February 28, 2013

what's in a name?

When we round, there are anywhere from 6-8 of us. Students, residents, pharmacy residents, all led by the attending doctor. We all have our own separate patients to keep track of, and after a 24 hour call, that's hard enough to do for your own patients, much less those belonging to your classmates. But still.....

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday Mr. mumblesomethingmumble.
Happy birthday to you.

Note to self. Whenever you have a team of medical students, residents, and attending sing happy birthday to a patient, for the sake of the patient, make sure everyone knows the patient's name.

February 26, 2013


Cruising down the highway I noticed the lights of a police bike in my rear view mirror. He wasn't pulling me over for a ticket. He was leading a funeral procession. I dutifully got out of the way of the line of mourners. I saw the lead car pass by with the family inside adorned all in black. As they passed by, the these lyrics droned out of my car stereo in a mournful tone:

February 23, 2013

day off

I only get one day off a week so I've experimented with differsnt ways to really make them count. Some are spent rarely getting out of bed and that feels good. I've learned chili cheese dogs taste especially good while watching King of the Hill on Netflix. I've also learned beer goes down the gullet especially well while sitting on a sandy creek bottom on a sunny spring day during mountain biking. Well, not mountain biking, as is it Houston after all it is more bayou biking really.

February 22, 2013

to sleep, perchance to dream

"I was dreaming last night. Of the hospital while I was seeing a patient. And then I went to sleep in the call room. Seriously. That was my dream. I dreamed about sleeping. At the hospital. How sad is that?"

A fellow student dreamed a dream of sleeping during call....while on call. Usually we get 1 to 4 hours of sleep while on call, depending on how busy it is. But to have your precious dreams taken up by dreaming about sleep, while at the hospital no less.....that says a lot.

February 20, 2013

job description

"By, I'm off to 'work', or school, whatever. You know where I'm going," I tell my wife.

It's not a job. She's reminded me I don't get paid. She playfully suggested "volunteer" but I said that's even sadder because I'm paying money to volunteer. A LOT of money. Who does that? What do I call my training then? School brings up connotations of a classroom, which doesn't fit either as I'm at the hospital most of the time. She calls me DIT. It stands for doctor-in-training but she likes the way it sounds. It's a fun word. Rhymes, too. Twit. Nitwit. Dipshit. You get the idea. Cuts me down to size.

Sadder still is I come home exhausted but I don't feel like I accomplished or did anything meaningful. I know that I'm learning but it's overwhelming so it feels like it's at a snail's pace. I walk in and see patients, complex patients, I might add, and then try to make sense of it before presenting to the attending doc. Then the real doctors take over and manage the patient. Repeat. Like I said, I don't actually accomplish anything tangible that I can point to, other than the knowledge to say, "if I had to manage another patient like this one, I don't think I'd kill them." Setting the bar pretty low but that's the way it goes. A humbling experience.

February 14, 2013

I miss writing. I'd do more of it if I wasn't so tired and scattered.

February 1, 2013

rat in a maze

     Our training is being in the constant state of just when you're starting to get comfortable and get the hang of things, they rip you out and throw you into a new place where you start all over again.  During the third year, we change assignments every 3-4 weeks.  So I'm at one hospital for 4 weeks doing Internal Medicine.  By the start of the fourth week, I'll feel like I'm really hitting my stride.  That's when I'll be moved over to a different hospital with a different attending with a different electronic medical record (EMR) with a different patient population.  It's basically like starting and getting evaluated at a new job every 4 weeks.  Rat in a maze, indeed.