It was not a good day.
I was in clinic today, O Best Beloved, shadowing Dr. D. His wife is out of town, leaving him in charge of 3 children. And it seems to be showing. We saw a patient, or rather he saw a patient, I leaned over his shoulder to peer at the patient, and when we walked out of the room he asks me "Did you think that looked like HSV?" I was so startled that he was asking me a question that I floundered. "Say yes." Um. Yes. "You've been here three weeks, you should be able to say yes." Yes. "What do you have to worry about with HSV?" What? I had no time to answer. "You have what types? One and two?" Yes. One and two. Oral and genital. "Which one goes where?" I always get this backwards. I mentally flipped my answers one way and another trying to remember which fit. One genital, two oral? "Top to bottom. One oral. Two genital. Is that always true?" No. No, you can get both either place. "Which kind do you suppose this was?" Two? He smirks. "Nope." One. But you only know because you cultured it, right? "Right." I breathed. And having active herpetic lesions precludes vaginal delivery. "Yes." A right answer. Finally. "What about HPV?" No, no you can deliver with active HPV. "Right." Again. And he was gone again.
One does not converse with Dr. D. One fits in where one belongs and does not interrupt his routine. I do not belong. I interrupt his military day. He is soft-spoken, so much so that I am prone to missing it when he mentions for me to stay outside a room. He has taken to hand gestures. An outstretched hand, or one lowered, palm facing me: stop. Go read your book. Once he closed the door in my face. A tilt of his head: come in, it's all right. But it's not all right. I am in the way, always in the way, always the interloper. He tells patients with a little smile that I am going to be a brain surgeon. It's his little joke. And the patients, they seem to like him, like the pleasant voice, the way he listens, the little thoughtfulnesses he shows them.
I heard one of the scrub nurses: "I'll clean rooms. I'll change over. Just don't make me work with him."
It was an awkward day, painful almost. At least it was short.
Yesterday, I was with Dr. K, with whom I only occasionally spend time, for the afternoon. After being told just to sit back and watch for three surgeries, including one hysterectomy on a woman whose uterus was the size of a 20-week pregnant woman's (I must digress back to her story in a bit), and not getting to get a single finger dirty, I happened to notice that L&D had three patients of Dr. K's in labor. I ran to the office between surgeries. He was acquiescent - encouraged me, in fact - with my plan for following. And that's precisely what I did. Three deliveries in one day - I didn't catch the baby, but I got to help, and cut the cord, and tie knots. He was patient, explained the knot-tying process without berating me for not being any good at the one-handed ties, let me check positioning and put my hands with his, talked the whole time. Made me a part of the process. And I was elated.
And then today. I'll tell you more stories later, O Best Beloved. Right now I'm going to kick back and unwind.