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I’ve been infected

February 7, 2008

I’m on my peds rotation now, or as my last doc called it, veterinary medicine. I prefer the term bioterrorism. Every day I have gotten coughed on, sneezed on, snotted on…I was able to dodge the vomit at least. I held out a whole week before my immunity failed me and got a sore throat. For 2 days I worked through it b/c the only symptom was that I sounded a bit raspy. Sure, I might have been infecting others but hey, its only fair at this point, and at least I’ve been successful at keeping my snot to myself. Today though, I woke up exhausted and my whole head clogged. Luckily I wasn’t scheduled to work today, since my doc was taking the morning off and in the afternoon, I was supposed to go to some education seminar on scrubbing. I decided to finally take it easy and skip the 3 hour lesson on something I did for a whole month. Ya, its required but oh well, we’re allowed to miss one. Anyway, I am going a bit batty since I already had a 3 day weekend and then a half day, and now all today off…stuck in this house. So, to catch you all up and stave off my boredom, let me regale you with a couple surgery stories I was too busy to get to before.

Well apparently I’m a famous dork now. Not really, but I guess my pic is immortalized on the lap band forum. The morning before the pic was taken, we had already done 2 lap bands. I knew I was only doing surgery that day, so I didn’t fuss with my hair or much makeup, and I wore my glasses in. Normally if I don’t, they make me wear a shielded mask that pokes me in the eye whenever I look down to suture. Before we were done for the day, we met with a wonderfully sweet and intelligent yet morbidly obese young lady for the pre-op lap band consultation. Brian the PA filled out her admin orders and I did her H & P while Dr. K gave her his usual spiel and answered her questions. We were a very efficient team by then. We were just rapping up when she asked to take our picture for her scrapbook. I immediately thought oy, I look a hot mess, but oh well, it’ll just be in her little scrapbook. She then had her surgery the next day, which went fine, but then it wasn’t 2 days later when the receptionist at Dr. K’s office calls us in to see something. There we are, plastered on this famous nationwide forum, looking ridiculous, right under a pic of her in a scrub cap, sticking out her tongue at the anesthesiologist. Good times.

On my last day of surgery, I finally saw some action. I mean, I need to make a confession. As a medstudent, you sorta wish there will be a complication, just to shake things up. Not anything that is life-treatening or will cause them any problems later of course. But after nothing but lap bands and hernia repairs, you just want some excitement. Problem is, when those complications happen, you’re immediately like, OMG sorry sorry sorry I take it back, I didn’t mean it, oh shit! Such was the case on my last day, when Dr. K nicked an errant vessel. It was nobody’s fault, just an anatomical variant. Him and his assistant spring into action, suctioning the stream of blood and trying to find the source. After 5 minutes of the nurse doing double duty retracting and throwing them instruments, Dr. K turns to me and screams, “I NEED SOME GOD DAMN HELP, MICHELLE, SCRUB! I run outside and do a quick yet solid scrub, run back in, and self gown. I kept thinking. “Don’t make a med student mistake, don’t contaminate, don’t screw up, be a big tough surgeon.” That was when my glove flew across the room. DOH! Normally it would be impressive. The other nurse ran and got me another pair. Just as I finished getting them on, he yelled at me, “STOP FUCKING AROUND AND GET IN HERE!” I hopped in and grabbed the retractors and held on for all I was worth. It only took about 15 min after that before everything was all good and he was able to continue with the lap band surgery. I stepped away for that but stayed scrubbed in so that I could do the suturing. After my major fuck-up, I was determined to redeem myself. Previous to that, I had only been able to complete one suture per surgery (they are perfectionists, which I ain’t mad at), but this time, I did 3 of them. Still, as we sat in the breakroom after, I expected to get my ass chewed. Dr. K sat down, turned to me, and I braced for it. He then smiled and offered me a cookie. Holy hell. So that was how my last day went down.

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