Category Archives: Life
I’ve been on toxicology for the past month, which basically involves sitting by a phone for 8 hours a day waiting for someone to call the poison center. Got maybe 3 calls a week… super exciting. A nice break though, but it’s back to the ED in two days, so should hopefully soon have some interesting things to write about. In the mean time, on the way to work today, the woman walking next to me suddenly belted out to no one in particular “HELL YEAH, BAKED MAC n’ CHEESE TOMORROW!” and then just kept on walking. Long live Thanksgiving.
Normally, I keep things on this blog to a somewhat medical themed topic. BUT, I WAS wearing scrubs when the below happened, so I’m going to allow it. Now I don’t consider myself to be the world’s greatest doctor, by any stretch, but I do believe myself to be one of the better parallel parkers out there. See exhibits A,B, and C below. I rest my case for being #1
…got me sick. I suppose I should have seen it coming. Working around sick kids all day, one is bound to get sick themselves. But damn, I have never been sick like this. Mid shift, my mouth went all dry and ten minutes later I’m in the bathroom erupting from both ends of the garden hose. Felt better for a short while after, but then things spiraled down and I was promptly sent home. I always ask my adults patients “Any fever or chills?” And you know what, every single person on the planet has had chills in the past 24 hours. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a patient say “you know what doc? as a matter of fact I have NOT had the chills”. But if you had had chills like this… you’d know better than to answer yes. I damn near collapsed in the parking lot I was shaking so bad. I think I scratched the paint job up on my car something fierce trying to get the key in the lock. It definitely didn’t help that it was 22 degrees outside, but this was WAY more than “brrrr, it’s cold out”, more like “MUUUSSST HAAAAVVVEE HEAT!!!!!!” as I am spewing ice chips from my 32oz cup all over the parking lot and inside of car as my whole arm stacattos back and forth. I felt lucky that I was able to make the 30 min drive home in one piece, my arms started going numb towards the end of it. Luckily I was slipped some Zofran on the way out of the ED, so I managed to avoid having to pull over mid drive. I more or less curbed the car and made Mrs ERJ park it for me as I just couldn’t make myself do it. The thought of searching for a parking spot seemed more daunting the having to climb Everest at the time. Double sweat suit and 3 blankets later, I was finally warm in bed, and now 48 hours later I am back to work and right as rain. But, I have new respect for the “Fever and ____ ” I was lamenting in my last post. Lesson learned.
I wonder what makes an abuser mean? Some dudes when they come in, and just pure dicks from head to toe. One guy actually tugged my sleeve as I walked by, looked up at me and said “I’m not a very nice person”. And then went on to prove it over the course of my shift. Other guys, actually get a rousing chorus of greetings when fire rescue bring them in as they are rather pleasant and jovial, perhaps even entertaining at times.
Yesterday we were sitting around the doctors station make sweeping generalizations about the shooting victims and assaults that come into the ED:
“I’m telling you, every guy who comes in here shot, he was sitting on his own front porch, minding his own business when it happened,”
“And every guy who comes in here after getting assaulted, was on his way to church when it happened”
We had a laugh at that, because it honestly feels like every guy says this, but now I finally have an idea why they might. Today, we had the pleasure of having one of our former GSW patients come in and talk to us during conference. And I can’t tell you how glad I was that he did because quite frankly, I had NO idea things were this bad, or what these guys are going through out there.
“You get chased and hunt down til’ you fall”
He was shot 3 times, his buddy seven. Both survived. But what got me more than the recounting of the shooting, was his every day life. Constantly, every single day, living in a state of hyper awareness, always looking over your shoulder for somebody trying to cut you down, because you slighted him, dissed his girl, whatever. You know they are coming for you sooner or later. Maybe that car rolling up, the door suddenly opening, everyone and anyone can be a threat. I commend the HBO series the Wire for doing good job of portraying the underlying systems plaguing these communities on a macroscopic level, but I had no idea it was this bad on a personal level. How could we expect anyone to actually survive growing up like this intact? Mentally or physically
“How am I supposed to imagine my life in 40 years?”
The thing is though, he didn’t care if he died. It was just accepted. That is, he didn’t care until he got out. This young man got help, the violence intervention that works through our ED got a hold of him and worked with him to turn his life around. But in a way, it’s almost worse now, because for the first time there is light at the end of the tunnel, he cares about living, but he still spends every day in fear, thinking they are coming for him, and they very well are. He has reason to fear too. His uncle was shot 17 times, and made it to the ED alive where they stabilized him. But he was later found in the bathroom of his hospital room, shot another 17 times. But the killers didn’t drag him into the bathroom to execute him out of sight, he was hiding in there, because he knew they were looking for him.
So, my eyes were widened today. I now have a better understanding why a victim of a shooting might not want to give us his home address, or his phone number, or doesn’t want anyone to know he is here. There ARE times when a victim is brought in and there ARE scary looking people hanging around the ambulance doors, trying to get a look into the trauma bays. Looking to see if he survived because they are friends, or looking to see if he died so they know the job is done.
I hope not.
But I have spent a little time looking at blogs written by other med students as they transition into intern year and their posting activity looks like it dropped to about two posts a month, on a good month. I hope that’s not the case as I do enjoy writing this blog and getting the occasional comment back (the majority of which being from my parents, thanks dad!, haha)
My first shift is this coming Saturday and I hope I don’t suddenly disappear after that point. I don’t intend to, but I also know better than to say “I’m going to post every single day” or something to that effect. It might be easier if I posted about patients, as the blogs that do that, never seem to have a shortage of material. But as I’ve stated before, I don’t want to go down that path if I can help it, unless it’s in the introspective or “Hey, lets all learn about condition x” sort of way.
So we’ll see what happens I guess and hope for the best. I guess posts will become shorter and more focused, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. If nothing else, there is no shortage of funny stuff out there on the net to reblog. Sweet.
There is so much talk as of late, about end of life care, the cost associated with it, the loss of dignity associated with a team pounding on your chest trying to save you when you are 92 years old. But I haven’t heard much these days about assisted suicide. Perhaps better phrased as assisted dying, at least in mind mind. It’s been at least before medical school that I heard anyone talking about this issue, maybe not since the days of Jack Kevorkian. I wonder why not? If you watch this video, with the description included below, maybe you’ll wonder, like I did, why is this not allowed? What is so bad about this? Why are people not permitted to die with dignity, on their own terms, after living a full and fruitful life, surrounded by those they love?
Peter – a lovely, brave, old-fashioned man who has a splendid wine cellar and used to drive sports cars and fly aeroplanes – has motor neurone disease. “It’s a beastly, undignified business,” he says, Britishly. Soon he’ll go to Dignitas in Switzerland to die. Terry, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is thinking about assisted dying too.
Today is my last day of vacation, and while walking through the park today I ran into a friend who is a new MS3. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked her how her step 1 had gone, and she told me that she ended up taking it 10 days earlier than she had initially planned. I thought that she must have done this because I know she is super smart and thought she was probably ready ahead of schedule. But that was not the reason. It turns out her dad is on hospice and she just wanted to have the exam done so she could use this time before third year starts to spend time with her family. I just made me wonder what it must be like to be in her shoes right now. You are getting all this great medical training, but you, or the people you are trying to be like, can’t do anything to help the person that is most close to you. It must be tough.