Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


Smart Voices

While talking to a very amicable, pleasant schizophrenic man today:

Him: The voices in my head, they tell me all sorts of things.

Me: Like what?

Him: Don't eat raw bacon.

Me:  ... smart voices!


Anecdotes: OB/GYN

I loved OB/GYN while I was doing it, but after the fact, realized that I had completely given up my life. I hadn't folded my laundry in 6 weeks†, hadn't spent time with my family or friends, made my bed, etc. Which brings me to my story...

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Physicians often ask to be called in when a woman is dilated to 8 centimeters (delivery occurs at 10cm) so they can be present for the birth. Women who've had multiple births often deliver within minutes - or seconds - after hitting 8 though, so usually it's a moot point.

One night in particular I vividly remember calling a doctor about his patient at 3:15 AM, only to have her deliver 2 minutes later. I called him back, because I knew he lived half an hour away. He decided he may as well still come... just to shake her hand. He showed up at 4AM and drove back home a short time after. I'm sure he went to work at 7 as well, because he was a hospital doc.

I've told this story to a few classmates and a few non-meddies. Most people think it's an awesome, touching story. "What dedication!", they cry. "How he must care for his patients!" Personally, I just try to imagine what his wife and kids think. I don't know about everyone else out there, but I refuse to destroy my personal life. Maybe I'm too selfish... your thoughts?

†what else is new?

Filed under: Anecdotes, Medicine 8 Comments

Anecdotes: Psychiatry

Next up: psych. I'm not sure I have a single defining story yet, so we'll just use this little tidbit in the meantime. I'll come back to this one by the end of the rotation in a month.


One of the things I really enjoy about psychiatry is that you get to be rather... expressive while writing notes, which gets to be a lot of fun. You're supposed to be as descriptive as possible; capturing someone's mood and psychiatric progress goes far beyond single word descriptors as can be done in the rest of medicine. My writeup of a patient at one point contained this gem.

Currently, we cannot tell if this patient's particular affect is due to residual schizophrenia, or if it is due to his long and often colorful past history of psychoactive drug use, including being breast fed "raw alcohol from my mother's tits", at least 100 LSD trips since the age of 13, and "so many shrooms, it would blow your mind".

Of note, this is now a legitimate entry in his permanent medical record.


Filed under: Anecdotes, Medicine 5 Comments

Anecdotes: General Surgery

3rd year is fascinating... I don't think I can say it enough times. Being exposed to all the different fields of medicine is like seeing little shattered fragments of humanity - each field attracts a certain "type". I've realized that that each specialty can be summed up by one defining moment. Today, we start with my first rotation...

General Surgery

I love to eat. In fact, if you had to ask me what my hobbies were, I would probably put "cooking" as #1, followed by "eating my own cooking" at #2 and "wishing I hadn't eaten my own cooking" at a close third†. Point is, I really enjoy eating. It's almost a spiritual experience for me; so when food becomes nothing more than sustenance I start getting a little upset.

Now, as a third year med student, you become quite the chameleon, mimicking everything your higher-ups do. This particular day I was following the same surgeon who was involved in the sanitizer debacle. We had 5 minutes between cases (sound familiar?), so he decided we'd go grab some lunch.

He sprints up to the doctors' lounge and grabs a turkey sangwich, throws away the top piece of bread, and folds the whole thing in half. This wasn't no wussy sandwich either... there was about half a turkey on this thing. Three of these babies and we coulda held Thanksgiving for the entire state of Vermont. I followed suit with the folding.

The doc proceeds to stuff the sandwich in his mouth like those freakish pythons you always see eating crocodiles on nature shows. I swear he unhinged his jaw. Somewhere, Steve Irwin shifted in his grave. I tried to do the same and failed miserably.

Now, this is a problem. We were running back to the OR, which, of course, is sterile - which means I need a mask, hat, and no sandwich once I get there. I'm still gagging down the remains of Gobbles the Turkey, and my surgeon shows no signs of slowing.

I finally made the executive decision to stuff the entire sandwich in my mouth and put the mask on over my face, thusly 1) becoming sterile and 2) giving my freakishly bloated cheeks added support. As there was no way I could chew, the sandwich slowly digested in my mouth.

What I learned: Surgeons, like snakes, are not human.

†It involved raw chicken, uncooked eggs, and a very ill-advised attempt at "American Style Sushi" ††

††Anybody who wants to come, I'm throwing a dinner party at our house on Saturday. You're all invited... just say the blog sent you.