The Power of Love – Surgery Style

At MS3 orientation in July of 2016, they warned us about the “slump” in student moral that tends to occur around February of the 3rd year. When the pressure to perform and stress scheduling away electives, deciding on our final career choices, and getting letters of recommendation becomes just too much and we all crumble. Hearing this, I remember thinking to myself “I’ll be on surgery. What a disaster that will be.”

Little did I know that February and March would wind up being my favorite months of all of medical school and that surgery would be exactly what I needed.

I felt the slump starting in January – coming back from my great Australian adventure and landing in the purgatory of the neurology rotation. I had all the signs of a great depression on the horizon. My attitude starting surgery was pretty much “at least now I’ll be too busy to perseverate on how sad I am.”

And then I was hit by the semi-truck that is love and it appears my life will never be the same again.

As I realized that yesterday was the last time I will scrub into the O.R. for a few months, I spent a few minutes reminiscing on some of the revelations I’ve stumbled upon along my recent discovery that I want to be a surgeon:

  • The most dangerous thing about using Meth is that it seems to make you determined to climb ladders.
  • I have never met a group of people as enthralled with the fact that I am left handed as a team of surgeons.
  • Life tip: Don’t get a tattoo you would be embarrassed to have your surgeon see right before they cut you open.
  • I don’t belong on the anesthesia side of the curtain.
  • Nothing screams diagnosis in an exploratory laparotomy like finding a Foley catheter floating in the peritoneal cavity.
  • I’m happier working 14-hour-days on General Surgery than I was working 8-hour-days on Internal Medicine.
  • Lethal triad of death: hypothermia, coagulopathy, acidosis
  • I need to learn Spanish.
  • Food and sleep are not required.
  • The canal stitch is all about bar hopping.
  • Sometimes you suggest a plan, and spend the next 3 minutes hearing how explicitly wrong you are. Other times you’ll get handed the Bovie and told “if you want to take it out, go ahead and take it out.”
  • If you are forced to spend a day in clinic – surgery clinic is the place to be.
  • Surgery life is literally nothing like Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Apparently for Lent this year I decided to give up my dignity (ok, so maybe that part is slightly like Grey’s Anatomy).
  • A patient that leaves AMA because he hasn’t eaten in 12 hours sparks very little sympathy from a team who hasn’t eaten in longer than that.
  • When a General Surgery resident asks you why we’re giving Demeclocycline to a patient with hyponatremia – they’re pimping you. When an Orthopedic resident asks the same question – they genuinely want the answer 😉
  • Don’t drink coffee for the first time in a month right before you scrub in – your Attending will wonder why you’re shaking life a leaf while throwing an anchoring stitch.
  • There’s a real gift in having residents who invest time in teaching you. On the other hand, there is nothing more frustrating than someone who refuses to teach an eager student.
  • If you scrub into the wrong surgery – just go with it.

Perhaps the most important thing that I learned, is that I belong in the world of surgery and I can’t wait to continue pursuing this career.

But first I must conquer my final rotation of 3rd year – Pediatrics ( I can feel the depression setting in already).

xx

-T

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