Sunday, November 18, 2007

Slow, Deep Breaths

Tomorrow I start my four-week rotation through the ICU. I am somewhat anxious about it, as I am going to be the senior resident on the service (ha!) with some poor medicine intern to help/hinder me. Every 3rd day will be a 27-hour work day, after which I will go home, try to enjoy part of the day, work a normal 8-hour day the day after that, and then show up for another 27 hours. Repeat this about nine times. No actual calendar days where I am not physically in the hospital at least for some part of the day.

The ICU is not my favorite place. It is where we keep all of the actively dying people. Many times, their loved ones are completely unaware of just how sick they are. Sure, there are people that recover, sometimes miraculously, but often it seems to be a slow, steady decline. A decline over days and weeks, in which one gets to know a patient's family. I remember the rotation from medical school as being a month of terminal weans from ventilators.

It is also a good rotation for learning. There are a lot of bedside procedures to be done, and I am definitely going to be challenged to make quick decisions and know my own limits. There will be an attending physician on call at night, but they aren't even in the hospital.

I was talking with one of our chief residents about his experiences the other day and he said, "Well, you are either really going to learn a lot, or there's going to be a lot of people dying and you won't have a clue why." Great, I can't wait to get started.

1 comment:

ru said...

Your job never fails to amaze me--and I'm impressed by your ability to deal.