So thiiiiiiis is what residency feels like…….
You may have noticed that it’s been well over 10 days since my last post…. WELL, here’s why: Last Thursday was my first day on the wards.
What’s “the wards,” you ask? It’s what you think of when you think of people being in the hospital, sick, with tubes going into their arms and monitors attached to their chests… and doctors taking care of them day and night. Last Thursday, for the first time in my life, I was the doctor taking care of them. Like, a real doctor and stuff.
My first day was a particularly UN-ideal day for a first time intern (me). The senior resident (way smarter than the intern residents), was only there for half a day (BAD NEWS). There were 3 new admissions to the hospital. There were 2 discharges. At noon, the sub-intern (seasoned medical student who gets to pretend to be an intern for a month) informed me that she was post-call (had to go home after having spent 30 hours at the hospital) and that I would be taking care of HER patients as well. And I, had NO. IDEA. how to do anything. The morning went something like this:
Senior resident: “Make sure the page 1 and page 2 for the patient in room X are ready for discharge!”
Me: What’s a page 1 and page 2?
Senior resident: “Update your signout sheets before I leave!”
Me: Where are the signout sheets?
Nurse: “Can your patient in room Y start taking food by mouth?”
Me: I still don’t know anything about my patient in room Y.
Senior resident: “Tube patient X’s prescriptions to pharmacy NOW.”
Me: Tube? What tube?! And what prescriptions?
Secretary: “Radiology on the phone for Dr. Garza Flores!”
Me: (after a 5 second delay) Oh! That’s ME! Why me??!
Senior resident: “Ok, I’m leaving now. Take care of the floor and see you tomorrow.”
Me: CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fourteen and a half hours later, I managed to admit patients, discharge patients, find the page 1 and page 2′s, answer the radiologist’s questions, find the TUBE that ends up in the pharmacy, decide whether patient Y could start taking food by mouth, and get home just in time before Jeffrey left home for a night at the hospital… and started to cry as soon as I saw him:
IT WAS HORRIBLE! I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO DO ANYTHING YET! THERE WAS NO TIME TO ASK PEOPLE TO EXPLAIN STUFF TO ME! THE SENIOR RESIDENT LEFT, ALL THESE NEW PATIENTS ARRIVED….
Blah blah blah. I was exhausted, did not want to go to work the next day, and could not find the energy to even turn turkey and cheese into a proper sandwich. Jeffrey left 20 minutes after I arrived, and dinner by myself looked something like this ↓
Dinner of champion doctors. CLEARLY I deserved a beer.
I dreaded the next day, but survived. I actually left the hospital at a reasonable hour (6 PM… after having arrived at 5:40 AM), and I had to ask less questions than the day before. Yesterday I left all my patients neatly tucked in before I passed them off to the next resident, and left the hospital realizing HOW MUCH FUN I’M HAVING. A week into this, I know how to write prescriptions and which orders have to be written in the computer and which have to be written on paper. I know that a PICC line needs “3-5 mL of 10 units/mL Heparin PRN patency” in order to not get clogged. I know that if want a patient to drink more water, I need to write an order to taper them off of IV fluids, from maintenance dose to half-maintenance dose to no fluids… AND I have to make sure I tell the nurse about it (otherwise I might find out 2 hours later that the IV fluids are still running and no one knew anything about the order I wrote). I learned the pager number for the IV nurses, in case I need blood drawn on someone. I learned that when a kid sneezes his nasogastric tube might come out, and I learned that there’s no easy way to explain to someone that you need to stick your finger in their rectum.
Today I start my week of nights. I will be running around while the rest of the world sleeps, and drinking coffee at odd hours. But I’ll survive, and by the time next week ends, I’ll know twice as much as I know as I type these last words.
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