught a bug from the NASTY GRUBBY IRRITATINGLY ADORABLE MONSTERS of pediatric clinic on the second to last day of the rotation. I couldn't really complain, since I constantly have colds and I was very much overdue for one, but I really did try the entire rotation to keep myself clean. I was doing ok on Saturday, coughing a bit but handling things well on some vitamins and Tylenol. But by Sunday morning, I was a raging mess, and never really had a voice to lose in the first place.

As is also my luck, it wasn't a bad call work-wise. Sundays are typically used for cleaning up the surgical patient list, cleaning up messes left over from Friday and Saturday, and just generally keeping things under control. I lucked out with a senior resident who was understanding of my not being too put-together on my first day, and a medical student who was experienced enough that I didn't have to stay on top of her work. The list wasn't too bad, there were no massive emergencies or codes, and no cases.

However, I spent the entire day sweating up a storm, coughing my brains out, swallowing thick snot, sneezing (that deep, worrisome kind), and generally feeling fatigued and not myself. I caught myself at several points throughout the day, gazing off into space and forgetting which task I was meant to be taking care of. I didn't drink enough water, and forgot to take my vitamins and Tylenol. I wasted a lot of time that could have been used towards getting my notes written and following up on labs, and as a result only got about 2 hours of sleep. I forgot a patient on the list who was still sitting in the ER, and had to frantically write my note at the last minute. I found myself oddly energetic at points, though, as if my cold was breaking, and my adrenal glands had gotten the "Go, team, GO!" message and kicked into gear. By the time I got to morning rounds, I was so wide awake that my worst reaction to a hoop-jumping request from my chief resident was just mild grumbling. I popped 2 Benadryls while pulling out of the parking lot at 10 am, and fell asleep pretty quickly, planning to sleep away the day and not worry about studying. Paradoxically, letting myself sleep away the day guilt-free meant that I was feeling much better when I woke up, and was actually able to study for a bit.

My day today, while hectic, was actually pretty good. I stayed quiet most of the day so that I could learn how things were run, and got assigned to help with a few minor procedures because I was the only intern on surgery who was a surgical intern. (My first ever fecal disimpaction was a bit of a letdown, because I didn't get the big rush of poop coming out that I was hoping for. C'est la vie.) I stayed to help out the intern on call, and by the end of the day, I actually felt like I had a feel for how things worked, and I went home happy.

My call was awful, and I was terrified for today, but I survived. It wasn't that bad in the end, and I realized that when push comes to shove, I am tougher than I give myself credit for. I'm not incapable, just inexperienced, and luckily I have five years to resolve that. I can do it. I am happy and empowered =)


  1. Go, you!! good luck--it looks like you are well on your way. you especially spoke wisely when you said that you are "not incapable, just inexperienced." keep that exact thought with you at all times... and always remember that in t-x hours, even call will be over.

  2. Dear SK, best of luck! Look forward to your blogger updates.