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.