Trauma is crazy.
I’m not going to tell you how long I spent in the hospital today, but let’s just say that for a day I wasn’t supposed to be on call, I saw an awful lot of the night float people.
Prolonged ICU rounds has got to be the definition of torture for surgery residents. That explains why we all tend to have the feeling that there is something deeply wrong with the attendings, who trained as surgeons, and are still surgeons enough to dive comfortably into trauma bellies and chests, but nevertheless choose to spend their lives rounding on trauma patients.
The day was a long stretch of boredom – staring at my hands while the other residents presented their patients, or staring at my note sheet while the attending slowly wrote his note based on what I had told him – interrupted by wild bouts of excitement: interns running a serious trauma by themselves, by accident, procedures cropping up randomly all over the ICU, a brief trip to the OR for some of us, and one or two patients crashing in the middle of rounds.
I’m going to have to figure out a way to cope with the boredom that doesn’t consist of covertly banging my head on the wall while winking at the nurses and students, or making sarcastic remarks under my breath (in concert with the rest of the team), or frankly walking away and ignoring the ongoing rounds (which is a serious temptation). I think I’ll have to revive the electronic books in my PDA. Which would mean reviving my PDA, which may be beyond my medical skills.
Nevertheless, if I can get past the interminable rounding, this month will be very valuable. I have nearly as many patients as I did on the floors, and they’re all intensive care, which means three times the attention required. I can tell already that I’ll get plenty of procedures, and I’ll become very comfortable playing around with vent settings and pressor arrangements – very necessary for my responsibilities in July.
Oh, and figuring out a way to eat at least one meal in the course of the day would be nice.