In the Life of a Fickle Intern

April 26, 2012


Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 18:28

I came home from work fuming the other night after getting in a verbal rift with this lady. She was rude, obnoxious, and quite honestly, just an overall brat, to be PC. I actually deal with people like this more often than not, but usually, I am decent at keeping my composure to handle these situations in a professional way. For whatever reason, I lost it and let myself get involved by responding as negatively to her as she was to us. (To dampen any overly active imagination out there, I only told her to consider changing her own attitude when she told me that I needed to change mine.) Though she did say some other rather offensive things and I was rude and angry, I was mostly upset at myself for allowing such a confrontation to even evolve. As the professional, I felt (retrospectively) that I should have been the better person. Instead, I argued with her and then chose to ignore her, which only made it worst. She wasn’t even a patient!

These last two months have been kind of eh and I definitely feel like I’ve been in a rut, not enjoying things as much as I have and not motivated to do much outside of work. As if this event was the tipping point, I started questioning my jaded-ness, my motivation to do medicine, my professionalism, my patience, etc. It doesn’t take much to annoy or anger nowadays, especially obnoxious patients. With a few days off, I definitely did a little too much thinking. It’s just not who I am so it made me a little worried that I was losing some of the initial energy and excitement and even my love of this dang, sometimes rather-unrewarding, frustrating, and challenging job that I have chosen.

Coincidently, as if it was meant for me, during the MD ACEP conference today, there was a great lecture on working with the difficult patient and how to maintain your cool in situations where you just want to punch someone, and more importantly, how often we will get these patients in the ED. Though the lecture was self-explanatory, it reminded me that 99% of the people who do what I do has felt this way at one time or another. It just reassured me that I am not a terrible person.

Whether it was having three days off, or hearing the lecture today, or having time (and motivation) to start working out again, or reconnecting with my friends who I haven’t seen outside the hospital in what seems like forever, I feel a lot better. I think it was probably all of the above, but sometimes, I need to be reminded that I have a life outside of work, especially when work is wearing on me.

April 22, 2012


Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 20:44

I am not a queasy person, at least not anymore. Even vomit doesn’t set off my gag reflex as it once did. I have seen some very gross and disturbing things at work, but usually, I think it’s kind of cool.  However, the other day, after unwrapping a wound on a face, I took a peek and literally ran out of the room gagging even though I was fairly warned by the patient’s family.

It was my first case of maggots! White, fat, crawly maggots in a wound, burrowing themselves deep in the necrotic tissue. It was so amazingly gross. After hyperventilating for a good five minutes trying to tell my attending about what I saw, I had to go clean out the wound. My attending, in not so many words, pretty much told me to man up. I dragged another resident to come help and we attempted to drown out as many as possible with hydrogen peroxide and then picked out the rest with tweezers, one by one. There were at least 20+ maggots! The initial shock wore off and by the end, it was almost kind of fun. Almost. There were maggots all in the sink, crawling up the sides. It was gross.

Despite taking an extra long shower that night when I got home, for a good day or so afterwards, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something crawling on my skin.

Intrigued, I did a little bit of research on Dr. Google and found that maggot therapy is surprisingly well studied, both (semi-) scientifically and not. I only skimmed some of these articles, but apparently, there are medical maggots and natural maggots. Medical maggots are sterilely grown in lab to be used to debride wounds. Though the practice of using maggots is mostly replaced with antibiotics and whatnot, it’s still really popular in some parts of the world. It’s kind of interesting.

Now I just hope that the next time I encounter this particular problem, I will be a little more professional. Oops.



April 7, 2012

Pedi-Geriatric Emergency Medicine

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 11:15

I’ve made up my mind. I want to practice Pedi-geriatic emergency medicine. I want to work with kids under the age of 13 and adults over the age of 65. They are my favorite people to see in the ED. In a way, they’re very similar – they have no idea what’s going on, they’re usually super cute, and most of the time, when they come in sick, they’re very sick. I am biased because I judge my patients on how huggable they appear to be and that is how I came up with my age bracket . (Disclaimer: I don’t randomly hug patients, though to be honest, I do think about it sometimes!) Unfortunately, this is a made-up emergency specialty. You can specialize in one or the other, but at this point in time, no such specialty exist. Maybe one day when I’m older and wiser and more experienced, I can request only to see cute kids and old adults as part of my contract. You never know!

Glad to be back in an ED this month.



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