It is hard to believe that I wrote that last post one month ago, because I feel like at least six months have passed. Since that last post, I’ve finished a rheumatology rotation and 3 weeks of inpatient wards. And I got married in between! Life is flying by, and I feel like before I know it, it’ll be time for me to go to New York. That thought actually makes me kind of sad because I’m really enjoying my medicine year here. I’m finally starting to feel like a real doctor. Kind of sort of.
There is never a dull moment at my county hospital, and I’m constantly amused/shocked by the things I regularly encounter. The following are some things I’ve learned so far in my 1/12th of intern year (and some of these may surprise you!):
# Meth and other drugs:
I believe my patients, I really do. And when a UTox (urinary test that detects drugs) comes back positive, I give my patients the benefit of the doubt. But I have a feeling that may change slowly, especially after I do my ER rotation. “But doc, I really don’t do meth. I don’t even know where to get it!” is a common one I hear. Another one is, “I don’t do drugs.” Me: “But…your UTox is positive for meth. cocaine. and alcohol too.” Patient: “Someone must have slipped it in my coffee or something when I didn’t notice. So weird!”
… yeah. So weird. So weird that people pay oodles of money to get illicit drugs and then waste it by slipping it into your coffee and giving you a high without you noticing. Hm.
# Say hello to your new pager baby:
Your pager becomes your child. You can’t leave home without it. And you can’t ever not take care of it unless you leave it with a babysitter. Then slowly over time you start to get annoyed when it makes a lot of noise.You fantasize about “misplacing” it somewhere, but you realize that’s very irresponsible and will only get you in trouble. Oh, and sometimes it keeps you up at night.
# Scrubs are not flattering
I’m a small person and scrubs are just extremely large. I look like I’m a child swimming in adult clothing (see my next bullet), not the most flattering look for a doctor. I try to roll up the pants at the waist but I find my scrub pants loosening and sometimes sagging more than I want to as the day goes by. Then I have to run to the bathroom to fix my pants because let’s face it, it’s unprofessional for your doctor to be adjusting her waistband in the hallway or a patient room. It’s a constant battle, intern vs. scrubs. On the upside of things, you never notice when you gain weight.
# I look like a child doctor
After the end of a very serious discussion about goals of care, my patient’s son turned to me and said, “Just one more question that my Mom has for you doc. Did you just graduate from high school?” And then he burst out laughing. All I can say is #foreveryoung and #asiangenes. I thought my wedding ring would make me look older and more mature, but really, I just look like a child bride.
# The Poop Problem:
EVERYONE and I mean everyone has problems pooping in the hospital. Going to the bathroom, or “having a bowel movement,” as we call it in the hospital, is just a plain ol’ regular thing of life, you may think. No. No no. Nearly everyone in the hospital has either constipation or diarrhea, or some combination of both. In fact, every patient I admit, I automatically give them stool softeners, because chances are, if they’re not constipated when they come in, they’ll become constipated once they’ve been here for a few days. I think this is due to reduced mobility in the hospital as well as increased pain meds that slow down your bowels. Either way, everyone has a problem “going,” and it is something I am thinking about more than I ever thought I would before this year.
I was going to do 10 of these but my pager keeps going off so I think I should tend to that baby now. More to come!