Wednesday, May 17, 2006

socks and surgeons, oh my!

socka-pal-phew!-za: my pal’s socks arrived in one piece, and they fit her! I was worried that they’d be too tight or the cuffs would be too long, but she was kind enough to let me know that they fit fine. (I was also worried that the colors wouldn’t be what she wanted (she loves greens and I had a hard time finding washable variegated green sock yarn…) but they were also to her liking – I was glad to hear that. I knit them for Patrice, who is (sadly) blogless.

socka-pal-for-me?!?-za: I was lucky enough to get a pair of the best socks in the world!

picture of socks......(borrowed from my pal's site but saved to my own computer)

My pal had to wade through the ramblings I sent out (a long run on sentence about what I’d knit myself vs. what I’d never knit myself and it went on and on and on about the colors I like, don’t like and combinations, etc) and she took it all into account. The yarn was hand-dyed (by her!) and the pattern is one that she came up with while trying to figure out what to knit up. The yarn looked beautiful in a feather and fan pattern but she was kind enough to realize I might not like them because I don’t like chevrons. In truth, I think I’d have loved anything that was knit from this yarn but I appreciate that she frogged and then invented a pattern! I don’t have pictures of the socks on my feet (yet) but they have been worn and admired many times. Thank you Celia!

(that is the picture she posted; once my camera and all of it’s parts find themselves in the same place (and the sun comes out) I’ll share pictures of them on my feet.)

Knitting, at this point in time: socks. They are reliable because I can knit them without a pattern and small enough to go with me wherever I go. In fact, the first day on my surgical rotation they were a conversation starter…which brings me to….

Surgery rotation: I have, perhaps, the best surgery rotation (for someone who is not planning on being a surgeon (though my surgeon-wanna-be classmates also enjoyed it) in the northern hemisphere. The general surgeon that is “in charge” of the med students knits. He knits the socks that he wears everyday and has been knitting for “a very, very long time.”

When he saw the yarn peeking out of the top of my “bag’o’medical’references” he asked what I was knitting and it started the proverbial ball (of yarn?) rolling. He wanted to know how long I’ve been knitting (specifically how long I’ve been knitting every day, not how many years ago I learned to knit), what I have knit in the past, the yarns I prefer and then encouraged me to dig out the sock and work on it. He knits with five metal dpn’s, has never heard of a “short row heel” and instead flaps. He doesn’t believe socks should be fancy with lace or other designs because that’s just not practical and he doesn’t need patterns because he can knit a sock without thinking about it and why fix what isn’t broken? When I asked what type of yarn the pair he had on was knit from he said he wasn’t sure, as “most companies are making those jacquard patterns now” but it probably wasn’t Regia because it wasn’t soft enough.(!) He told me stories about how his wife started knitting a pair for herself but later lengthened them and gifted them to him because every time he saw her working on them he told her how much he loved the yarn; He went on to tell me how much he loves knitting for her because she always appreciates it.

Then he asked if I spun. I confessed to owning a drop spindle that I don’t feel proficient using and asked if he spun. I figured the answer was going to be yes (and it was) but I couldn’t hide the shock when he told me that he owns three spinning wheels.

Three. Spinning. Wheels.

At that point I no longer worried about this rotation – how could it be bad when my over-seer knits and spins? (I haven’t figured out which types of wheels he owns (yet) but will. At this point it’s 8 days down, 22 to go. There’s time.) I still don’t want to be a surgeon, but my days aren’t as long as they could be and the hospital I’m in is a small (small-small) community hospital and most of the procedures are elective. There aren’t any residents (people that med students are usually “under”) so I’m working directly with the docs and scrub nurses.

I have yet to hit the floor. That alone means that the first 8 days have been a success.

I did sew some sutures in the first week (we won’t talk about how I had to change scrubs afterwards because I’d dripped through the first set – in my defense there were four people staring at me and it was the first time; the second time wasn’t much better, but I’m only willing to talk about the first time…) and have scrubbed into many different surgeries. I’ve worked with an ob/gyn, a neurosurgeon, another ob/gyn, two different general surgeons, joked with a proctologist (if he is representative of his field they have Amazing senses of humor) and successfully avoided the orthopods and sinus surgery doc. Ortho cases are bloody and full of bone cracking and smells that aren’t natural and therefore I may not remain upright. I don’t think I can keep the avoidance up for the full six weeks, but so far, so good.

