This probably ought to count as the best day of the year so far, since I spent more time in the OR than I can remember doing since the plastics rotation. I got to do some stuff, too, including laparoscopy. I thought that was completely thrilling, just to be holding a laparoscopic instrument. I’m afraid the attending, who wanted me to move it in a semi-controlled fashion (not careening off the bowel and any other structures in the vicinity, or threatening to), and then actually pick things up and hold them, found me rather frustrating. He was quite nice, and did nothing but make helpful comments as I struggled for ten minutes to both hold the camera, and then at a 180-degree angle, pick up an object and move it in three dimensions. Not unsurprisingly, he did seem relieved when a senior resident arrived to scrub in, and I could be demoted to merely driving the camera, something I am semi-competent at, when it’s the only thing I have to think about. I’m too tickled by having actually tried to do something with a laparoscopic instrument to care how badly I did it. That’s what they get when an intern touches it for the first time. (Although – where is that practice lab? I’m now finally interested in digging around among those abandoned instruments by myself.)

The day was more stressful than I would have thought, for doing something I’ve been longing for to the point of distraction all year, because the chief attending on this new service is another one of those “personalities.” I’ve finally figured out the way they divide services here: it has nothing to do with the subject matter or the specialties, or the number of cases each attending does. The point is simply to give each flamboyant and/or demanding attending a separate service, so the residents have only one person’s demands to concentrate on at a time. This guy is a tremendous surgeon, and very educational, whenever he does teach. But he is at all times very nerve-wracking to be around, because you never know what he’s going to say next, and whether he’s joking, or completely serious, when he makes some incredible statement or command. I took one of his remarks seriously, and he didn’t stop teasing me all day for actually trying to do what he said. Silly me, I guess. Certainly no dull moments here.

But the schedule for the next month seems to show plenty of opportunities for me to scrub, and maybe use a few sharp instruments here and there. So I’m satisfied. Plus, my patient load is less than half of what it was last month, which leaves me feeling quite lost, as though, because I have less work to do, I can’t really work at all. I’m sure that feeling will pass quickly.

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