For reasons unclear to the other residents and me, our team of attendings decided to operate like crazy on New Year’s Eve, while all the other attendings took a well-deserved holiday. So we spent the whole day running around wildly in the OR. At least I did. The chief ran around, but calmly. Most of the attendings were content to let us sort out for ourselves how the three of us were going to cover four rooms, but one attending, clearly of the opinion that his cases were the most important (they were indeed the most educational) seemed to think he needed the chief there to operate, and me to learn. It’s kind of tricky not to get in trouble when the chief says to go one place and the attending wants to know why you’re not somewhere else. Oh well.

The end result of the holiday season is that I spent more time in the OR, more actively involved, than I have in the past six months. I know it’s going back to normal now, and it will be another six months before I get to live in the OR again. But it was good while it lasted. I had forgotten just what a whirl it is, to try to finish a full day’s work of patient management (morning rounds, orders, calls from the nurses, discharges, post-op rounds, consults back and forth) while also completing a full OR schedule. This OR is efficient, so there’s enough time to do maybe one job completely in between cases. But that completely negates any chance of eating/drinking/sitting down in between.

I “assisted” with some laparoscopic cases. Assist in quotes, because if I didn’t absolutely hinder the proceedings, I wasn’t far off it. Another attending walked in and demanded, from me, whether I was endangering the patient, in which case he would scrub in, or whether I was actually being useful. Talk about a “have you stopped beating your wife yet” question. I can’t claim to be useful, because I have an accurately poor opinion of my laparoscopic skills, and I would hate the attending who’s suffering from my assistance to think I’m boasting or lying wildly; but I really don’t want to say what I’m afraid is true, that I’m no use at all, because I don’t want to scrub out. The attending I was with kindly observed that he was almost done, which meant I hadn’t obstructed anything too badly. At least he let me assist a second time, for which he earned quantities of merit, no doubt.

The night looked to be quiet, until all the surgery residents on call tried to do something specific, like two bedside procedures at once, or eat dinner, at which point hell broke loose. As could only be expected for New Year’s Eve, so we weren’t disappointed.

Somewhere in the haze that starts after spending 20 hours in the hospital, I agreed to take an extra Saturday call for a colleague. In the light of day, I can’t believe I did that. I just arranged to spend three straight weeks in the hospital; every single morning at 4:30am in the hospital; not a single day without waking up to an alarm clock. Tsk, Alice. But I used to say that I would do things like that to let colleagues be with their families; so I’ll stick to it. Maybe something interesting will happen.