The Scutmonkey Rules
Okay, I rarely do this-- post passages directly from another blogger. But rarely does another blog actually make me laugh out loud. Which isn't so great if I'm working on my laptop, say, in the middle of Starbucks. People think I'm crazy. But this recent exchange, ever-so-wonderfully captured by Michelle over at The Underwear Drawer, was worth risking a Form 1.
(That 'Form 1' comment was a medical joke. And jokes like that are why I will never be cool.)
So for context, Michelle is an anesthesiology resident in NYC. And this recent OR exchange illustrates what is wrong with the traditional medical mentality:
So of course Joe and I had to work this last week, but thankfully the OR schedule has been somewhat light, with the exception of the orthopedic rooms, because those orthopods just don't know when to stop. Yes, they love doing surgery, and I respect that, but at some point, don't you think that stopping the smell the roses or having outside pursuits is a sign of a fully realized life? Or am I just a lazy turd?Thank God I'm not the only one that thinks that medicine and having a life are not incompatible life goals.
Apparently the latter, according to the neurosurgeons. I was in a neuro case just the other day when the following conversation transpired between the surgical team and myself. They were discussing interdepartmental rivalries between our institution and [Upper East Side Affiliate Hospital]. You know, the surgeons down there talking smack about the surgeons up here and vice versa. The attending surgeons then posed this question.
How about Anesthesia? Did the anesthesiologists down there have some sort of big rivalry with the group up here?
[Who has worked at both hospitals]
No, the anesthesiologists were pretty laid-back.
Anesthesia doesn't have rivalries because anesthesiologists have no ego.
I'm trying to figure out if you said that as a compliment or an insult.
All Anesthesia wants to do is go home! You know they leave at 4pm some days? 4pm!
Um, it's 7pm now, and I'm right here.
(Starting to froth)
I get into work at 4am and leave at 10pm! They get six extra hours in their day! Six hours! That's a whole life!
That's exactly right. That is a whole life. My whole life outside of the hospital.
If all you want to do is go home, why be a doctor at all?
I don't think that wanting regular hours means that you shouldn't be a doctor. I think that having regular hours enables me to be a doctor and something else too.
MICHELLE'S INNER MONOLOGUE
Like a human being.
Ignore us, we're just jealous.
(Mumbling angrily to self)
It's this strange attitude in medicine, this macho thing, that in order to be the best, most committed, most self-sacrificing, most punk rock doctor, you have to basically sell your soul to the hospital. LOOK AT ME IN AWE AND WONDER, FOR I HAVE NO OTHER LIFE. I just don't really get that attitude. I mean, I'm glad there are people like that out there, I suppose. I mean, when it comes down to it, most of us will do what we need to do to take care of a patient in trouble, regardless of what time of day it is. But on the other hand, doesn't it make you a better doctor to, I don't know, take a break once in a while? Or think of it another way--do you want to be operated on at 8pm, the fourth elective CABG of the day, after your surgeon has been awake for the past 30 hours?
("No" and "Hells, no" are both acceptable answers.)
If you want to read more of Michelle's wicked and warped sense of humour, check out her blog at The Underwear Drawer. I only recently discovered that she is also the force behind Scutmonkey, who was the originator of the Twelve Types of Med Students that circulated around my med school class way back when. Check her out. Seriously.