Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

30Jun/08Off

The Great Debate

So in a week I start 4th year, and I'm debating whether or not to do Radiology first, or switch it out for ENT (ear/nose/throat surgery). Youtube is a fantastic resource for budding young surgeons, as you can watch whole surgeries from the comfort of the home. Bonus: you don't have to stand in the back of the OR looking bored!

Let me talk you through my thought process. As a quick warning, none of the links in this post are safe for children. Or adults. Or really anybody, including doctors. I'm not sure I can do ENT any more.

Zac (thinking): I wonder if I should look in to some sort of surgical field again? Honestly, I like procedures a lot. What about Urology? Nah, I don't really want to stick my fingers up dudes' butts all day long.
Another Med Student: Hey, man, look in to ENT! They do some really cool procedures.
Zac: Cool... lets just go ahead and YouTube some ENT stuff... lets see, this'll do. Endoscopic Dacrocystorhinostomy.

Hey, nice nose, man. They do this while the patient is awake? That's pretty cool, you can do it in-office. Neat-o, this is a pretty nifty, delicate procedure. Wait... wait, he's using a "chisel"? And the guy is awake? He's going to chisel through his nose while he's AWAKE? Oh, god, you can hear the bone breaking. Huh, that's kinda neat, though, he just removed all that bone and now there's a "sac" protruding. Wait, wait, wait... he's cutting open the sac. Oh, no - please no - now there's stuff draining EVERYWHERE... ugh, it looks like it's all going down the patient's throat. I think I'm going to vomit.

Zac (nauseated): OK, ok, I can do this. That was just one surgery. How about this one... Nasolabial Cyst Excision.

Hm, that's funny, that guy has really terrible teeth. Surgeon is getting ready to cut... nice incision, doc, strong wor- WHAT THE FUCK, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT OH MY GOD ITS ALL DRAINING TOWARDS HIS THROAT!!!! THE IMAGE HAS SEARED ITSELF INTO MY BRAIN AND I WILL NEVER GET IT OUT... OH SWEET JESUS THAT MAN JUST SWALLOWED PUS EVERYWHEREOH GOD THE SURGEON IS MILKING THAT STUFF OUT LIKE ITS A COWS UDDER

Comments (8) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Those surgeries aren’t that bad. As a periodontist, I see a fair share of abscesses and the like in my practice. Yes, they are certainly hideous at first, but you get used to it. Best of luck with your fourth year. If these surgeries bother you, you should go into radiology. At least everything there is in black and white!

  2. i HATE watching people drain abscesses…eeeeeew!

  3. What happened to interventional radiology?

  4. I’ll be doing a week of it in the next month while I’m on my Radiology rotation… so it’s not totally out.

  5. OK, disclosure: I fucking love I&Ds. I’ve never had a “dramatic one” that squirted over my shoulder or anything, but there is something so absolutely satisfying about seeing the immediate benefit of your (usually simple) work, both from an infection/wound POV and in the patient’s own feedback of lessened pain.

    So it’s somewhat of a paradox that find garden variety dental-type abscesses to be so disgusting exactly for the reasons you wrote: it’s not going into some gauze or drape cloth–they’re eating it!

    But nothing–nothing prepared me for the “straw colored fluid” of #2. What kind of euphamistic bullshit is that? CALL IT PUS or EXUDATE or CYST CHOWDER–I don’t care, but don’t dumb it down like it’s “normal.”

    And I don’t believe for one second that he’s doing this with just *-caine in the syringe. He’s got these people on ketamine or some shit. The initial incision along the superior labial fold–totally OK. Digging and tugging and snipping into open sinus with tortuous abandon–uh uh. Even if pain isn’t through the roof with the regional block, there’s got to be a freak-out factor here that needs to prevent the guy from going ape-shit.

    OK, this was so longer than I expected to write, but I can’t sleep and can’t self-edit, so there ya go. I hope I don’t regret this in the morning. Thanks for the laugh Zac, that last CAPS part was pretty much a verbatim written version of what I was thinking.

  6. Wow. I’m still trying to get past “cyst chowder.”

    Glad to see you’re writing again! :)

  7. Yep, I’m happy I’m writing again too, I really enjoy it. I regained my sense of humor over the past 6 months or so :-) I’m afraid med school almost got to me…

  8. I didn’t have the guts to watch those videos. I took your warning seriously!

    I work in a small rural hospital, and part of my job is to scribe for codes and traumas. So I see stuff that most “civilian” never see, and never want to see. Last week I watched the doc put in a chest tube. Probably really low on the gross factor for you medical folk. But it was a bit unnerving for me, to say the least.

    So, my question is… how long does it take you guys to work through the gross factor, to “it’s just another day on the job?”


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