This should be an interesting weekend. The attending has decided to fight to save a patient who ought, by all rules, to be dead already. Only his youth is keeping him alive right now (from a medical standpoint). The nurses and our consultants can’t understand why we’re not giving up, and are quite disgusted with the prospect of spending months in a long and likely futile battle. The family, on the other hand, is feeling very dedicated; there seem to be about a hundred of them, and they are almost always present at his bedside, very quiet and polite and determined. I only realized this morning, going through a review of systems (on ICU patients, one is supposed to write notes which are organized by system, to avoid missing anything), that he truly has no neurological problems, unlike most patients in this situation. When he’s not heavily sedated, he’s completely present, “in there.” Having gasped that, I couldn’t bring myself to give up on him. He’s a real person, and he’s still with us. Sometimes in the ICU, you feel like the patient’s spirit left a long time ago. Not so with this guy. I don’t know how to explain it to the nurses – who after all will have to do most of the work in this battle – but he’s very much alive, and worth fighting for.

Anyway, this patient is scheduled for a gigantic procedure this weekend – with only me to assist. Considering the dismal state of OR staffing during the week, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like to wade into a difficult case on a critically ill patient with weekend staffing. I was kind of following the attending’s reasoning until he got to that point. Now I give up. “The attending is always right;” that’s all I can say. (Of course, he probably feels the patient will be in worse shape if we wait till Monday to do this; but still.)

I’m getting tired of fighting with the scrub techs and circulators all the time. I know I’m new at the hospital, and they don’t know me at all; but there’s no call for them to be downright rude, or to order me around like a medical student. You know there’s a problem when it’s the scrub tech, not the attending, throwing things. I’m trying to go out of my way to be ultra-polite – please and thank you for everything – but it doesn’t seem to be helping. (Only three weeks to go; only three weeks to go.)

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