I would like to blame my prolonged absence again on COVID-19. To be fair, it does dominate about 95% of my work life and probably 50% of my personal life, but honestly, I’ve just gotten lazy.
The last time I published here was March 5, where I started with “it seems like we are inevitably headed for a massive, global pandemic.” For once on this blog, I get to say I WAS RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING IN RESIDENCY! No attending or dad can correct this.
As of this writing, my area’s daily hospitalization rates look like a Space-X rocket launch. We’re out of ICU beds, regular beds, gurney, cots, sleeping bags, and patience. The worst is somehow yet to come. I am coping with this impending doom by playing with my dog and, finally, writing again.
Yes, it has been very long. This is because my life outside of residency lately has been consumed with raising a small weapon of mass destruction named Otis.
This is Otis when I got him:
This is Otis now:
As you can see, he is a) much bigger and b) a Systematic Toy Destroyer. A well-meaning resident gifted me a plush toy for him; Otis ripped it in half in about thirty seconds.
The journey through second year of residency is an interesting one. As I’ve mentioned before, we are tasked with two major, new responsibilities: performing most procedures and seeing a much greater volume of patients. We’ve all gone through a substantial adjustment period. It’s been hard.
One of these journeys is toward two, or greater, patients per hour. I hit this milestone rather infrequently. In fact, it is about as likely for me to achieve this as I am to win a game of Oregon Trail. It is far more likely that I will die of dysentery, or make it no further than Fort Collins before my oxen quit on me. Continue reading
The title will make sense later. Trust me.
As I’ve mentioned before, I split most of my residency training time between two hospitals: a large tertiary care center that has all the bells and whistles, and an understaffed county hospital that on occasion struggles to perform basic functions of a healthcare facility, such as checking routine vital signs or (spoiler alert) admitting patients.
When you go to the ER for medical care and are discharged home, almost every ER will send you home with “discharge instructions.” In a perfect world, this would contain information that is actually relevant to the patient’s medical condition and cover what was done in the ER, the results of lab tests and imaging studies, and “return precautions” – when to come back to the ER. Continue reading
The new interns started their orientation this week.
I say this mostly because it means I am just a few short days away from no longer being “the intern.” This is fantastic news, mostly because it relieves me of the duty of explaining to non-medical people the vestigial and archaic distinction between an intern and a resident. Just so everyone (grandma) remembers:
I made that diagram. Aren’t you impressed?
As I wrote last week, I am on a surgical service, trauma, at the moment. And my day is governed by, and revolves around, poop.
It is astounding how much of my daily well-being on trauma is influenced by the ability of someone else to poop. I think about it literally all day. It is often the first question I ask patients in the morning and the last question I ask them before I go home. It sits on my constantly-growing, frequently changing TO DO list I carry with me as the only constant: “Check on BMs for Patients A, B, F, W, P.” Continue reading
My time at the VA intensive care unit has come to a close, and while I am currently enrolled in a class (name: “Medical Imaging and Anatomy,” actual name, “Nate Gives Absolutely No F*cks”), what I’m actually doing is just twiddling my thumbs until it’s time to match on Friday. Continue reading
Am I still a medical student? I am legitimately no longer sure.
In the last four weeks, I’ve flown to five different cities, taken a two-week family vacation to Japan, stayed in enough hotel rooms to bankrupt a minor consulting firm, and worn a suit enough to notice that I am clearly fatter than when I had it first tailored in 2012. Continue reading
Interview season is crazy and exhausting and fun and exhausting and AWESOME.
For those of you who are nonmedical, interview season is the fourth year winter when all other medical school responsibilities evaporate like a bottle of wine at a Thanksgiving dinner political discussion. No clinical responsibilities, easily avoidable committee responsibilities, sometimes cancel-able friend responsibilities.
If anyone asks you for something that you don’t want to do, you just say, “oh, sorry, I have an interview.” Continue reading