Neurosurgery will be . . . interesting. In the first three hours this morning, I managed to -print a large book’s worth of files by accident – get called a “chick” by the attending (which was still better than being called an idiot, which was the only other thing he could have learned from our phone conversation)  – get called unenthusiastic by the junior resident -and pull three JP drains (foot-long white pipes with small holes in the sides to suction fluid through) out of people’s heads, which is uncanny in a way that abdominal drains can never be. (The junior resident was trying to drop his call pager on me, and keep me in the hospital for the holiday, when the chief had sent me home. At least that’s how I’m reading the series of very conflicting instructions I got this morning. We’ll see tomorrow whether I interpreted the tea leaves correctly.)

At least the service is organized rationally, from my point of view. The general surgery intern rotating on the service is assigned to see the patients who are consults from trauma, which is the group of patients whom I really need to learn about, for practical purposes. It was also this group which was responsible for the general grumpy attitude of the team this morning, since Labor Day weekend + good weather = way too many young men with head injuries requiring surgery, in addition to the usual population of elderly people on coumadin with subdural hematomas.

I got called nice again too, and this time it wasn’t a compliment. You can’t properly assess the neurological status of many neuro ICU patients without, literally, screaming in their ear; which I can’t quite manage – yet. So the nurses threw up their hands at my neurological exam, and came and yelled at the patients for me. Dramatic improvement in findings. . . At least the chief was having trouble with that too. He was talking to the patient’s deaf ear; no wonder he wasn’t waking up.