Dec 24, 2011

Another month of surg path down

Why are there so many Christmas trees around?

Oh right, the holidays... so today was the last day of work; I raced home, swinging by Charleston Beer Exchange to buy my roommate a "thank you for ferrying me to the airport at the break of day" six pack hand picked by a man with a moustache that said he was up to the job, then home to do the *absolute* worst packing job I've ever done in my life, and now, en route to bed as I wash my last shirt.

Warning to cousins: I may end up wearing bathing suit bottoms and a winter jacket. Not a good packing day for me.

This month has been an interesting one. As I've mentioned, I'm feeling more "getting the hang of it" in surg path. This is partially related to learning how all the systems work and what's supposed to go to what, which is a far greater contributor to competence than... you know... knowing what's under the microscope.

There's a certain logic that's emerging that seems absolutely obvious now most of the time but just wasn't when I started. Example...

My first month on, I had a uterus with potential endometrial cancer. I asked for help and was told to submit as much of the endometrium as possible, since obviously, that's where the cancer is.

So I proudly scraped every bit I could find off to make sure there was no spot unsampled. Bring on sign out... "Do you have any sections showing the depth of penetration into the myometrium?"


"The most important prognostic criterion?"

"Uh... I scraped it off."


(Puppy frown)

Fortunately, the beleaguered attending was able to salvage some unmutilated sample from the specimen, but not a proud day for me. Looking back, I have no idea what possessed me to think that would be a good idea. I wrote some of it down in my notebook so that I never go fully butt wild on a noob because I'm already realizing how much of an idiot I was a whole three months ago. By the time I'm in fourth year, it's going to be insane.

Part of my increasing, let's say "comfort", with my current lot in life is only now realizing that other people are going through *exactly* the same thing I went through.

Ishie, having mastered the art of "track down the screwed up slides" is charging through the halls between the resident on yesterday and the histo lab, is stopped by colleague who looks close to tears.

Colleague: "Um... do you know anything about... um... pancreas?"

Ishie: "Ah... my archnemesis. Not really. Sucks macro; sucks micro, gotta go".

Ishie sees colleague later, who is on hour 4 of read out or what I like to call "staring impotently into a scope until someone either helps you or you panic and then stop caring".

Ishie: "How'd it go?"

Colleague: "I hate pancreas."

Ishie peers in scope... "Breast, eh?"

Colleague: "I have four more... is it bad... I feel like I just don't care."

Ishie: "Diagnostic inertia."

Colleague: "This isn't cancer. What is that?"

Ishie: "I'd probably hedge my bets and call it sclerosing adenosis. It's probably wrong, but shows you were paying attention."

Female voice from dictaphone: "...Goodbye."

Colleague: "No!! You bitch!"


While grossing placentas, which is tedious.

Ishie: "Dammit."

Different colleague: "What?"

Ishie: "This umbilical cord inserts but then, it's membrane bound all the way to the edge, and I don't remember what that's called."

Different colleage: "Where's the actual insertion point?"

Ishie: "Central. What should I call it?"

Different colleague: "Central."


Other colleague: "This is case SP-76-7872, patient's name is Jane Doe. Preop diagnosis of missed abortion. Specimen A is received in formalin in a container labeled with the patient's name, medical record number, and... wait a minute" (presses rewind)

Dictaphone: "Please scan the bar code."

Other colleague scans bar code: "beep"

Other colleague: "GODS. This is case SP-76-7872, patient's name is Jane Doe." (presses rewind)

Dictaphone: "Please scan the bar code."

Other colleague: "I'm going to break this phone."

I have done every single one of these things. It makes me feel peaceful. It also makes me feel good to be the go to girl among first years for prostate. It's a weird source of pride but there you have it. I'm good at prostates. I looked at so many at Brooklyn Hospital that it just stuck, so now I can scan away on forty slides feeling downright zen despite getting twisted into indecisive convulsions at trying to phrase "This guy has a giant icky infected boil in his arm" into pathology speech.

But enough with that! No more surge path this month or this year, and I'm off to see my family! I haven't seen any of them since I took my step 2 CS and my uncle ironed my white coat for me while my aunt took me shopping and my cousins took me drinking. I'm full of awesome sauce for it.

Happy Holidays everyone!!! May your ovaries all stay manageable sizes!!!!

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