Sorry folks, nothing useful to say. I’m going through another disillusioned-and-bitter phase; judging by precedent, it shouldn’t last more than a few days. Will return with regular programming then.

(The funny thing is that, even though I feel depressed and bitter and cynical, I’m still known for being cheerful and optimistic. The chiefs are still telling me, “Wait a few years and see if you’re still so happy about everything.” I feel like I’ve turned into all the cynical surgery residents I knew as a medical student, but apparently it doesn’t come across that way – yet. I guess that concluding every consideration of a patient’s worsening symptoms and grim vital signs with the hope that they could still turn around in the next two days has to count as incurably optimistic; and persisting in treating people who complain of pain seriously has to qualify as insanely credulous.)

(Although if they could hear my interior monologue when answering pages, they might understand better. I had another several of my favorites today, calls where the nurse goes on for several minutes, telling you normal vital signs and urine outputs and stating that the patient has taken all their medications as directed, and you keep waiting for some kind of punchline – what’s wrong enough to be worth calling me about? – and there never is a punchline, and you’re left to say as politely as possible, “Thanks for telling me.” Or my other kind of favorite, the one that invariably happens right after I scrub in, while I’m supposed to be prepping and draping, and the circulating nurse kindly answers the page, listens with a widening mouth, and then says tentatively, “Your patient in ICU room three has a pressure of – let me check – 62 over 30, is there anything you would like them to do?” Um, find me a time machine so I can be in two places at once. And the attending cheerfully motions to me to finish draping, remarking that this is one of the purposes of training, to learn how to juggle multiple serious responsibilities at once. Thanks sir, that really helps.) (The patient did very well in the end. I never calculated pressor doses that fast before.)

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