I Love my Job
And not just because the hospital is air conditioned while the rest of the world (including my house) is sweltering in the second straight week of temperatures in the mid-thirties coupled with smog and Humidex advisories. But that helps.
And as an aside, what is up with the freaking Humidex? If the Humidex makes it FEEL like it's 43 degrees, don't tell us that it's 34 degrees with a Humidex of 43... just tell us the bottom line. It's not like anyone walks around in a humidity-free bubble. It's like the windchill in the winter-- there's no point in reporting the temperature as -10 if the second you step outside a blast of icy wind makes it "feel like -20". If it FEELS like -20, it's -20! No?
Okay, I'm over it. But working 10 hour shifts nearly every day last week (they nicely gave me Wednesday off to attend my academic half day... and yes, I'm rolling my eyes as I say this) was much more tolerable when it was viewed as an escape from the heat. I need air conditioning in a big bad way.
Oddly enough, we haven't seen that many people come in with heat-related illness. In the past week, though, I've seen some interesting stuff. Although I have to admit, I feel somewhat sheepish posting about the 'interesting' stuff I've seen when I read Fingers and Tubes in Every Orifice, a kick-ass blog written by an emerg doc in the US. A regular shift for him sees more action than two weeks in this mid-sized Canadian town. On one hand, I'm envious-- I may go through an entire career without seeing a gunshot wound. But on the other hand, the constant adrenaline rush that comes from dealing with trauma must grow tiresome at best... lead to early burnout at worst. I don't know if I'd be able to cope.
So yes, I've managed one or two 'life or death' type situations. A woman came in with a ruptured thoracic aneurysm last week, just a few minutes before the end of my shift... I got to tube her, start her central line (my first one unassisted!) and more or less run the code under the watchful eye of the emerg attending. She died, but not before a daring vascular surgeon attempted an emergency thoracotomy in the middle of the ER, unwilling to wait the 10 minutes it would take to open up and staff another operating theater. She coded three times in the process before someone finally conceded defeat.
Most of the docs let me work pretty independently. Which is cool, because I'm gaining so much more confidence in my skills.With the exception of peds and neurology, both of which make me feel like a useless tit, I rarely feel like I'm in over my head. I've diagnosed a first-outbreak genital herpes in a middle-aged woman who had been treated (unsuccessfully) for a UTI and a yeast infection before she landed on our doorstep. I've seen an anterior uveitis in a young guy with ankylosing spondylitis, although it took quite a bit of fumbling with the slit lamp to do so. I've caught both a peritonsillar abscess and mono on nothing more than a hunch, and managed to catch a fractured shoulder that my staff missed on first pass. I'm not exactly saving lives, but I'm starting to feel like I might be able to eventually.
And on that note, the match website for the emergency medicine third year for family practice residents is up. Here we go again. My new match day is November 2nd. Wish me luck.
Labels: emergency medicine