One of the things I love about medicine, and especially surgery, is the potential for drama. Everything seemed to be cruising along just fine – although it was the kind of just fine where everyone is saying under their breath, “How come this patient is doing so good? The surgery was so big, I can’t believe he looks this good; when does something bad happen?” And then it did. I was just strolling by, and peeked in to see the nurse about to page me, and the patient tachycardic, tachypneic, hypotensive, and hypoxic. (Medicalese for fast heart rate, breathing fast, low blood pressure, and low oxygen.)

On the other hand, I’m realizing again (as I do about every two months) that I spend my life around sick people. We were talking about one of our patients being particularly crazy, and I thought, When was the last time I talked to a normal person? Yes, most hospital patients are slightly strange in their conversation – they’re in the hospital! And although usually easier to converse with, residents are not exactly normal people either. I tell myself that statistically speaking the majority of the world’s population is neither hospitalized nor medical personnel; but I have a hard time remembering what they’re like to talk to. (I should be doing peds – all those well-child checks. . . Hmm; maybe stick to sick people.)

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