Friday, September 30, 2011


Well my first official hospital rotation has come to a close.

Today was my last day on the surgical team and I found myself staring off into space more than once, feeling genuinely sad. It seems like the last 9 weeks screamed by at break-neck-running-behind-my-consultant-speed. The thought of starting on a new team is a little daunting. I feel as though I just figured out my true place with this team, and that I was starting to habituate to their rhythm.

The apple crumble made big waves, the pan licked clean before the end of 1st tea break. The nurses and porters seemed genuinely shocked that I baked for them and many approached me to say thanks, or "fair play to you" which is the Irish equivalent to something like, "well done" . The porters also pretended to have food poisoning all afternoon (yes, pretended) and one proposed marriage.

When the last stitch was thrown in the belly I didn't know if I should shake M.C's hand in a formal manner, or make some cheeky comment (more my style) I just had my chlorhexidine shower (as per MRSA case protocol) and went to the gym.

I was happy to hear nothing but silence when I arrived home. The alarm people had to come and tear everything apart because the thing was completely haywire. I think I am going to start calling the alarm system, Hal, from now on. I was able to un-tape my memory foam pillow and yoga blanket from the wall (dampers) and make dinner without earplugs in, which was a pleasure.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt to review some medicine-y things. Like the heart. And probably the lungs. Look up Na+ levels and try to remember what exactly this condition known as diabetes is, which has come to mean only really really bad leg ulcers in my mind.

And so, I begrudgingly shelved my Surgery at a Glance, Surgical Recall, and my Physical Signs for Clinical Surgery and ordered The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine.

Speaking of clinical surgery...if you haven't watched this TEDtalk by Abraham Verghese, please go make yourself a cup of tea and spend the next 18 minutes watching an extraordinary author and surgeon discuss the lost art of physical assessment. It is another typically awe-inspiring TEDtalk.

It is late so I'll close with a quote by Yeats, cited in Verghese's book, Cutting for Stone, 

The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work, 
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark. 


Nature Nerd said...

Well thank god your alarm is off. I was getting irritated all the way over in Canada-land just knowing it was continuously beeping. And congrats on finishing your surgery rotation, even though it comes with some sadness.

Solitary Diner (Also Known as The Frugalish Physician) said...

Unfortunately, medicine is a lot of getting used to one rotation and then moving on to another rotation. It gets easier with time, but there's always a sense of loss when you leave a good rotation. I hope you find medicine at least partly as exciting as you found surgery. Glad to hear that you finally got the alarm problem sorted out.

OMDG said...

You might be one of those students who likes everything... just so you know. Medicine can be pretty awesome too. Mostly it depends on your team.

Anonymous said...

Medicine is exactly what you make of it. If you go in there expecting to see a bunch of "failure to cope" and quibbling over potassium levels, then that's what you're going to get. If you go in with the attitude of trying to really master the physiology and pathology of a variety of different organ systems, then I think you can get a lot more out of it.

Besides, if you ace medicine, then you'd be that surgeon who also knows a ton of medicine (every hospital has that surgeon, and they're always the coolest one).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on finishing surgery - although as usual, Not House said it better, there is fun to be had in medicine if you can find it.