September 30th, 2004

White Coat

Wrapping up.

I walked in the door. Night staff looks up at me from his computer. There are a fair eight to ten patients in rooms; unusual indeed for seven AM on a Sunday morning. There are patients in the waiting room. It is not going to be a good day, had been my opening thought. Night staff looks up at me. "You're here. You can save my life!" And he sounds sincere. Then comes the question I have heard so many times. "Do you sew?"
Do I sew, O Best Beloved? It is the one skill I am proudest of; my ability to align the edges of a skin wound with suture, to tie knots that lie neatly off to one side of a well-spaced series of stitches, and to do it without taking for-freaking-ever. "Sure," I answered. "I love to sew." His face brightened. "You can save my life. Go see the gentleman back in $room. He's all numbed up, just need to staple his leg and his side and stitch up his face."
Said young gentleman, according to his story, was sleeping on the couch when he heard his sister arguing with her boyfriend, and calling for help. When he investigated, full of protective instincts, the sister was being choked. This led to a dispute between the gentlemen involved which eventually became a fight involving knives. A quarter-inch further and he would've lost his eye.
Staff did the three stitches in his lower lid; I explained that I simply was not confident enough to inject lidocaine in that location. After that, he was all my patient. And pleasant enough to me once he discovered that "medical student" is not a paid position. "You have to smell my armpit, be here at seven in the morning, and put up with my s*it for free?" I smiled. I am good at smiling; I have a thousand of them. The most common smile, though, is the self-deprecatory one. "It's for my education."

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Finished my exam this morning; worst-case scenario passes it, and it's only 10% of the grade. Still need to go back to the house and pack up my stuff, figure out how to get it all in my car.
I am going home, O Best Beloved. Home for a month.
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