|It's a lonely job when things don't go well.|
I cannot say that my work this week, at least thus far, has been especially uplifting for me personally. It's educational, certainly. Learning experiences abound in this aspect of my training. Cardiac surgery, however, is not now, nor will it ever be my choice of course of study or work.
We all need to be exposed the very basics in every field of medicine to make intelligent choices as to our specialties. Furthermore, somewhere way down the road, I may be in a position where circumstances are so very dire that I'm the most qualified person to assist in a cardiac procedure. God help the patient if such is ever indeed the case. I am in my current rotation for a very good reason. I need to learn everything I possibly can from it and I need to put into it everything that I have to give. That does not mean I have to like it. Fortunately for me, because of a glitch in my scheduling, I'm here for only one week instead of the customary two. It may work out that I will put in an extra week in cardiac surgery next year. On the other hand, it may not work out that way. However it works out, I'll live with it.
Next week I'll have an unusual opportunity. My pseudouncle is visiting the hospital where I'm currently working in order to perform a thoracic procedure as a guest physician. The technique he'll be using is one that has yet to have been performed here in the hospital at which I'm currently assigned. He requested that I be allowed to scrub in for the procedure, and his request has been granted. I won't miss much in the way of my regular duties, as I am assigned to outpatient pediatrics for the next two weeks. The surgical procedure is set to begin at 5:30 a.m. If we're lucky, it will conclude by 10:30 a.m. I'll then change out of my surgical clothing, scrub out, and rush to the site of my assignment, without, I hope, having missed out on anything too exciting. I do not wish to start off on poor footing with my next supervising physician.
Today was an especially rough day for more reasons than just one. We had a couple of myocardial infarction patients who were operated on as last-ditch efforts. The odds were against the patients, and the odds both times worked out the way odds are supposed to work. I was warned in both cases by the interns that the surgeries were long shots at best, but it's still hard to see that in real life, things don't have as many happy outcomes as they do on TV and in movies. I stood far back. There was nothing I could do, and no one needed me in his or her way. I did hug the son of the deceased afterward just because he looked so forlorn and it seemed the natural thing to do. I had a few tears running down my cheeks, but I wasn't blubbering, which would not have been appropriate, as I didn't even know the lady. The attending physician said that showing compassion toward family members is a good thing, and that minor emotional displays are even OK.
I worked sick today. It was determined that my illness was a manifestation of colitis and not of anything contagious, and so I was told to remain at work. I knew when I signed on for the program that working sick would occasionally be a part of the experience. I had to leave the surgical suites in the midst of two procedures. My superiors knew this was a possibility, and I was given the green light to exit whenever it was imperative that I do so. The surgeon allowed me use his private bathroom attached to his personal office. I'd still much rather experience the barfing and other stuff that accompanies colitis in my own bathroom at home, but I was at least not stuck on the floor of a stall in a public restroom with God knows whom walking in and out of the stalls on either side. I borrowed cleaning supplies and gave the surgeon's private space a thorough detoxification after befouling it.
All things considered, if every day turned out the way today did, I would probably quit medical school and become a 900-number psychic, but chances are that not every day will be as depressing as today was. The sun'll come out tomorrow. You know the rest of the song, so I don't need to spout anymore bullshit for your benefit.