August 23, 2015

good part I

The following is not FACTUALLY accurate. Details have been changed, things deleted, stuff made up, all to protect identity. But it is 100% absolutely true.

     It took less than two weeks. I pull a stool up to the bedside in the ER to get the patient's story. I cinch the curtains shut to try to get as much privacy as possible but they remain impotent against the constant noise of controlled chaos that is a tertiary level ER. It becomes readily apparent after listening for five minutes that this story will not have a happy ending. I explain to the patient what general tests I am going to order, how the process of being admitted to the hospital works, and always end by telling the patient that I am here all night so if they need anything, just have the nurse give me a call. And I genuinely mean that last part. No matter how tired or what time of the night it is, I always answer the phone with a pleasant voice saying, "family medicine, this is Dr Isaac."
     I quickly enter in the admission orders along with a battery of tests to rule out some common things. But I know the most important one - a CT scan - and order it without hesitation. By this point, I have earned the trust of the third year resident so that he had deemed me competent enough to plan my own orders. He will review them to make sure I didn't forget anything but the point of being a doctor is learning to think on your own.
     A couple of hours later, I go home and hurry up and sleep. I only have a limited number of hours to eat and sleep before turning around and coming right back to the hospital. When I wake up, I check my phone for any texts or calls that I missed while sleeping. Staring at me is a text message from my upper level resident saying, "GOOD call on the CT. It's likely cancer."

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