Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


Shock To The System

I haven't posted much lately because honestly, I've gotten into a routine. Not a particularly good one, but a routine nonetheless. Usually it involves waking up just before a shift, seeing a ton of patients and burning out halfway through my workday, and then slinking back home, too tired to even think about doing anything social. It's boring and it's a far cry from the "fun" that I was having earlier in residency.

I think it's simply a function of working too damn hard. 80 hours a week is TOUGH - especially hours spent in the Emergency Department. I know there are people out there who work harder, and others that would kill for my job, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm exhausted.

Rolling into the ED today (a "big boy" shift, as I affectionately call it... our Level I Major Trauma / Major Resuscitation unit) I was tired. And hungry. And caffeine-deprived. Dreading 10 hours of nonstop traumas and dying patients.

And the most amazing thing happened. One of the nurses had an extra cup of coffee. Another resident had a leftover PB&J sandwich. To top it off, not a single patient came in to the ED for 20 minutes, so I had several delicious moments of pure, unabated downtime. The traumas started rolling in. And I was on my game.

I saved 3 lives today. Me, personally. I intubated 2 people who couldn't protect their airways, and saw another patient who was rapidly becoming hypoxic from a huge fluid buildup around her lungs. She was heading very quickly towards intubation, but instead I stuck a needle through her back, drained off 1.5 liters of fluid off her lung, and got her back to breathing normally.

I left work today with a smile. Little 'ol me, saving the world one life at a time. I'm excited to go back tomorrow.

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  1. “I know there are people out there who work harder, and others that would kill for my job, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m exhausted.”

    Is this to ward off the obligatory “Back in my day we had to work 100x as hard you lazy/spoiled little snot 80 hours is nothing you should be grateful do you know how many people would kill for your job” comment that you KNOW is forthcoming from some dickhead who has forgotten he/she isn’t the center of the universe?

    Anyway, nice work with the intubations/ pleurocentesis. And hang in there! Intern year is almost over…..

  2. Which just goes to show that Mama was right. Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day (whatever time of day your day starts).

    Remember to MAKE time to get that cuppa and something to eat every day. And not do it on the fly, take time to sit down for 20-30 minutes over your breakfast. Your days will go better.

    Also, go you! saving lives! :-)

  3. I played Hide and Seek last night and it reminded me of you. Then I commented on how your posts had become sparse. Myles said you were probably working a lot. You are and that’s just fine. If providing us with little glimpses into your life causes the inability to think on your toes and stick needles in people’s backs, then none of us can complain.
    And Tottergirl is right. Eat.

  4. For some weird reason that post just made me happy. Oh and btw, I made the final decision… emergency medicine here I come.

  5. Excellent choice, FrenchFry. It’s an amazing field.

  6. Merci pour ce blog, une joie de vous lire ! Cordialement.

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