November 5, 2012

pavlov's medical student

     Fresh my shift, actually I was anything but fresh having worked 28 hours.  My body no longer knew what time of day it was.  The sun was rising, or maybe it was setting.  I had no idea and furthermore, I didn't even care.  The menu at Chick-fil-a said it was morning.  Breakfast it was then.  I'll supplement it with a beer at home.  Ding, Ding, Ding!  My body instantly tensed and I prepared to sprint until I realized I was no longer at the hospital and no baby was dropping.  You see, the way it works at the hospital is this.  The pregnant mothers start out in triage where us med students and a couple of first year OB interns hang out.  They then are transferred to labor and delivery when appropriate.  From there, the nurses do most of the management unless things get complicated.  When the patient gets close to delivering, and I mean CLOSE as in the baby is about to pop out, they ring a bell. 
     One intern and one med student then sprint down the hall and try to figure out which room is our destination as an overhead page informs us which room we are to go to.  We pop into the room, slap down our sterile gloves on any available surface which ironically is usually the top of a trash can.  There's a "sterile" table with the necessary instruments on it.  It's a race between getting our sterile gown and gloves on and the baby coming out.  It's a tight race.  Did I mention the blood?  Aside from trauma, OB probably is the bloodiest field.  There is a LOT of blood.  Did I mention meconium?  Google it.  There's a fair amount of that, too.  And then either the med student or the intern delivers the baby.  Med students deliver the placenta afterwards which involves even more and more blood.  I've mastered the art of being close to the patient without getting my shoes covered.  It's a very useful skill.
     But that bell.  I've come to now hate that bell because anytime I hear a bell anywhere else, a surge of adrenaline rushes over me.  It's like showing a bone to my dogs.  Instant salivation.