The OR and ICU staff are coming to the conclusion that I’m crazy. They can’t tell why else I would spend the day with a stupid grin on my face, when all they can see is that I have some of the sickest patients in the ICU, the worst cases on the schedule, get no help with scutwork from the more senior residents (some seniors help, some don’t; mine don’t), and have attendings whose form of praise (I’ve decided) is to come up with more unique phrases to explain how incompetent I am. (I know this because he was doing it today while I was doing a simple job perfectly, so I think he really meant it was nice to have me around so he could say things like that.)

It seems a little embarassing to keep explaining to everyone I see that I’ve been doing more surgery in the last few weeks than ever before, and more complex. After all, it’s hard to admit even to the OR nurses that this is my first time at nearly all these procedures. I’m perfectly happy to have an OR schedule crowded with hard cases, because that means some good ones trickle down to me. I don’t mind staying late nearly every night, because it means I’ve been in the OR most of the day, and have to stay late to catch up on people.

The sick ICU patients are not so great, but at least they’re all still alive, which is more than we expected of some of them. And them being sick is not my fault, not by the remotest stretch of anyone’s imagination, so I can take care of them without feeling guilty for them being in the ICU. (As in, if I had paid more attention, would I have noticed some miniscule fact that would have made a difference in their care earlier.)

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