December 20, 2013
I got this from my health insurance company. Not to worry, it says, my plan will become ACA compliant. What worries me is they don't say what will happen to my premium. Something tells me I won't be paying less. I'll have to start writing my own prescriptions since I won't be able to afford seeing a doctor.
December 16, 2013
“We’re still hurting a lot right now from when we failed a few days ago. You’re not really going to do this, are you?” the three extra vertebrae in my back asked in disbelief. They were clearly not happy with the notion of being jostled up and down repeatedly for two miles.
“Yes. I am going to go for a run,” as I started to slide my socks on.
“Look at yourself, man. You’re falling apart. Have you noticed that your toenails on BOTH big toes are probably going to fall off? Are we going to end up like that? We can't grow back like toenails can. Surely you haven't forgotten that much of the first two years of med school.”
I wiggled the toenails and sure enough, both started to lift up like the pop top on a can of beer. Both were the result of separate bike wrecks while riding at night. On both evenings, I had already worked out for the day but by evening, the anger and stress had come back in full force. So I went riding on the trails at night. I had toe pain but the anger was less.
“Oh, well. Wouldn’t be the first time. If it means anything, I'll jog slower. I already quit running sprints for y'all.”
“We do appreciate the no sprinting thing. But today's run.....having us get all inflamed and pissed so you can’t walk wouldn’t be a first time, either. Do you want us to go back to the way we felt two days ago? Is that what you want? You couldn't even stand up straight, for Pete's sake!”
“Not really, but what are my options? I can suffer more emotional pain or more physical pain. It’s that simple. It’s nothing personal against y’all, even though y'all are congenital defects. You’re just going to have to hurt so that I can burn off some anger. Deal with it.”
“Good God, man, what are you going to do to us when you start rotations again in a couple of weeks? That's going to lead to less stress?!?! Who the hell ever heard of med school adding less stress to a person's life? Seriously? What are you on? And don’t be surprised when the nerves that live with us start flashing some serious pain signals upstairs. We can see that they're already charging their little battery like thingies in anticipation. You may be walking funny tonight. Again.”
“Yeah, I know. And as I like to say to my patients, ‘we have a pill for that’. I’ll make whatever deal I have to make in order to keep enduring."
December 13, 2013
Fortunately, my surgery rotation was not as horrendous as the videos below. Both my attendings and residents were pretty understanding and helpful for the most part. But I did hear some horror stories from a few of my colleagues that wouldn't be too far off from these sad but true video. I can, however, attest to waking up at 3:40 am and grabbing AWS (already worn scrubs) and not caring because it seemed like you just left the hospital and now you're headed back. I can also attest to holding a retractor for nearly two hours when an inanimate object could've done a better job. And yes, they do have inanimate retractors that do a better job than med students.
December 6, 2013
The difference in his mood, his personality, everything was in stark contrast to what it was before. It became apparent only 2-3 days after his second hospitalization and became more and more noticeable with each passing day. His constant anger began to lessen. His emotional resilience, which was completely absent before, grew stronger with each passing day. His constant tendency to fly off the handle at the smallest thing grew strangely absent. His ability to feel and receive love returned. And he had reversed his decision in answer to Hamlet's dilemma. He no longer wished to sleep that endless sleep. As my wife said, it was like getting the personality of our son back before the many years of worsening darkness.
The difference? Medications. Or I should say the combination of meds as it is likely that he would not being doing as well if one of them were absent or substituted. Stumbling onto the right permutation of meds for psychiatric illnesses is one of persistence, luck, persistence, the art of medicine, and even more persistence. I am grateful for him finally finding the right combo to keep him alive, at least for now. Experience tells me that this is not the end, though. This is no cure, only a respite of unknown length. It will be a constant battle for the rest of his life, let alone ours.