Thursday Born

The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for August 2011

Keep on keeping on

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I’m finishing my 10th week of surgery rotations today, so just 2 more weeks of surgery to go! It’s been hectic, especially during Colorectal surgery, but ENT has been better. I’m a little appalled by how much I like ENT. Really hoping I fall in love with a less competitive specialty.

Other than 70+ hour work weeks, things that make me unlikely to post in my blog include moving to a new apartment two weeks after starting to consider moving. Pictures of the new place once it’s a bit more set up!

And on the list of things that make my days better: the scrub jackets that the nurses wear. I learned where they are during my Spine Surgery rotation and they’ve been a blessing during the numerous ENT surgeries I don’t get to scrub into. I get cold really easily. Still cold in these jackets but at least I’m not shivering for hours!

I never thought I’d take this many pictures of myself in bathrooms but… well, it’s easier with a mirror and bathrooms tend to have mirrors. I need to figure out how to set my phone to take pictures with a button instead of tapping the screen.


Written by Aba

August 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Small Comforts

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Working 12-14hr days (13.5hrs most of the time) really takes a lot out of you. Things that make my days a little brighter include knowing where the free, fancy coffee machines are. I try not to drink caffeine except for when I’m truly, utterly exhausted, or when it’s a social tagging along with other people getting coffee thing. Much to my delight, it turns out that at least one of machines make delicious hot chocolate (and at least one of them makes only tolerable hot chocolate). So at 3:20pm today, I got a tasty treat to stave off the chilly hospital climate for a few moments.

There are scissors and forceps all over the place. They’re usually clean and unused though.

My life’s in a bit of flux right now. So much I want to post about, but I need to pack. Because with all this non-existent free time I have, it’s the perfect time to move to a new apartment, right? Right…? =D Thankfully, I have friends around to help, and my boyfriend will be in town this weekend!, which is when I’m moving, so hopefully it won’t be nearly as stressful as all the other times I’ve moved in the past ten years.

Written by Aba

August 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Adventures With Laparoscopy

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Friday morning. Post call. Maybe four hours of sleep? Not sure yet if I’m going head down to the OR to watch a surgery before I’m supposed to leave by noon, being post-call and all. Rounds finally over, Intern gets a call asking for someone to go scrub into a surgery to drive the laparoscopic camera. Everyone with legit responsibility is busy figuring out why one of our patients has an Oxygen saturation of 50% (this is bad) so I get sent down. Never driven the camera before but I figure, hey, it’s good to try new things, and this is a routine procedure that’s supposed to be done by 11:30am. I hadn’t eaten since 9pm the night before, but eh, I’m not all that hungry now and this won’t take long.

Ah, how wrong I was.

It was stressful enough struggling to figure out how to use the camera on the fly. We’d had a workshop teaching us how to use them, but this was a different model, or I hadn’t paid enough attention, and I couldn’t figure out how best to hold it and it took me a while to get used to using the levers to look up, down, left and right instead of always moving the entire thing. So I’m trying, the doctor keeps correcting me verbally, and also by sharply taking over the camera.

And then we see blood. I mean, we were seeing blood before. We were inside the patient’s abdomen, bloated with carbon dioxide so we had room to work in, and we were cutting free his bowels that had fused all over the place due to his chronic disease. But no, we were seeing a lot of blood. Flowing blood. Not the slow welling up of blood when you cut a minor vessel, and not quite the torrential gushing of cutting a major vessel, but it was steady and rapid and while no one panicked, it was clear that this was a Problem.

My parents came to visit this weekend (which was wonderful, btw!), and we went out to dinner with a few of my friends. At some point it came up how I was a calm, easy baby, and my friends mentioned that they call me zen and wise because of how mellow I am.

And so I didn’t visibly freak out. I didn’t panic and ask for someone else to take over the camera, not that there was anyone else anyway. I suppose the circulating nurse could have scrubbed in and stepped in for me, but I would have needed to keep my cool until they were ready, because every second was important. Inside my mind was screaming with frantic thoughts. Was it my fault? Was I driving the camera so badly that they couldn’t see a vessel and cut it? What if I’m doing a bad job right now and wasting time so they can’t find the vessel and clamp it off? I desperately wanted them to switch the surgery from laparascopic to open, but they hadn’t thought they’d need any blood and they would if they switched to open, and the blood they’d called for as soon as this happened hadn’t arrived yet.

I don’t know how long this went on for. At least twenty minutes. Perhaps a half hour. Maybe longer. I kept driving the camera for fifteen more minutes until one of the other residents showed up and asked me if I wanted a break. My “Yes!” was perhaps a bit too desperate and enthusiastic.

They told me I did a great job for my first time. And that considering what happened, I’d done an excellent job. I’m not sure it was obvious, given the mask I was wearing, that even as I was laughing and saying that I was fine and didn’t take the harsh commands and reprimands personally, I was holding back tears. Tears of relief? Tears from the stress? I’m not sure. I kept them away successfully.

The adrenaline eventually subsided, and I stayed through till the end of the surgery, even though it ended past 2pm. I had come after they’d already started, so I hadn’t seen the patient yet as a person, only as draped body with  a square foot of disinfected skin exposed to my eyes. I saw inside him, saw through him in ways I hope I never get to see through my loved ones, before I got to see his face, and two days before I got to see him properly awake and alert on rounds Sunday morning.

It’s my bedtime now, so I apologize for not editing this, but I wanted to make sure I write about it before it fades.

Written by Aba

August 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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