Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Perfect Day

The orthopod I shadowed last summer used to bellow quite frequently, "A day without blood is a day without happiness". He loved his job and approached each of his cases with the excitement and wonder of a 7 year old boy who has just received a new Lego set. I used to think the saying was funny, if not a little crass. But I have to admit, I am starting to get it.

The days that I get to scrub-in for procedures always seem a little surreal and sparkly. It's odd maybe, but I love the ritual of scrubbing, gowning and gloving. I like staring at the angular instruments all laid out in precise order, the hum of the anesthetists buzzing around the patient at the beginning of the ritual, the bleeps from the cardiac monitor. I like having only my eyes, voice, and hands free to convey a message...the rest of my body covered up by various layers of protection. It's strange that I enjoy this controlled, anal-retentive world, because I also love being swept up in the unpredictable and ever-changing currents of the emergency department. Maybe I need to accept the fact that I will forever be a woman who likes extremes in medicine.

So yesterday I had the chance to spend the morning in theater, being a 1st assist on several circumcisions. It probably sounds banal to most people but at this stage it is all a new, fun, and nearly vertical learning curve.

In the afternoon I did histories and physical exams on some of our patients, and then went to the A & E to see a surgical consult who was a query appendicitis. I am always amused by the similarities between emergency departments in completely different countries. The controlled chaos, harried staff, complaining waiting room patients, limited stretcher space, tiny nursing stations, paramedics waiting to unload feels like home, even on the other side of the Atlantic.

It felt like a good day. I had no idea how good it was going to get!

There is a rather large Rose of Tralee festival (in Tralee, obviously) every year. It is sort of like a beauty pageant without the really dumb contestants and bikini portion of the show. Anyway, one of our classmates has a friend who is visiting for a few days from Canadia so we decided to do the touristy thing and check the scene out.

And what a scene it was.

We ended up in this old pub called Sean Og's (or something similar) with a large table right near the front. The place was bursting at the seams, mostly filled with 50-70 year old Irishmen. A few of us youngsters (heh) were enjoying the scene as well. Shortly after we arrived, a middle aged man with gelled hair and velcro shoes walked in, plugged his guitar into a sound system on the tiny stage (which also sat a large table of retired Irish tourists from Dublin) and proceeded to rock the joint for the next 4 hours.

There were several times throughout the night when all I could do was stare in wonder around the pub, full of people with glasses raised, singing in unison to everything from party songs like Galway Girl and Whiskey in the Jar, to traditional folk numbers such as The Fields of Athenry, peppy tunes like Las Vegas (The Hills of Donegal) and classic sing-a-longs like The Gambler and The Boxer. It was gritty Guinness-swilling-liberation song-singing at its finest. The one man band was killer, barely pausing at all between songs. At one point I was pulled up on stage by a geriatric Irishman to jive. Hands-down one of the best pub nights I've had in Ireland. My facial muscles actually started getting sore by the end of the night from smiling and laughing so much.

Oh Ireland. Sometimes I really do love you.


Grumpy, M.D. said...

The Boxer (if you mean S & G) is one of my favorite songs ever.

Anonymous said...

You sure know how to make me miss Ireland...and my social life.

Lucky Jack said...

I want to go to there.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, I'd argue surgery can be just as chaotic and hectic as ER. Sure, there's the ritualistic scrubbing/prepping etc, but once you start the surgery, you have no idea what you're going to find. In that way, surgery can be very chaotic.

Keet said...

What kind of Male Genital Mutilations were you doing?

Elective? Paediatric? Medically (ahem) necessary?

Sounds fascinating - and challenging. I know I would never enjoy theatre, but its great to hear you are enjoying it, and the pub!