I discovered for the first time today (at least as a doctor) that it is possible to be tired of doing surgery. Of course, the fact that I spent enough time in the OR to reach this conclusion was wonderful. I also hope that when I progress to doing something more than holding one instrument and (this is what distinguishes me from the medical student) having to stay alert enough to agree when the attending says, “Don’t you think this is the right place to cut?” or “I don’t see anything else bleeding, do you?” and so on, I will have more stamina. Today I tried falling asleep again in a dark OR. Fortunately the only thing I was supposed to be doing was holding pressure on something, and since the attending didn’t say anything, I figure I managed to both hold it and stay standing up while sleeping.

Later on, after placing a few foundational sutures in a difficult wound closure, the attending handed me the instruments and said, “Ok, finish it up, just don’t disturb those stitches.” I don’t really remember now how or why I had the scissors near that suture, but of course I cut it. Fortunately by this time the attending had given up on getting out in time to do anything else with his day, so he wasn’t really upset, but he certainly gave me a hard time for the rest of the day about openings in Outer Mongolia for surgery residents who can’t handle sharp objects. Hilarious. I knew he wasn’t angry, and it was entertaining the rest of the OR staff, so I didn’t care.

It’s nearly the end of the month, and it’s still a good thing that February is a few days short. I’m ready to move on to something else, since these last few days have been pretty stressful. I have high hopes of March (as I do for every new month). I will enjoy the independence that comes from working alone at night, and the freedom of not having to round on a set list every morning. The other residents on nights next month are great people, and I think we’ll have fun. Our senior resident is one of the ones who believes in surgeons doing as little work as possible, and he tries to prevent the residents from doing unnecessary work (ie, he hates admitting patients who don’t need surgery). He should make a great supervisor.

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