Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy



I'm sorry this post has been so late in coming. I really haven't had the time to post, which sucks. I've learned so much in the past few weeks and I can't even write about it.

Tomorrow is my last day of Trauma Surgery. I'm actually going to miss it, believe it or not. The hours have been hell (4AM-6PM or later, every day, including weekends), but it has been ridiculously awesome along the way.

Yesterday my attending slapped the electrocautery device in my hand with a grin on his face and said in his thick accent "lets see what thees guy can doo with thees thing". With that I started cutting necrotic tissue off with abandon. It was awesome. Then 20 minutes later I got to suture the skin graft in place†. I felt like I was actually performing surgery - which in a way, I was.

I love surgery. It's totally fun, and the surgeons themselves - for the most part - are fun people. What's killing me is that the life of a surgeon is literally as bad as it gets. 2 of my interns are married and don't see their wife and kids for days at a time.

Any advice from my readers? I've been told multiple times that "if you want it badly enough, you can deal with the hours" ... but I'm not sure I can.

I've been thinking subspecialty (ENT, urology, ortho) might be a good compromise of physically doing surgery, but not having to deal with the hell that is a General Surgery rotation. Input?

† "help" may have been a good word to interject... it took me about twice as long to throw my sutures as it did the resident. Still and all, I can point to about a quarter of her skin graft and say "I did that!"

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  1. you told me last night you hated it…..

  2. What’s said about surgery by someone doing surgery any time outside of the hours of 11 AM and 3 PM cannot be trusted as actual opinion. (Exception: that person is actually engaged — not sitting in the corner or holding retractors — in a case, then the opinion might be valid no matter the time of day.)

  3. Yeah.. i don’t know. That story you told me the other day about the surgeons basically bragging over who hadn’t seen their wife for the longest time would sort of put me off. I, too, am still agonizing over surgery versus IM. It’s so hard to make the decision without knowing what your life would be like. Don’t you wish we could be like Scrooge in that Tiny Tim story and we could go into the future and see our lives: “Christmas Future.”?? Then we could choose the right path. ok i don’t really mean that, i’m just starving and tired.

  4. I decided to not go into surgery because I love my family. There is something to be said about time lost when you have others who you’re responsible for. I wouldn’t have been able to take losing time while my daughter grew up, my wife found someone else to talk to, and life continued around me while I pursued a *career*. Unless you’re willing to sacrifice everything, it ain’t worth it.

    BTW, I really like your blog and have linked you on mine. Let me know if that’s not OK.

  5. Whine whine whine. The life of a surgeon outside of academia is determined by how much they want to fill their pockets. If you don’t want to work 80 hours a week, you don’t have to and lots of docs don’t. As far as residency, if your wife (read, Courtney, HAHAH!) isn’t willing to wait 5-7 years out of the possible 60+ you will have together so that you could be happy and fulfilled with your career and life then lady needs the boot.

  6. Call me crazy, but Jack and Logan, what you describe isn’t much of a marriage at all. Why even bother getting married until after your residency if you’re not going to get to actually have a relationship with your wife/husband during it?

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