Thursday, July 06, 2006

Version 2.0

Sorry, I fled the coffee shop on Saturday after getting some bad news, so my post wasn't quite done. I have now added in the missing photos. I was having problems with my connection, so I wasn't even aware that my entry had posted.

July 1 was the official start day of new interns almost everywhere across the country. Do yourself a favor and stay out of teaching hospitals for the time being... and certainly don't schedule any elective procedures this month.

Saturday was among one of the worst days that I can recall ever having. We had two hours of lecture that morning, so my plans were to post a quick update and then go home for a 3-4 hour nap before starting my shift at 10 pm.

The computer was not cooperating. I remember that the World Cup was on in the background, and England was playing Portugal. My cell phone rang and I answered it. My mom said to hang on a minute for my father. This never happens, as it is usually my father who passes the phone off.

My father made an attempt at teasing me about my new title. It wasn't funny, and he sounded tired. He then said he had some bad news for me, and told me that my grandmother had died that morning. I felt the blood drain from my face with his words, and it seemed like everyone in the coffee shop was staring at me. I told him I'd call him right back as I couldn't hear him very well.

Once home, I called my parents and found out when the services would be. I paged my chief resident, and waited 30 minutes. I paged her again and waited another 15 minutes. Finally, I called her cell phone and left a message saying that I needed to talk to her, my voice cracking.

I tried to sleep, but couldn't. I tried to gather my things for my shift and spent over 2 hours tearing the house apart looking for the stupid voice pager/phone thing they gave me at orientation. It became clear that my chief resident was not going to return my call, so I got ready for work and drove in.

At the hospital, I learned my chief resident wasn't carrying either her pager or cell phone. Before I could say anything to her, a four-month old infant arrived in cardiac arrest. There were too many people in the trauma room. As interns on our first day, we were barked at to stay behind the red-tape line, and traded off doing chest compressions. Forty minutes later, the baby had a heart rate and had survived long enough to be transferred to the pediatric ICU.

I saw 3 patients that night: breastmilk production most likely due to a new antipsychotic medication, acute abdomen (ruled out appendicitis, most likely is an ovarian cyst), and x-rayed a three year-old for a suspected foreign body aspiration (negative also).

My chief resident had gone home as my shift was starting, so when she came back in the morning, we talked about my scheduling needs. From the resident breakroom, I booked a last-minute flight to Chicago. I went home and slept for about 3 hours and met up with a couple of the other new interns in my program for dinner.

Monday morning, I went to my scheduled workshop, and then caught my flight out that afternoon. I slept a little on the plane, but it was 2 am before I met up with my family and got checked into our hotel rooms.

Tuesday was spent at the funeral home. Visitation hours were all afternoon and evening. Afterwards, about a dozen of us hung out at the hotel bar, swapping stories, and avoiding the subject of the day.

The funeral was on Wednesday. My older brother and I were pallbearers, along with 6 other grandchildren that were in attendance. My younger brother is still in Kenya, and was devastated to hear about our grandmother.

I guess I am still processing the whole thing. Other than one breakdown on Saturday after I got off the phone with my parents, I haven't cried. I think I have just been too tired. My grandmother was exactly 91 and 6 months old when she died. In many ways, we lost her a couple of years ago as the dementia had continued to progress.

She had a heart attack and went into kidney failure about 10 days prior to her death. At the time of her hospitalization, I was only a few hours away. My parents did not tell me about it until after I arrived here. I know that guilt and anger are a normal part of the grief process, but I can't help but be upset. She would not have recognized me had I stopped in to see her a few weeks ago as she hadn't for some time, but I would have liked to see her while she was still alive.

I suppose I'll write more about her later, but right now I have boxes to unpack, reading to make up, dinner at my program director's house tonight, and more reading for tomorrow.

I am way behind on my blog reading, but I suppose it will be procrastinating to look forward to in the future. My appointment for my phone/tv/internet install is on July 10, and it can't come soon enough!


~~Silk said...

You have my deepest sympathies on the loss of your grandmother. May your memories of time with her eventually diminish your sorrow.
Peace ---

Sarah said...

Sorry about your grandma. I imagine that must be hard on you. It was good that you were able to go to her funeral.

Chris said...

My condolences, Kate.

I think a lot of people forget that doctors and other medical professionals grieve too. They just assume you are "used to it".

I hope you and your family are well.

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ru said...

K, so sorry...My heart froze when I began reading your entry. I wish I lived closer to you, but definitely call me if you want to talk.

Blueshift2 said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing.