April 30, 2016

little m, little d

     The overhead page declared the need for a doctor to be present at the final moments of birth.  Again.  I excused myself from the woman in triage, who's need for medical attention just became much less urgent than the woman about to deliver.  As I trotted down to the delivery room, out of the corner of my eye I noticed EMS bringing in another pregnant woman.  Judging by the screams, she was in no small amount of pain.  And judging by the size of her belly, she was pretty much full term.  I entered the delivery room but was beat there by the OB resident.  She asked me to go check on the new one in triage.
     Back down to triage I go, consent already in hand knowing this woman was going to be delivering tonight.  As I approached the triage desk, the nurse already had her arm outstretched with her finger pointing back down the hall telling me she was already in a delivery room.  Back down the hall I go, my back beginning a litany of curses.  I enter the room and the delivery nurse, who has been at this much, much longer than I have, orders me in a firm voice, "gown up, this baby is coming now."
     And she was correct.  I got my sterile gloves on and she started pushing.  Not wanting her to tear, I quickly forgot about the gown and gained control of the head and the situation.  The amount of blood and other fluids that would be on my scrubs didn't seem to matter at that point. The baby was out within minutes without any complications.  As I turned to have someone help me with the cord, usually another resident or at least a med student to deliver the placenta, I realized I was all alone as far as MDs.  Just as I was finished the cord and placenta and began to make sure the uterus had stopped bleeding, the OB attending popped in.  "Everything ok?"  I don't think they like to look in the room and see only a family medicine resident without one of their own present.  "Just fine."  The delivery nurse confirmed that everything was under control. 
     My wife jokes that until I finish residency, my MD is a really a lower case md.  I have to earn that the right to capitalize it.  I think I earned a bit of that uppercase that night.

April 28, 2016


I walk into the call room, enjoying the mild muffling of the constant noise that a hospital brings. It's not a complete silence but it's close enough. I open the door to the bathroom and I am greeted by this scene.

I'm not even sure where to begin with this. I've been to the ER multiple times and hospitalized once forcing me to miss an entire rotation necessitating the need to repeat it. One ER doc suggested frequent irrigation of the now mostly healed wound. This is a hospital. Cleanliness ought not be a goal on par to the task of the Mars Rover. But when a toilet occupies the shower, words escape me. Specifically, a flow of four letter words escape my mouth. What maintenance person does this?

I move the toilet only to find the handle does not work. It slides on and off as easily as a toilet fits in the shower. But it fails to turn the water on or off. I pull a pair of rusty old pliers out of my backpack (don't ask) and use that to turn the shower on and off. 

I finish my shower hopefully thereby avoiding another ER visit but not without wondering about trying to keep one's sanity in a hospital such as this. 

April 14, 2016