October 24th, 2003

Nescafe rabbit


At four in the morning, the sky is still black, not even touched with a hint of dawn. The world is silent, dark, still, the sound of cars passing somehow muted. Trees like paintings, lit from below, casting shadows up into the sky, buildings flat, unalive, the silhouettes of things within shadowed dimly on the windows. And the wind - for there is wind; when I stop I can feel it against my cheeks, the slow sensual draw of heat away from my body, coat-enwrapped - the wind is so subtle, so soft, that not even the leaves stir.
At four in the morning, I am walking through a painting of a city, floodlights driving away the shadows where danger might lurk and casting everything into a two-dimensional relief. I move; nothing else moves. It is still, silent, and I am afraid even to speak. How can a city so vast and populated seem to hang so delicately in the night?

I never hurry in the mornings, no matter how much or how little time I have. It takes me ten minutes to get from my car to the OR, ten minutes of measured steps in the silence and the darkness, not the businesslike, hurried, purposeful strides inside the hospital. It takes me ten minutes of letting the night sink into my bones and cool my blood, carry away the haze of sleep from the hours before. It is slow, it is subtle, it keeps me going through the first hours, until the sun first brightens then hues the sky, bringing with it the reminder that all things must wake, and dream, and die.
  • Current Mood
    peaceful peaceful
White Coat

Things I've learned in Peds Surg...

1) Say "thank you" to everyone. Every time. If they open three doors in a row for you, say "thank you" three times. Say "thank you" when the nurse ties your gown, gets a chart for you, fills you in on your patient. Say "thank you" when someone takes the time to answer a question, come to your presentation, let you go through the construction zone ahead of you. Even if that's their job. And furthermore, mean it. Think of how completely ass-fucked you would be if they didn't help you. It has yet to bite me, and I doubt it will. The nurses come to me in the mornings and ask if I know who has a patient, or if I could pass something along, or if I know what bee Dr. C had in his scrubs. They notice and recognise that we're running our tails off, and if we in turn acknowledge that they have the power, the experience, and the knowledge to help us...they will.
2) Call everyone you don't know who isn't a medical student "sir" or "ma'am", and mean it. Surgeons didn't get to be surgeons overnight. They're much more likely to explain instead of pimping if they like you. And you never know when the attending you almost bowled over in the hallway will be your next faculty member. And the OR nurses love being able to tell you to call them "Joyce" or "Amy" or "Roger" instead.
3) Get out of the way. Especially of doctors, nurses, or anyone moving at faster than a brisk walk. Also fluoroscopy. Also anyone who is clearly already scrubbed. Also anyone with a hospital bed.
4) Take the stairs. Not only is it faster than waiting for an elevator, you don't get stuck in an enclosed space with a staff doctor who might ask you about the patient you haven't gotten to see yet this morning for three minutes. You don't need an aneurysm. Plus, it's the only bloody exercise you're going to get.
5) Introduce yourself. Nothing's more embarrassing than having a parent or physician or OR nurse ask you "Who are you?" Going along with that, always have your nametag, especially when your last name is hard to spell.
6) If you have a connection to someone, use it. You're going to need every nepotistic favour and fond memory you can get when the world around you intrudes on your surgery rotation heaven. It never hurts to have higher-ups rooting for you.
7) Take time for yourself. If you don't have time to get lunch or dinner, then (I kid you not, O Best Beloved) go find a less-used hallway and sit in the bathroom for longer than you need to. Enjoy the quiet and the chance to breathe, and just stop thinking for a bit. I have a favourite bathroom in every hospital. And none of them stink, but the one in W had really bad lighting, so I was sitting in semi-darkness.

That's some of what I've learned on Peds Surg. I'm sure there's more, medical stuff even (saw a rigid bronchoscopy today, that was cool), but the more important things right now are the intangibles.
And now I'm going to go play with the babies. Angel will be here tomorrow, and I'll get to get shagged rotten, so nyah, Andrea.
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful