Jul 3, 2011

White coats obtained, time for a three day weekend

So I dunno how much of this blog is like "Shut up with your whining already" and how much is like "Shut up with you're 'my life rules' crap", so I'm just going to go with the latter because on the odd periods that I give in to complete egocentricity and reread previous entries, the whiny ones are where I want to slap myself the most. Plus, I don't feel whiny right now, because dude... I'm not sure when the other "this residency can't be this good" shoe is going drop, but it hasn't yet, and they're long past the point of needing to lie to us.

It's various stuff coming together too. I've had some nastiness in my life where it seemed like the forces of nature converged to make everything suck. Oh, you're out of money? Well, this seems like a good time for your car to break down. While you're walking to a phone booth (they had those back in my day, you damn kids)? Good time for someone to yell stuff out a window at you and then it starts raining.

This is like the reverse of that. My colleagues are awesome; I like all of them. Unless you count the discriminating finesse of the match (aka, the blind dartboard of chance), the hospital has nothing to do with that. The hospital is gorgeous. The other residents are nice. The attendings are friendly. They have parties, like, a lot. The hours aren't horrible. My insta roommates on Craigslist turned out to be great in a house I like, a situation which I really threw myself into without much of a safety net, and easily could have ended in a spectrum of awful from "meth lab" to "human skin suit". Stephen Colbert randomly shows up the day I start residency.

It's not *completely* random, granted. Homeboy is from here, and the school has a Colbert library for a reason, but I tried for two years in New York to cross him off my NYC bucket list along with the Daily Show to no avail, and boom, he shows in Charleston on July 1st.

Scored tickets to that, because, really? and then as I was sitting in the best altitude sickness seats that thirty dollars could buy, the interviewer came on stage and said "Stephen would like to welcome everyone to the lower seats" or something like that, so I ended up 5-10 rows from the stage. And he talked for two hours. And did a song and dance from Strangers with Candy. The whole time I had a complete doofus grin on my face.

Today was the full GME party (as opposed to the outgoing residents' party, the welcome to our department party, and the late fourth of July party next week) and it was held at a marina. After discovering the open bar and caterers walking around, I walked to the end of the pier to a pod of dolphins that was just chilling.

I keep expecting to wake up in some dystopian nightmare strapped to a wall explaining to a man in a metal clown mask that I was in a beautiful world where I could tie Stephen Colbert and dolphins together logically without performing questionable genetics experiments.

Awesome ones though. Note to self: satirist/dolphin hybrids. Good idea or great idea?

Farmers Market and beach, also quite nice.

But enough of that. Residency.

Like in your fourth year of medical school, once you've decided on a specialty (or have matched into a specialty), you become intolerant of anyone distracting you with stuff that's unrelated to it. This is a problem during orientation because if you're not in primary care, you are going to spend a lot of time trying to surreptitiously check facebook while being taught the software for assigning prescriptions to the outpatient clinic, a skill I will need precisely never. Similarly, orientations involve a lot of stuff that is probably important in some broader scale, but the people at whom they are directed are not going to take them seriously either, so everyone just ends up pretending to pay attention. Examples? Drug abuse and sexual harassment. Is it important not to steal drugs from the anesthesia cart while asking your patient what she's got under her gown? Certainly. Is a talk going to deter someone? Probably not.

Our sexual harassment guy was pretty cool though. Not only did he focus on the bizarre problem of hair touching (WT-holy-F), but he referenced Sexual Harassment Panda. On the first thing, despite the answer of "When is it appropriate to touch a colleague's hair?" being "NEVER", I feel like my answer "When it's dangling into a patient" should have gotten at least half credit.

But let this all be a lesson to you people out there. Do not pet the hair of people you work with. Addendum, you're freaks.

July 1st was the official start date, so we got oriented to our actual departments so that was extremely exciting. We got our laptops (my Grenada laptop made it to the end! Against all frigging odds!!! Infected by viruses with *no* battery left and unable to close, it lived long enough to see me to a departmental laptop. Rest, sweet, computer. You have earned it.). We got books and a microscope. We have an interns' pen to ourselves that has about eight cubicles that are large and have a ton of desk space, and the common area has a fridge, microwave, two coffee pots, and a water cooler just for us. It is fantastic. I did sign out with an attending and resident in the morning, which reinforced how much I need to study (Mystery tissue. Fallopian tube. Mystery tissue. Mystery tissue. Thyroid. Mystery tissue. Fallopian tube. That can't be normal. And no, dorks, not struma ovarii). Different cases.).

Afternoon, I had frozen sections but the day before a holiday weekend is not generally a heavily hit surgery day so spent part of my time learning how to click around Windows 7 at my desk, and the rest of the time haunting the gross lab to see how things are done.

Here's a thing I realized about myself that I'm trying to fix. I feel like book-smart wise, I can handle it. If I don't know how tissues look, I can study them effectively. If I don't know how to gross a spleen, I'll ask someone and learn and do it well. I can learn diseases and be good at all that.

I am absolutely *useless* at the general functional stuff. I was that medical student that wandered wide-eyed around the hospital clutching a piece of paper that had been passed off to be by someone because I had no idea where to put it, who to give it to, or who to ask. I get lost in hallways. I have no idea what the chain of command is. These are things that take me from seeming smart to seeming completely infantile, and usually, it leads to someone yanking whatever I'm holding away after I've had it for two hours, going "Oh for goodness sake!" and then putting it in a file basket that was five feet from where I started and has a sign on it with red font that says "ISHIE, PUT PAPER HERE" and a clip art image of me slamming my head against a wall.

So my New Year's resolution, since for residents, the New Year is July 1st, is to observe the day-to-day function stuff carefully and deliberately early on, so that I may be less of an idiot later. We'll see how it goes.

In other news, I continue to hate confrontation passionately, because I like fulfilling the stereotypes of my specialty. I live in a for-real house now that features a side yard that has a gate to it from the sidewalk. Today, Roommate B and I heard a lot of rummaging we mistook for the mailman that turned out to be a guy that had helpfully let himself through the gate into our side yard and was scavenging the trash because someone in our place just moved out, so he was collecting cds and perfume and such.

After several minutes of careful deliberation on how to handle someone trespassing and scattering garbage, and discounting such barbarous behavior as simply yelling "Hey jackass; get off our property" out the window, we decided that the most polite and ladylike way to handle the entire unpleasantness was to let Roommate C's Rottweiler out the back door.

In our defense, there was still another fence between the guy and the dog.

So let that be a lesson to you. Ms. Manners says, "Release the hounds."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on graduating! I am just starting my adventure with SGU beginning next month. Any advice for the long road ahead? Thanks in advance! =)