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27 June 2010

Are You Ready for the Summer?

Every year at this time I write about how now is the worst time to go to the Hospital... in 2008 and my old blog I talked about how a month ago the new doctors were medical students and now they are interns responsible for patient care.  Last year I wrote in an almost stream of consciousness about my first two shifts as a Senior Resident.  Now, I am 77% done with my senior year, and I am starting a new medical year as a resident and will finish it as an attending.

I've been kind of depressed thinking about all of my colleagues that have scattered to different parts of the country ready to begin their new lives as junior attendings.  It almost feels like I am stuck here watching everyone else move on ahead of me.  However, this time it's different.  In just a few short months I will be there too.  This month, I have 16 shifts in the E.D., then I have a month of glorious hell as Dr. Bennett's resident in neurosurgery, and then 11 short shifts the final month until I finish my residency.

It's hard to believe that three short years ago I was looking at a notice of an opening in Buffalo, NY.  I had to look at a map to even know where Buffalo was located.  When I got the call asking about my interest in coming here for residency, I had to consider the fact I was joining an established group of interns who had been working together for the prior 3 months.

I knew what it was like being an intern having gone through my surgical internship in Chicago.  You're like a bunch of scared puppies thrown out into the world together.  You huddle together for warmth.  You encourage each other along the way.  You live under the thumb of the attendings and the senior residents yet they are the very people you seek approval and reassurance from constantly.  You grow together, you play together, you learn together.

Tomorrow,  I start my new year on-call with Mercy Flight.  I will miss the first day jitters as a new set of junior residents suddenly take on the responsibility of being senior residents for the first time.  The interns are becoming junior residents.  And, a whole brand new group of medical students will become interns.  And, this is happening everywhere across the country.

So be careful out there... a new generation of doctors will be getting their feet wet over the next 2 months.  They don't know yet if they will sink or swim...

I love the movie "Meatballs." It always means summer to me... not to mention I was in love with Chris Makepeace as a teen... enjoy!

20 June 2010

Night Flight

After several negotiations, we (emergency medicine residents) have been allowed to fly again with Mercy Flight.  Without going into detail, it had to do with who was covering our insurance while we were providing medical direction up in the air.  I went on my second flight this last Friday, and for the first time we flew at night.

We went on two runs... both for falls from about 15 - 20 feet.  One was from a zip line from a two story barn down to a tree.  The other was from the top of a bleacher stand at the local speedway.  Both involved kids... one nineteen, one four.  The nineteen year old didn't seem to have any apparent injuries, and the four year old had an obviously broken leg.  Both were very stoic in flight.  Both I am sure will do well.

I am excited to be back up in the air.  You never know what that next call is going to be....

17 June 2010

Bittersweet Symphony

Congratulations to the Emergency Medicine
Class of 2010

On Tuesday my colleagues and I celebrated the completion of our three years of residency training.  It was bittersweet on so many levels.  I started "off cycle" so I will be staying to finish my last three months while the rest of my colleagues leave to begin their new careers.  I will miss them. 

For the last 3 years, twelve of us have gone through the same experiences.  Been taught by the same instructors.  Dealt with a lot of the same patients.  We can tell you which colleagues in different specialties we love and hate.  We can tell you which hospitals have the best off-service specialties, the best nurses, even the best food.

Three years passed by quickly, and I am sure the next three months will pass even sooner.  If you've notice my countdown calendar, I am 74% done as of today, and there are 93 days left.

I say "good luck" to my colleagues... I'll be joining you amoungst the ranks of "new attending" very soon.  But, until then, I'll continue to write on this blog while I finish out the last leg of my journey.  The end is in sight!

02 June 2010

My Own Purrsonal Doctor...

Winston is my male cat.  Over the years I think he has somehow gleaned some medical knowledge from me.  I was thinking about it this morning as he used the AVPU system to assess my level of consciousness.  I know it's a "get up and fill the food bowl" thing for him.  But, still... eerie.
First he noted that I was not Alert.  So, he then assessed whether I would respond to Voice. When his meowings did not lead to the desired response ( I was actually awake at the first meow but refused to play his game) he then came up and butted his head gently across my elbow which was laying close to the edge of the bed.  Still not response to soft touch so he implemented Painful stimuli by biting my elbow.  
This, of course led to my sitting up and yelling at him to get out of the room.  Always the unflustered professional and mission accomplished, he raised his tail and walked out of the door.   I shudder to think of what he might do if I was really Unresponsive....