The attendings I’m with this month do some amazing surgeries. Shocking, actually. The procedures are necessary and lifesaving – but also brutal and mutilatory in a way I’ve never seen before, somehow even worse than burn surgery. The med students are standing there looking horrified, and I try to act cool, as though I have any idea what’s going on; but I don’t even know what the next general step is, and I can’t quite believe it when I see it happening.

They gave me the weekend off, and I don’t know what to do with myself. It would really be less boring to be back in the hospital. I want to know whether Mr. A will be any less depressed this morning, how Mr. D’s PE is coming, whether Mrs. R’s mysterious fever continues, and where it’s coming from. I suppose I should clean the house, but that won’t take long. I suppose I should study. That ought to occupy the rest of my time. The surgery intraining exam is in three weeks, and since the senior residents are scared of it, I can only imagine how much trouble the interns are going to be in. At least I get to go to church tomorrow, maybe for the only time this month.

The other day, being at loose ends at lunch time, I fell in with some medicine interns, whom I’ve been friends with since we suffered through ACLS and orientation together, and we sat down to eat in the cafeteria. I was enjoying talking about nonsurgical subjects (such as medical ICU patients – one of the interns was excitedly relating how he had finally gotten to do a central line – and the other interns’ children, and the nonexistence of global warming) when my least favorite surgery chief resident came in, with some other surgery residents. He sat down a couple tables over, and started taunting me for being on the dark side and having forgotten who I was. I said I was being friendly. “Well, don’t be too friendly, or they’ll start calling you to help with central lines.” “They already did,” I said flatly, and he finally left me alone. (I didn’t think it was necessary to add that the last time medicine had asked me for a friendly central line, I failed miserably, and had to be fished out by my senior.)