Other randomness: Right now my yarn (and other belongings) are spread out between three houses and two cars. I’ve changed locations yet again and went ahead and bought a car. (I love my new (used) car. It’s blue.) At some point I’ll need to gather everything and organize it but until then I’m living in denial. It’s not causing too many problems right now, so why invite trouble?

There are other things going on. Things such as me trying to arrange for a few weeks off from my rotations to do some other things that will help me get through rotations and, perhaps, pass the boards. I’ve been trying to come up with a more eloquent way to explain what has been going on but I haven’t had that moment of inspiration yet. In short, things are still up in the air. I am ready for them to fall, but it appears that I can’t influence gravity and will have to wait it out. Or take up juggling. Anyone know how to juggle?


Blogger Jocele said...

That is awesome about your attending!! Knitting and spinning--you hit the jackpot. I hated surgery in medical school (university setting), but enjoyed it much more in residency, when the docs are more laid back. Enjoy your rotation!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

Wow, those are gorgeous socks. What a lovely gift!
And how funny that the attending knits socks. You just don't think of (male) surgeons knitting, OR owning 3 spinning wheels! (Not b/c men can't knit--but b/c of all the stereotypes about uber-macho surgeons.)

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes sense, manual dexterity and all......

You know, most sinus surgery is endo so you can just look at the monitor.

My GP got through her surgery rotations via Mt. Dew (sensitive vagus nerve) -- or Red Bull. She said it worked for her.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Norma said...

I'm trying to fathom the deeper meaning of all this....perhaps you're meant to be a surgeon after all? :)

7:29 AM  
Anonymous melanie said...

I know how to juggle! Literally and figuratively.


7:51 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Beautiful sock pal socks! I saw them on Celia's blog, but I had no idea that they would be going to you. Perhaps you can convince your surgeon to get in on round 4 of Sockapalooza?

8:10 AM  
Blogger J. said...

OMG - I love those socks! I must say I am jealous, I really should learn to knit socks! Glad surgery is keeping you on your feet so far - may it stay that way.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Carole said...

What a fantastic coincidence to find out your dr/supervisor is a knitter and spinner!

10:03 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

You're already juggling - haven't you noticed? Great job, so keep it up.

Your surgery attendings sound WAY cooler than mine!

8:23 PM  
Blogger julia fc said...

Your supervisor sounds like a perfect guy. What luck! Maybe you can show him how a little cable can make a sock fit just a little bit better.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow - I'd do a surgical rotation with that guy! How awesome. Keep posting stories about it :)


8:33 AM  
Blogger Abi said...

I can only pray that come my surgery rotation, I have the luck that you do! That's one rotation that makes me nervous... I hope it continues to go well.

Stunning socks, too! Well done, sockapalooza pal!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I loved assisting surgeries when I was a vet tech. Something about fixing everything and stitching it all back, may well be my fondess for sewing. Too cool that head surgeon knits! That promises to be a really interesting rotation, if nothing else :-)

12:18 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Hooray for finding a kindrid soul! Sounds like you'll sail through this rotation. Can't wait to hear about his wheels :)

2:38 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Hey stranger... glad this rotation is going better than you had expected. You lucked out with your head surgeon (as if you didn't know). :)
Are you planning on going to the Frolic? It's in just a few weeks.
Perfect socks for you, too.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Lorette said...

Beautiful socks!
And your surgeon is a knitter? Very cool!
Your post brings back memories. I passed out once on my junior surgery rotation. I had nasty case of the flu, and was stuck holding a retractor in an open chole case for what seemed like hours. I finally just passed out and they sent me home. It's the one and only time I've ever done it. I'd avoid the ortho too. Ortho surgeons are a hoot, but students don't get to do anything but stand there and hold up an 80 pound leg while they hammer away at it. They never let me use the drill or power saw. Bummer.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an anxious pre-med student looking to find something to do with my hands that will improve dexterity, but also mental focus. I have nervous hands, and I think learning to knit might do you recommend one start/learn..? Is there a beginner's guide you can reccommend???

8:27 PM  

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