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26 July 2009

Sophomore Stories

I thought I would take my time tonight and post some comments on my second year of residency. Last year I wrote a post on my original blog "Do They Have Squirrels in Buffalo?" wrapping up my first year. So here we go through the second year:

Essentially, I started off my second year in July as an "unofficial, but acting in the capacity of" second year. Since I was hired late in the medical year, I still owed another month of internship. But, in essence I was acting as a second year. I spent the majority of the month getting ready for all the activities of second year, such as taking ATLS (advance trauma life support), a base station course (where we learn to give medical direction to EMS providers, learning about Mercy Flight, and learning to drive real fast in our SMART (specialized medical assistance team) vehicles, while at the same time dealing with summertime pediatric dramas. Oh, and I became a vegetarian "For the Animals!" in a 30 day pledge.

The next month I was on my EMS (Emergency Medical Services) rotation. I spent my time with firefighters, doing several runs with the EMT supervisors, and I got to fly in a helicopter for the first time with Mercy Flight. The other part of this rotation is being the resident for the local Poison Control Center. Whenever there's a drug overdose, we get called. We then call our attending who guides us through the correct treatment for all the drug overdoses we're going to face as E.D. physicians. It's learning through experience.

The next month had me reliving life as a surgical resident. During your second year of surgery, you spend a great deal of time in the ICU. Emergency medicine residents spend a month in the trauma ICU at ECMC. It was fun going back to the pimping, and the early morning rounds. I really enjoy the ICU and had for a time considered a fellowship (an extra time after residency for more advanced training) in critical care. But, I think by the end of the month, I really did look forward to getting back to the E.D. and did not regret my change in careers at all.

The next month was spent learning about ophthalmology, dentistry and radiology. Mornings were spent with the dentists learning to provide anesthesia to the mouth, and afternoons were spent looking in people's eyes. Not a very exciting month, but a nice 9 - 5 kind of month with weekends off and no call. I did get to work a Buffalo Bills' game providing medical support to the fans in one of the clinics at the stadium, so not an overall bad month.

Of course, October is when we made the move from J-land to, for the most part, Blogger. I had been chosen as the representative to the national residency organization (EMRA), and I was able to attend my first national conference back in my old stomping grounds of Chicago. I then spent the next month working at one of the suburban hospitals in the area. I learned a lot, and I got a new pair of shoes!

My next rotation took me back to the drama that is ECMC. I know I have mentioned several times that most of us really enjoy our rotations there. The system is a lot easier to deal with, and the patients are a lot less medically critical. So, let's see, what happened...? Thanksgiving came and went. I continued to be a vegetarian. I worked 5 days straight and had some interesting tales to tell. I went home to California for an early holiday.

I then did the "Swing Month" which is not as exciting as it sounds. Basically, we split our time between ECMC and Buffalo General. I spent 15 of my shifts at ECMC and 2 shifts at Buffalo General. Sounds about evenly split. Oh, yeah, and snow came to Buffalo and started the winter off with a bang. Christmas came and went, and I made you all take the Resolutions for New Year's Oath.

I then started my official second year rotation at the Children's Hospital and tried the best that I could not to catch the RSV and other bugs children were flocking to the E.D. with at the time. I failed miserably and took it into my next rotation in the Pediatric ICU where I spent a great deal of time writing notes, and not so much time doing anything else.

Of course, I must take a moment to remember the 50 who died when Flight 3407 crashed on final approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. I was on scene as a member of SMART providing support for the workers who had the dangerous task of removing the wreckage as others worked to collect their remains.

My husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary at a great little B&B in Pennsylvania near Gettysburg. We then spent the next couple of days exploring the battlefields (mostly on the Confederate side since my hubby is a Son of the South), followed by a trip to Lancaster where my interest in quilting began to develop. Who knew it would blossom into a new hobby?

I finished my rotation at Buffalo General and spent my vacation that month in Florida visiting the Everglades and the Florida Keys. A very nice way to take a break from things medical which was good because my next two months were going to be purely hellishish.

The Ortho Service: two months of pure immersion into orthopedic surgery. You spend two weeks on the Hand Service working in the clinic and going to the O.R. Then you spend five days on the service, take a 24 hour call, and then another 5 days on the service. After that marathon 2 weeks you flip over to nights and become a vampire for a month.
I learned to set a lot of broken bones, and I learned to sew a lot of messed up hands and feet. I learned how to complete an amputation. I did get to go to the second national conference in New Orleans which broke up the month very nicely. And, I was already used to staying up during the night which played into the festivities nicely.

My final month was spent as an elective in the Medical Examiner's office, and I have shared a lot of the tales and stories which were encountered during my month there. It was a light relaxing month, and I even had time to do some additional ride along time with Buffalo's Finest on Rescue 1, and to provide back-up in the SMART car.

Wow, what a year. This year, I will spend 90% of my time in the emergency departments of Buffalo General, ECMC, and Women and Children's hospitals. I do have spend one more month, a "make up month" which is a carry over from my second year at the suburban hospital again. I'll be looking for a real job this first part of the year. By the time 2010 begins, I will be looking forward to my graduation, my new job, and a new and exciting chapter in my life... Hope we all make it there together, and thanks for being here for the journey!


Julie said...

Its been a busy 2 years for you. The great thing about a blog or journal is being able to look back and see where you were and where you are now. Memories.

a corgi said...

bet you are excited to be moving on with looking for a job and where that will take you! You've come a long way Veronica!!! looking forward to reading more as you continue on with your career


Claudia's thoughts said...

I was exhausted just reading about it.

Lisa said...

You surely have had an eventful few years and it looks like you have covered all the bases. I can't imagine learning each of those specialized areas. Sounds overwhelming to me. I wish you all the luck in your next chapter. I have no doubt you will succeed in whatever you do.