I have been on surgery for one week today. Already, I am tired.
Last Thursday, I woke at 3 am. I read and drank coffee and wrote a bit and left for the hospital at 5. I saw my patients and wrote my notes and helped change a wound vac before clinic began at 7:30. At the hospital I’m at we spend Tuesday and Thursday in the clinics: on Thursday, we start with proctology, then do general surgery, then vascular. I cut open a couple of abscesses, which was the day’s saving grace in an otherwise rather boring string of cases. I was not made to spend my days in the clinic.
After clinic I got in my car and headed downtown to a different hospital for call. My hospital is considered a little too uneventful for students to take call there, so we are assigned to different hospitals overnight. I find my buddy, a med student that is there for days as well so he can serve as my guide. We spend some time in the lounge before the the intern we are assigned to gets his first call, and we go: we try to talk a patient out of leaving against medical advice and we insert a central venous catheter and an arterial line in a patient in the ICU. We take a dinner break then come back to the lounge, where I do a little bit of reading before we settle into the armchairs in the lounge to watch the Office. Within a few minutes we are all drifting off to sleep until the intern gets paged. We go and insert a chest tube, then report to the ER where we insert a femoral line, starting over at one point because the patient vomits blood on our sterile field. Oops.
We get consulted on a new patient with an incarcerated hernia, so we go and see him, only to learn that the hernia is not quite incarcerated after all, as we can shove it back in. At this point it is about time to begin pre-rounds, and generally I could be sent home since I don’t have patients at this hospital. But today we have Grand Rounds so I have to stick around, so I tag along behind the intern as he pre-rounds.
I spend Grand Rounds fighting so hard to stay awake, but failing most of the time. Finally I am released, not being required to stay for the next two conferences since I am post call. I head home and go on a quick breakfast date with my husband before collapsing into bed and not fully regaining consciousness for a day and a half.
That was Friday. Today is Monday, and tonight, I am on call.