A Day in the Life

I feel that whenever I have a story to share from the chronicles of residency or life it is typically an outlandish outlier from the day to day events of normal life. These patient stories and tales of inpatient medical adventurism are of course entertaining to share with other residents, and useful in doing so to blow off steam. These stories are also typically the traumatic or heart wrenching memories that have a profound shaping effect on our careers and insights as physicians. But, what often gets missed I feel is the mundane days that fill the void between the outrageous tales of crazy and noteworthy patients. I also think we as health care providers get so used to this monotony that we sometimes fail to see just how amazing and equally outlandish our typical normal days have become for better or for worse.
      So I feel justice should be paid to an average day in the life of a resident. One random day while on inpatient medicine I decided to chronicle the entire day. The following is the story of that day. If not for taking note of it, this day would have likely been lost from all memory and would have passed as just another drip of water on my forehead in the endless water torture that is general medical education.

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Updates over Pancakes

        After a little over a week of night float I’m thankful to report that the first night was by far the worst night. The work load is really hit or miss, and I think it depends who is staffing the ER. Some attendings are seasoned walls and can feel comfortable managing a wide variety of things, and will let very few cases slip by and be admitted to the hospital. While others are sieves that tend to let the simplest of complaints warrant an overnight stay. The two major problems I’m starting to see at least at this military hospital is that a lot of staff are pretty young leading to less seasoned staff running the ER, which means more things slip through to get admitted. Second, there are no observation beds in the ER. Other hospitals tend to have a 24 hour observation section off the side of the ER for lower acuity patients. Not here, so again more patients need to be admitted. So in short, some nights the ER might be full and we won’t get a single call, other nights it may not seem that busy, but we are somehow admitting all night long. Read more

The Intern

“What is that?”. “I’m not sure. Whats that smell?”. “I think, ya, that’s fear alright”. “poke it with something would ya, I’m a little worried”. As the two senior attendings examine the body quivering underneath the desk it slowly turns toward them and peers back with swollen, sunken beety red eyes. Only a few months ago these same eyes carried a sheen that could captivate the hearts of his friends and speak only the most heartfelt optimism to total strangers. Now when these eyes glance at people on the street they tend to walk the other way. For eyes like this could only mean that this person intends to either kill, or has been on a meth binge for the last week. In fact the only people that find interest in these once human eyes are the police. Read more