As my patient was waiting for surgery this afternoon, I lay in wait for the anesthesiologist, to ask to intubate. I had forgotten that it was this same patient whom I last attempted to intubate, unsuccessfully. As the young anesthesiologist was reading the old op record, he mumbled, “. . . unsuccessful intubation attempt by MSIII. . .” and kind of looked over at me. I said, “Oh yes, that would be me – and please can I try again?” rather unhopefully. He was very nice, and said yes. In the OR, the CRNA asked me whether I’d intubated before. Having gotten in much trouble for trying to slide over things like that, I truthfully said, “Twice, once successfully and once not.” They both told me next time to say very firmly, “Yes.” This time, I got the esophagus. It didn’t feel right to me (not stiff enough), and they didn’t hear breath sounds, so it was fixed quickly, and his O2 sats stayed good, so it was ok. (My father the anesthesiologist says this means I’m normal – par for students.)

Do you know what I realized? If I do surgery, I learn how to intubate, and run codes, and put central lines, and all those cool things. Hey! This is a good idea. I’ll finally learn those mysterious and magical incantations which direct a code, and the numbers to put with those famous drugs, epi and atropine. That was one of the disappointing things to me, that not all doctors really learn that stuff thoroughly. Surgery is good.

On another note: I have so many things to do: Get a PPD taken care of (and the only clinic that will do it keeps such short hours, I can’t think how to get there), call this doctor’s office, call that doctor’s office, write this report, make that speech, fill out this paperwork, pay the latest bills, polish my CV, talk to doctors about letters of recommendation, etc etc etc. I spend so much time in the car and at night making endless lists of things to do, and still only barely manage to remember them. I’ve learned to leave pieces of paper in prominent places, so my family reminds me, and never delete letters from my email till I take care of them. So the verse about not worrying about tomorrow, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” always seemed impossible to me. If I don’t worry about the next couple months, I will get myself hopelessly entangled in broken deadlines. Well, today it occurred to me: the evil of this day includes finishing the chores that need to be done so I don’t get in trouble tomorrow. If I have a speech to give tomorrow, it belongs to today to research it and write a handout. So if I would be organized and do things promptly, I would both obey the verse, and worry less. (Ok, so that’s fairly basic; all right, I’ll grow up eventually.)

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