Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Work went ok last night. One of my attendings was talking to me about how she had a similar setup during her intern year, and spent almost the entire year out of the department before she finally came back. She said that she used to get sick before every shift. That made me feel a lot better, as much of the time I make myself sick with worry.

My shift ended at midnight, but I didn't get home until after 3 am. One of my patients had a posterior shoulder dislocation, which is kind of unusual, so I decided to stay late and help try to get it back in. We were unsuccessful even after sedating him, but apparently the orthopedics team got it on the second try because when I checked his file before I dictated his chart today, there were new x-rays showing it back in place.


Today I just had to go in to the simulation lab for a few hours. I suppose that the sim lab is the only objective way of comparing resident knowledge as all of our interactions are recorded and then we get debriefed afterwards. We're participating in a study to see how the lab simulates real stressors, so when we do our scenarios we have to wear these backpacks with several leads attached that monitor our respiratory rates, heart rates, armpit temperatures (!), and then we have to spit into test tubes before and after each scenario to see if our stress hormone levels are changing. Mine today was pretty challenging. The mannequins are fairly realistic... they can be hooked up to monitors, have heart and lung sounds, etc. There's a couple people behind a mirror that can change the programming in response to the medications we give. My patient was programmed to die regardless of what I did, but I did manage to respond to the scenario correctly. I think I may have even redeemed myself a little in the eyes of the attending that runs the cases.

I would say that I am normally a pretty independent person, but every now and then it is nice to be told that you are doing a good job. There are so many variables in residency that it is hard to know if you are actually at the level you are supposed to be at. And, while it is almost all on-the-job training, a lot of times there is no feedback until you do something different than the way your supervisor would have done it. I haven't really gotten chewed out by anyone, but it sometimes seems like the pats on the back are few and far between.

I read somewhere recently that for every negative comment a person receives, it can take about twenty positive comments to repair those hurt feelings. I don't think that I tend to criticize others a whole lot, but I definitely don't compliment them as much as I should either.


This afternoon, I put on my iPod, listened to Norah Jones, and walked along a frozen lake for about an hour. It was cold, but I was fine as long as I didn't dawdle. There were almost perfectly round mirrors of silver water in areas that were melting along the lake's surface. It just seemed kind of random how certain patches were melting ahead of others. The circles were almost all about the same size, too. The trees are still just skeletons standing around in awkward nakedness, but along the water's edge Canadian geese were happily rooting around in the half-covered grass, finding some sort of new life to munch on.


Oh, and I almost forgot: "The Phoenix" matched at her first-choice program! She's going to be an awesome pediatrician!


Chris said...

Sometimes we all need a nice quite walk alone. Then there are times when we need a silent partner walking with us...not really saying anything, just there.

Spitting into test tubes? Damn, I have hard enough of a time peeing into a cup. The skills tests that you physicians go though.....(ha ha).

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ru said...


hope this week has gone okay for you. been thinking about you and praying for the best.