I may still spend a fond thought on ob/gyn as a career (why, I don’t know; it’s not like the hours, which are what scare me about surgery, are any better there), but I have absolutely no doubts about internal medicine and all its cousins. Every other day, when I get a beautiful recruiting postcard from Idyllic Country Hospital Family/Internal Medicine Residency Program, I have just a moment of angst: boy that sounds like a sweet schedule; boy I bet those residents have much more pleasant life than any surgery resident in existence; what idiotic logic is not letting me apply to this gentle, happy residency program?

Because it’s boring. I spent all morning today seeing patients. (Ok, so it took me 45 minutes to see each patient, due to time spent explaining my quandary to the nurses – and every time one of those helpful Bright Colored Shirt people would pop up, determined to fix the problem – and I would have to explain again that no, it’s not that my password doesn’t work, and no, it’s not that I omitted to get fingerprinted, it’s that I’m not allowed on the computer, and now would you please break the rules against sharing computers, and let me have it for thirty seconds? And the nurses, bless their hearts, always gasped at the concept that medical students would be left out of the loop, and let me have the computer – when they were done charting, ten minutes later.) Anyhow, I had forgotten how much it drags to spend all morning trudging from floor to floor, looking at one ventilated patient after another, writing the same note time after time (“No new complaints [pt is intubated]. Continue current antibiotics for 21st day.”) And then in the afternoon, nothing to look forward to but one consult after the other, nonurgent. See, at least with surgical consults, there’s the prospect that you might need to do surgery, and might even have to do it in a hurry. But with medicine consults, it’s slow, there’s no pressure, because the only thing that will change with time is the attending’s schedule.

In surgery you round early and late and fast, because there are surgeries to get too. That’s the reason for the wild schedule, and it’s compensation and motivation for everything.

All my patients are diabetics and have MRSA infections of their toe, and podiatry is going to cut it off. The end. But the fellow is very pleasant.

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