it has been brought to my attention that it has been approximately 2 years since my last post here.
wow…. TWO YEARS….
seems like a few months. so much has happened, and life has gone by so quickly.
and so here I am, sitting down to write my first post since June 2015. since the week before I started my general surgery residency.
where to start
to pick up simply where I left off is hard. but lets see if I can hit the highlights.
when I moved to Oklahoma it was on essentially a trial basis. I had madly scrambled into a position as a “preliminary” intern in general surgery. I had no real guarantees on my future, all I knew was that I had a job for precisely one year, and then would be doing the applying/interviewing/praying for a spot somewhere thing all over again.
I started off July 1 on a general surgery rotation.
I began to learn
differential diagnoses of common surgical problems
writing official H & Ps with semi-accurate physical exam findings
wading through patient charts for the important information in the sea of endless words
coping with the incessant noise of the pager that is permanently attached to the hip of all residents.
and I made some friends.
then I moved to vascular surgery
documenting proper vascular (pulse) exams
operating a hand held doppler
wound assessments, and the many words we use to describe them
dressing changes… and more dressing changes
I became more comfortable with my position, with myself and with the people around me. I got to operate and reaffirm my choice of surgery.
Trauma rotation began
chest tubes. central lines. arterial lines. ICU evaluations and presentations.
I watched my seniors closely and tried to learn the evaluation and management of the patient who rolls into the trauma bay with holes in their body, bleeding on the table/floor/staff. keeping cool and making decisions with a dying person in front of you. prioritizing.
evaluation of patients on the floor. work-up of the febrile/tachycardic/oliguric patient. determination of just how sick someone really is, and what needs to be done to make them better
narcotic dosing (and overdosing)
a little bit of autonomy. try to make the right decision. don’t be afraid to ask for help.
make friends with the nurses.
answer your pager. it may go off every three minutes. sometimes you drop it down the stairs and hope it breaks. but it is part of you. answer it.
always evaluate for yourself. don’t take anyone else’s word for how your patient is doing.
and make some more friends
and then it begins over again. vascular and general and trauma surgery. getting to operate some. getting to know the attendings. learning medication dosing, decision making, patient assessments, note writing. becoming a part of the resident family.
in the midst of it all, re-applying for intern level positions, in the constant battle of being a DO trying to get a spot with the MDs. shouldn’t matter, and they always tell you in medical school that it doesn’t. they are wrong.
being nervous about re-interviewing for residency. feeling as though every single minute of every day is an audition for a spot at my current program. trying my best to never screw up.
getting to do my first appendectomy.
dealing with life and death and sickness.
and then one day in February, mere weeks before submission of rank lists for residency spots – already resigned to repeating intern year at another program, leaving the life I have developed and the friends I have made – being paged into the office of the department chair, who sits with the program director, both with serious expressions on their face.
being offered a permanent spot, promoted along with the rest of my class to a second year in July.
becoming slightly more confident in the job. loving life. learning a ton. operating. and being with great people who have become like family.
and then before you know it — June 30th 2016.
the end of intern year.