Tuesday, January 04, 2005

"It happens to the best of us"

I had a long day today. It started at 5am, when my alarm woke me up so I could get ready to head south and into a hospital's OR. I was there by 6:30am, and took a few minutes to review the anatomy of what I'd be watching and then headed in to meet up with my preceptor and get changed into scrubs.

When I was a teen I volunteered at my local community hospital. The first year I volunteered I was assigned to the "perioperative" area. It meant that I put scrubs on and was able to watch (via a window into the rooms) the procedures going on when there was some downtime. I saw a lot the summer I was there; c-sections became my favorite, and I tried to avoid anything with eyes or major joints. I watched cancer removals and carried a below the knee amputation up to the lab.

I was never assigned to the OR again, even though I requested it several years in a row. Instead I put to work in a busy family practice residency in medical records (something I'd never be allowed to do today due to the hippa privacy act) and did a few years at an inpatient/outpatient physical therapy clinic.

As a first year medical student our university sets up preceptorships with ERs all over this part of the state. They are evening experiences, and we have no idea what the evening will bring in. I saw a few cases of the flu, a sprained ankle, some random cases involving GI signs and symptoms, and a woman came in needing stitches in her hand. I was fine through all of it, but (long story short) passed out while the stitches were going in. It took me by surprise because I've felt wooy before, but never fully passed out! That was almost exactly a year ago, and the experience changed my perception of what I thought I could handle.

That being said, I was very nervous about going into the OR this morning. When I called yesterday they told me I'd been assigned to a total hip replacement and a few knee arthroscopic surgeries. I scrubbed in and was able to stand next to the surgeon for 30-45 seconds before they saw the color drain from my face and they sent me out of the room. It was embarrassing, and they had me sit down and drink some orange juice and "relax" before letting me back in the room.

Relaxing after feeling woozy and leaving the room where two doctors are actively involved in surgery I'm supposed to be watching is like telling someone to just relax in the middle of rush hour traffic when you're running late to an important meeting; it's hard. They sent someone out to check on me, and he decided I was still too pale to go anywhere, so I "relaxed" for another twenty minutes. I passed the next chcek-in and they let me back in the room to watch from a stool a ways away from the actual operation, but where I could still see what was going on. Being able to sit down, and knowing that I wasn't in the middle of it was a huge help, and I made it through the rest of the procedure, and the rest of the procedures, without any problems.

When I hit the floor last year almost every doc in the ER searched me out to introduce themselves and pat me on the back and say "it happens to the best of us." It was no surprise that this morning a few nurses found me, and the docs checked in more then they probably would (almost always adding "it happens to the best of us.")

(and the scrub nurse who helped me out won the bet that I wouldn't last very long. I was happy for her but said odds were with her so it wasn't a true win.)

The good news: I went into the experience thinking surgery wasn't for me. I still don't want to be a surgeon.

In knitting news: I went by a yarn shop a bit further south the school yesterday, and found a bunch of Debbie Bliss Cotton Wool in the discount bin. I found some colors that I would have bought at full price and walked away with at the discount price (yay!) but now I need to find a pattern for it. I want to try fair isle knitting and so now the search is on to find something to fit the yarn I have (or something that is do-able if I were to get another ball or two).

I re-started my ruby softtwist scarf. I know I want something with cables, but was doing a few regular cables and wanted the look of a few cables intertwining. I was going to try and do one pattern repeat a night, but I'm not so sure I'll get a full 16 rows done tonight. I'm tired, and have to be in class by 8am tomorrow.....


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