Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two more days

One of the best things about this program is that you can take vacation on one of your intern oncology blocks (we do two blocks). Intern onc is one of the least forgiving blocks. The hours are not actually as bad as on a couple of other rotations (OB days come to mind), but the work is painful. It's floor work: coming in an hour before the rest of the team to write the day's labs next to the patients' names on The List, writing for daily labs, repleting electrolytes, answering pages on all of the patients on the service, writing the daily progress notes even though someone else got to do the surgery, and being the brunt of everyone else's frustration whenever something is not perfect.

Luckily, the first time we do onc, we get a co-intern as a partner. The second time we're alone, but the first time we are not. My co-oncie is Cat, my Women and Infants BFF. It makes the day better. Less lonely. We can complain to each other when we feel put upon. We help each other out with the work load. And we talk about the patients.

The patients are the worst part. This is not post-partum floor work, where everyone is healthy and relatively young and really quite annoying at times because you get pages about the mundane ("I feel a little sore, you know, down there." Um, yes, you just pushed 8lbs of human out of you. What did you expect to feel?). On onc, the complaints are tragic, heartbreaking. On onc, half of your patients will be dead before you finish residency. This is where we learn about managing pain in the terminally ill, as the tumor presses on their spine or erodes the bone in their hip or compresses their bowel.

One of my patients is one of these patients. She has cancer, doesn't matter what kind, and she is not doing well. She knows it. Her husband knows it, and he is lost. And yet, she always wants to know how I'm doing, if I'm eating enough, if I'm sleeping. She offers me food from her tray. I refuse. I tell her I had pancakes for breakfast. She looks dubious. I ask her about her pain. She tries not to complain, but I end up increasing her dose every day. I don't know if we'll ever catch up to what she needs.

On Saturday, I go on vacation. Every day, driving home, some song on the radio makes me burst into tears. I live 1.8 miles from work. There aren't that many songs. On Saturday, I go on vacation.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I should be cleaning

Achey, tired, sore throat, and full of soup. Smack dab in the middle of two weeks of no days off. I should be cleaning in anticipation of Monday guests (Hi!), but instead I'm doing oh-so productive things like installing Google Chrome, trying to get my computer to access the hospitals records from home, and watching Project Runway. I took care of sick cancer patients today and also did dishes. That should totally be enough.

Also, Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk is truly amazing. I highly recommend it. B told me he was going to hide it from me when he bought it. Yeah, he's not a very good hider. To be fair, there are only so many places you can keep ice cream in the house...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stolen from another blog

I'm not so much short on time as I am short on inspiration. I'm doing a stint in the surgical intensive care unit...which is a vacation. I'm basically a glorified med student who can sign orders, so I diligently order daily labs and chest X-rays and do no actual doctoring whatsoever. It's amazingly dull, call! It's so worth it! I am so well rested and well fed! But bored out of my mind. And since Brandon is working the 2p-midnight (ahem...1am...2am...) shift, I don't get to actually see him with my free time. I've been watching a lot of Dexter. I have no inspiration or things of true interest to share, I will do a list of 5 good things that made me smile today, much like Jennie!

1. This description of OB/GYN residents (coming from a surgery resident): "You're like surgery residents with less sleep who bake cookies and do their hair." So. True.
2. One cat in my lap, one cat sleeping next to me. Soon they will trade places. It is their way.
3. I didn't have enough yarn for the trim or neck bands on one of the sweaters I'm trying to finish! You'd think I'd be sad because I ran out of yarn, but no, for this means I can go...BUY YARN. Justified.
4. The fact that one of the case presentations at surgery conference today was about this big old mass that they took out that turned out to be ovarian. Ovaries?! What are those doing in there? Man, I miss talking about ovaries (surgeons seem to prefer livers and intestines).
5. The left internal jugular central line I placed today with one stick. Yeah, you knew I had to be creepy at some point.