Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


Pretty B.A.

I'm not much of one to brag†, but today I feel justified. In the last 24 hours, I've felt like a total badass 3 separate times. Our internal medicine team was on call yesterday, which meant that we dealt with all the patients who coded overnight, and admitted anybody who needed to go to the ICU.

Badass Moment #1

Code pager on my belt, I sat down to lunch with my fellow med students. As we're chatting, the overhead paging system begins calling the code team to the MRI machine... someone has stopped breathing in the scanner. With perfect, steely-eyed reserve and a battle-hardened set to my jaw††, I muttered "shit", threw down my fork, and sprinted out of the room.

My white coat flowing behind me and my hair waving in the breeze, I ran through the halls; patients, nurses, techs, and doctors alike throwing me high-fives and looks of approval. The chief of cardiology himself nodded as I flew by him, as if to acknowledge the importance of my mission. Get there fast, save a life. Just another day... no need to thank me, ma'am, it's my job†††.

Badass Moment #2

One of my patients was admitted to the ICU for worsening pneumonia, and had to be intubated because he could no longer breathe. Because of his tenuous hold on life, we decided to get an arterial line and a central (venous) line for better access. My residents on this rotation are awesome, and told me I could try placing the arterial line. Now, this was my first time, but I felt for the pulse in his wrist, sterilized the site... and then hit the artery on my first try. My residents both grinned and gave me the thumbs-up.

Badass Moment #3

My crazy lady was admitted for electrolyte imbalances. She has been ingesting nothing but bottles and bottles of mountain dew for a week straight - she claims it "helped her stay awake". My attending yesterday gave us a whole lecture on correcting potassium imbalances, so this morning when I checked her labs and her K+ was only 3.1, I quickly calculated out an order for 40mEq of potassium, which should bring her back to normal by tomorrow. You (dear reader) may not find this a particularly badass moment, but it's one of the first times I've felt confident prescribing a medication for someone that's not a standardized dose.

†Silence, peanut gallery.
††I know at least one of the people who was there reads this blog. If you contradict anything I say, you're out of the band.
†††Well... lets be real, I'm a med student. I was going to watch someone else do stuff. Turns out it was a fake code anyway and they were just testing the pager system. I still felt like kind of a badass, though.

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  1. Love the blog, you are too funny. Mexicomedstudent’s wife here. Dementia post was particularly heart wrenching. Thanks for taking the time to write, you do it so well.

  2. As someone who’s had multiple attempts and only a minute amount of success – getting an A-line on the first attempt? AWESOME!

  3. Paging Doctor Baracus!

  4. I absolutely love your blog. I’m a second year med student in the UK just holding out for the good stuff of year 3 when we actually start doing…
    I really think you should have a group/link to this on Facebook because my friends would love it.
    All the best!

  5. Well done on your first art line!

    btw I think you missed the best part of the code, which was seeing Dr. Gold-schläger pounce out of what I can only assume was an exercise room, dressed in short workout shorts and a tee shirt, mildly drenched in sweat. He shouted “SHIT!” when he heard it was a false alarm and angrily went back to where he came from.

  6. I can’t wait to try an a-line!!


  7. A triple! Congrats! We all must pat ourselves on the back, just in case no one else gets around to it.

    Trying to think of a few of my own B.A.M.’s… humm

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