It’s a bad day. I discharged my poor fellow with terminal cancer – again. We ended up crying and holding each other’s hands, and it was all I could do not to hug him, because if I had he would never have let go, and I would have dissolved, and it would have been too hard to go on to the next patient. The fact that he’s a little demented and doesn’t remember the details of our conversations doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to him.

Another patient, a good ways out from a big surgery, had a major setback today. We were all crushed. We thought he was good, he was flying, he was going to be a success, almost ready for discharge – and now this. So utterly disappointing.

I keep doing stupid little things; nothing major, I just can’t seem to get the details right. I feel like an idiot, and like everyone else thinks I’m an idiot. It helps a little when the OR nurses say things like, “Oh, here’s Dr. Alice! So nice to have you today!” But really, it doesn’t matter if people like me, if I can’t do my job as well as I ought to. Being friendly isn’t a substitute for getting things right, because people’s lives depend on me – and will do so even more next year.

And tomorrow, I’m assigned to a case which has an 85% chance of turning into a real mess. The other interns and I have been playing hot-potato with this scenario, and I lost. Hopefully we’re overestimating the potential for all-around trouble; but with our luck so far, we’re only underestimating.

And I have a beautiful controversy on my blog, and I don’t have time to write as much as I want to.  :S

But I am still thrilled to be doing surgery. I’m just getting to realize what fun it is to have spent an entire year (mostly) on surgery, not rotating through other things like medicine and peds and neuro. So nice to be out of medical school and able to throw all my energy into one area. (And seeing how little all that has accomplished, it’s a good thing I haven’t had any more to work on!)