The.very.last.rotation.of.medical.school. Which is kind of unbelievable. In one way the first day of anatomy class doesn’t seem so long ago, not a whole four years; but then, I can’t really remember what it was like back then, so I guess it was long ago.

The senior resident is a second year, and hasn’t had a staff month for a long time, so she’s a little rusty and nervous. She and the intern are technically post-call, although since they have night float, they weren’t really in the hospital the whole of last night. It’s now long past noon, and they’re supposed to have left. They haven’t, and they probably won’t any time soon. The other half of the team is helping some, but they can’t do everything, because they’re on call tomorrow, and they’ve got to get their decks cleared for that. So what is the resident supposed to do? She has patients who need orders, ICU patients who need to be checked on and have consults placed, other patients who need to get out of the hospital before they go stir-crazy, and spend another $3000+ on another unnecessary night in the hospital. Just because she’s now over the work-hour limits, she can’t just get up and leave. The work has to be done, and there’s no one else to do it. Work-hours are a neat and clever plan which lack a working mechanism. (But since she wasn’t in-house last night, there’s no need to feel too bad about this story; just the ones like it where the residents were in all night.)

I saw one of the new patients, and then got paged by the nurse for an order because I was the only “doctor” who had a note on the chart. How did she know my pager number? I wish this hospital allowed students to give simple orders, like diets. The nurse knew what she wanted, I even knew that it was a good idea; I had to send her off to bug the resident with yet another page.

Yesterday I suddenly started limping. I can’t figure out why. Of course I’m not going to ask a real doctor for at least another week. Maybe by then it will stop, or I’ll figure it out. I’m walking around calculating, Which hurts more, internal rotation, or external rotation? Flexion or extension? Range of motion is full, so it can’t be too serious. What’s the exact gait abnormality here? It’s impossible to limp through a hospital and not get noticed. I wish I could come up with an explanation to tell everyone who asks me. “Oh, nothing, I’m just limping today, I don’t know why.” Surgeons don’t limp. This better stop soon.

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