June 28, 2014

living with pain

Can you tell the difference between these?  Unfortunately, I couldn't.  At 5 am, some things are rocket science until caffeine kicks in.  And I didn't put the deodorant on my back.  I put the icy hot on my armpit.  THAT will wake you up quick.  And I mean jump to it.  I couldn't wash it off quick enough.  My armpit felt burned the rest of the day.

June 20, 2014

how we learn

     The student I'm on with hands me a patient list after a presentation.  "The resident said for us each to pick up one patient."  I grab the list and look at it.  Wait a minute.  These medical record numbers are for a different hospital than the one I'm assigned at.  And the admission date is from 2 months ago.  Something doesn't add up.  I text the resident for some clarification.  He responds, "just read up on their chart.....and good luck finding them."  I look at the schedule and realize we're supposed to be in the morgue in the afternoon.  It slowly dawns on me, these "patients" aren't really patients in any sense of the word anymore.  They are more specimens, really, by this point.

June 13, 2014

does God have a dark sense of humor?

     The resident texts me to go see a particular patient who is new.  That means reviewing everything and getting the full story.  And since I'm on a "consult service" these two weeks, that means I have to figure out why the primary team wants us to see them.  I begin reviewing the chart.  The ER note reads, "A 42 year old male with a recent diagnosis of stage IV squamous cell carcinoma presented to the ER with blah, blah, blah."  Seriously?  My first adult patient in over 10 months and it has to be a terminal cancer patient?  I don't need re-exposure therapy for PTSD.  I'm getting re-exposed plenty fine on my own.

June 7, 2014

     New month, new rotation.  Less than 7 months to go until I am can add those two little extra letters after my name.  My last rotations have been more grad school like classes with seminars and writing papers.  No patients.  It was a nice change for awhile but this month, I'm back to seeing patients.

June 3, 2014

the meaning in suffering

     I'll be a better doctor.  I'll be more empathetic.  I can feel things on a deeper level.  I'm not afraid of death.  These are all things that could be said about what the suffering gave birth to.  But these are active choices of mine.  They are not the meaning of suffering for me.  Read any book on suffering - religious, philosophical, memoirs, classic literature - and they all try to address the meaning of suffering.  Most offer empty platitudes.  I'm not sure there is a meaning.  Or, if there is, I have yet to figure it out.  The closest I'll come to agreement is with Victor Frankl's notion that one must create meaning out of the suffering.  At least I will not rule that out at this point as it has an appeal that leaves it up to the individual.  There is no set answer.  It's up to you to figure out.  For now, though, I'll settle with continuing to put one foot in front of the other. All I can hope for is to survive the suffering.