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19 May 2010

A Room at the Inn

So I've spent the last several days in Washington D.C. at a Leadership and Advocacy Conference.  Instead of spending my non-existent resident salary money on the fancy conference hotel, I stayed at the Kalorama Guest House in Woodley Park.  Now, granted I had to share a bathroom on my floor, and I was on the top-most floor with no elevator, it was very much worth the value.

As I was packing my bag this morning, I started to think about all of the hotel and inn rooms I have stayed in my life.  Now, overnights don't really count.  But, when you've stayed in a room for several days, it becomes like home.  You know which pillow is the firmest, how to set the air vents, even the creaks and moans become familiar.  I often find myself a little melancholic just before I leave;  as I look around one more time making sure I didn't forget anything.

Rooms have a life of their own.  They all have tales of life and death.  They are where new life begins and where life sometimes ends.  They see happy families, tired business travelers, passersby, and evicted spouses.  By our hospital, I am sure the hotel sees expectant families, worried spouses, excited and anxious interviewees, and hopeful patients.  There are a thousand tales a hotel room could tell.

Of course, one of my friends told me that the hotel where our conference was held is haunted.  So there's another set of stories that could be told.  Be sure, though, considering the guest house where I stayed was built in the late 1800's, I left an extra light on... just in case.

15 May 2010

A Week of Nights

photo.php.jpgSo for the last two weeks, I have been looking forward to a leadership conference that I will be attending in Washington D.C. this week.  To make up for the fact that I would be gone for about 6 days during a non-vacation month, I had to squeeze in my required shifts into the rest of the time.  So, I just ended a string of 6 nights in a row.

Now, a 72 hour week is nothing compared to the sometimes 120 hour weeks I'd put in as a surgery resident. However, the last time I did something like that was over 3 years ago, so I was a little rusty.  Suffice it to say, there were a lot of patients seen during that time....

 - the "newlyweds" who came in concerned that an infection on one had spread to the other... it hadn't, but I was more concerned about the fact one of them had Hepatitis C.  Now, that's something that you don't want to be sharing...

 - why are the nicest patients always the sickest?  I had the status-post bone marrow transplant for leukemia who came in with a pulmonary embolism.  He and his wife were the nicest people.  She kept track of every doctor's appointment, lab result, medication schedule, and he showed an inward strength I can't begin to imagine.

 - on the opposite spectrum, I saw my share of 10 out of 10 abdominal/chest/back/etc. pains who are "allergic to everything except that di, dil, daldid, something d stuff.  Of course their pain is always something non-specific with random symptoms, and they have to have the full work-up and treatment... I did say "seriously?" once or twice as several I knew had multiple ED visits came in crying and writhing on the bed.  They just stopped for a second and said, "Well, maybe it's a 7 or 8.."

 - moving someone from the ambulance gurney to the hospital bed and seeing brains is never a good sign

 - I actually admitted a 10 year old for "severe constipation"... come on, parents, more leafy greens and water and less processed chicken nuggets and colas... make your kids run around instead of sitting in front of the Playstation... I can't tell you how many "rule out appendicitis" kids I see that turn out to be constipation

 - some things come in pairs:  I had a Martin and a Marvin both come in with the same wrist fracture on opposite arms, one from roller skating and one from skate boarding on the same night... wierd

 - we are not fast food, you can't come in, pick what you want off a menu and then leave if you don't want to finish your meal... also, if you're crying and writhing in the hallway and you've been waiting about an hour, I am still going to bypass you for the little old lady who's turning blue who just came in the door... keep screaming, I'm going to be just a little busy saving a life across the hallway

 - some people are crazy, literally.  I always wondered about mental illness.  I had to do an evaluation on a paranoid schizophrenic...  it was something like the scene in "Patch Adams" where Robin Williams fights the squirrels with his roommate... yeah, something like that...

Ok, I think I touched on the highlights.  I'll be blogging from the conference this week, so stay tuned!