Not much action here. I’m getting better at predicting what the chief’s plans and the attendings’ plans will be for the various patients. The medical students are asking questions I know the answer to (means I must have learned something since the beginning of the year). I have the most gracious, polite, grateful group of patients I’ve met all year. They’re too sweet to be true; they greet me cheerfully at 4:30am – which somehow makes me feel even guiltier than if they were grouchy about it. There are all kinds of touching friendships being formed between room-mates, to the nurses’ amazement. The patients’ wives come looking for me in the hallway, which is ok with me, because they call me Dr. Alice, or even Alice, and I’m touched that they know my name. And then they tell the attending that I work too hard – which is lovely of them, but doesn’t do me much good.

If only I could stop myself thinking about the six months still ahead of internship – six months before I can be in the OR on any regular basis – like being told not to drink water for six months – and think about three weeks till the test, that would be much more to the purpose. Last year at this time I used to tell myself, “One day, one day I will be a real doctor, and get to write orders.” Now I say, “One day, I will be a real surgeon, and get to work in the OR.” Surgery interns are expected, when they’ve finished the work on the floors, to come down to the OR, demonstrate interest by watching cases they can’t scrub in to, and be helpful by writing the procedure notes, writing postop orders, and helping to move the patients in and out of the ORs. It’s good that I’m efficient enough to be around the OR more, but it’s not much fun rubbing my face every day in what I can’t do. One day; one day.