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13 November 2009 @ 04:03 pm
tales of the loneliest little stethoscope  
In the continuing saga of life as a FINALMEDFINALMED...

I often think of little stories to post, but I'm never too sure of how they'll be received. I spend a lot of time staving off boredom and have become expert in the technique of 'leaning against a wall picking my cuticles while waiting for something to happen.' I'm even looking forward to next year, when you are so busy and sleep-deprived that you pass through to the other side and can go out clubbing afterwards. Sure, saying a basic sentence like, "How much is that sandwich?" takes about five hours longer than it should, but that's the price you pay. At least then I'll have something to do. In case anyone was in doubt, hospitals: not the most exciting places in the world.

Then, of course, things all come on in a rush. Like the Day of Cancer, where a man who'd lost his stomach and his voice was told what he already knew: when the doctor talked about 'treatment', he didn't mean 'cure' and he didn't mean 'life,' so he and his wife held hands so tightly the skin nearly broke and he asked the doctor to keep him out of pain. "I can do it," he said, by which he meant I can die, "if I'm not in pain." Pain is scarier than death. (Incidentally, nausea is scarier than pain.) I walked out of there and into a patient whose daughter had died of the same rectal cancer she recently developed, and who wanted no interventions because she'd seen how her daughter suffered. The multi-disciplinary meetings centred around cutting people open, pulling out the diseased bits and trying to poison the rest with chemo. I left early that day and went straight to bed after nearly breaking down at the lunch table. Sometimes this whole thing just gets to you.

Of course, there's also the run-of-the-mill grossness, like The Hamster Story (no! wild horses will not drag that story from me. Unless you're really desperate, in which case I can email it), or gallbladder surgery (my text to Helen: like an ass having a baby). I was told by a consultant that I'd pass my final clinic, like everyone does, but he wasn't impressed with my core knowledge - because I couldn't tell him how much sodium is contained in stomach secretions and how much you'd have to vomit to become deficient in it. Fair enough, I should probably know that.

Mostly it's a laugh, but of the kind that makes no sense unless 'you were there.' Our German tutor today was trying to drag out of my friend how you inject contrast in an IVU (the IV is the hint: intravenously). She knew but, as is often the case, couldn't say it. Her hands were fluttering nervously and he played with her, saying, "In the eye? No, you say? Thanks god!" ... yeah, I don't know, we were in stitches.

It's all Stockholm Syndrome.
Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: city girl // tegan & sara
fugitive from an mgmt videoyeats on November 13th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
driveby comment to say: i work in the medical industry now, but in the publishing side, and reading your posts about training is always fun for me. a little glimpse of the other side, you know?

also, do you have any details about your icon? i'm OBSESSED.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: iconomicons elephant lockscoradh on November 13th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
lol, that just reminds me of something that, again, I doubt anyone else will find funny: the German tutor was asking about the causes of bladder cancer, we came up with the usual suspects (aniline dyes, smoking - always a good fallback - schistomiasis, etc) and then he mentioned lead. Why? It had been newly published in a 'very good article' ... that he'd written. (I guess it's more funny if you saw the way he said it. Sigh. That was a boring anecdote.)

I got it from iconomicons, which ... appears to have disappeared. D: You can blag if you like, though!
fugitive from an mgmt videoyeats on November 13th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
wait - are you doing your studies in germany? (hahaha, no i totally understand; i work primarily with surgeons and that sounded completely like something they'd say.)

thanks, but i really wanted to know the original artist - i am looking for things to put up on my walls and that would be a BADASS print to hang above my bed, lol
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: maskscoradh on November 14th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
No, gosh, I am just about fluent in English. There are a wide variety of non-Irish doctors working here, though.

It's a pity you can't enter it into Google! In these cases I usually ask lj for help. Someone usually knows someone who knows something. :D
Merit: BMSImeritjubet on November 13th, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
In case anyone was in doubt, hospitals: not the most exciting places in the world. You mean there isn't any social drama? How disappointing. I thought it was all sex and scalpels. Though not together unless the people involved are so inclined.

Knowing I do about gerbil urban myths, I'm not going to ask. All I hope is that (if I'm correct about the story) you were not too deeply involved.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: halowrites: metal birdscoradh on November 13th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, there's tonnes of that. Just not the exciting kind. A lot of it revolves around the patients: I WANT MY PATIENT TO GET A BED TODAY. WELL YOU CAN'T THERE ARE NONE NYAH. MY PATIENT IS COLLAPSING IN THE STREET AND YOU SUCK. IT'S NOT MY FAULT THE GERIS NEVER DISCHARGE ANYONE YOU SUCK. That kind of thing.

I wasn't; it was just one of those circulating stories. Short version: PEOPLE ARE CRAZY-ASS.
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Comic: dedscoradh on November 13th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
You are wise. :D

Only barely, m'dear. Although I did manage to notice you and ravurian are posting your Daily Wears - I approve of this! If I had more clothes I would copy you...
peripatetic extemporizations: Bones B&B ellipsehatoyona on November 14th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
I love you and I love these little hospital stories. I am FASCINATED even while you are dying of boredom. And I'm sorry about the Day of Cancer, that sounds truly awful. ♥
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Quotey: princesses save themselvesscoradh on November 14th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
It was pretty bad. But it's the nature of hospitals that you start being surprised when patients get better.

Randomly, I love your icon. I hope they are holding hands underneath it. :D
peripatetic extemporizationshatoyona on November 14th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Forget ever wanting to be a doctor! :( You are very strong.

I like to think so! So much love. :)
a work in progress: top gear: the little car that couldwintersjuly on November 14th, 2009 09:33 am (UTC)
Incidentally, nausea is scarier than pain

lajdlaj YES I AGREE WITH THAT. pain you... get used to? i guess? or something similar, but it's pretty hard to get used to feeling nauseous all the time :/

my friend tells me her nursing stories and they're endlessly fancinating - keep up with the stories (but feel free never to tell me confirm my suspicions about That Hamster Story
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: disco ballscoradh on November 14th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
Yes! Most patients who've experienced both would rather the pain. I'm guessing there may be a social element to it - that people can empathise with pain, but vomit is gross. Or something.

It is kind of amazing how little outsiders know. I've been at it so long I don't realise how much of my knowledge is completely esoteric.
(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
You are so right, it is all Stockholm Syndrome.

-anonmedic xxx
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: 4 Weddingsscoradh on November 15th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
real men love discotakkatakkatakka on November 14th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
you're way braver than I am, I was considering going into medecine and just, no. I can't deal with the ~emotional trauma~ sick people on TV, let alone in real life. (But I'm glad most of it's a laugh? :D)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Kitties: hammockscoradh on November 15th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
A laugh and being incredibly nosy about strangers' lives. The rest of it you look up in a book. :P
Blindmouseblindmouse on November 14th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
I often think of little stories to post, but I'm never too sure of how they'll be received.

Well, I want to hear them; I find them fascinating and entertaining, if so often sad.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fashion: pink bikescoradh on November 15th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
:D ilu.

Very little of it is genuinely heart-wrenching, but there's something about seeing death right in front of you ... it's different when it's happening even the next ward over.