Justin just called to say goodnight. He's on general surgery now at the VA and says he's been busy all night, though rumor had it this was the "easy" service and that he might get to sleep tonight. He jokingly says he's got a black cloud over his head--he's a magnet for disaster. Even one of the residents he worked with sometime a few weeks ago said the night they worked together he saw the most bad stuff all at once that he'd ever seen in 6 or so years of doing this work.
Anyway, Justin said, "No one's died yet, so that's good."
"This is the standard we're going by?"
"Yeah, well, not on my watch at least."
For the past three days he's been on general surgery at the VA; so far the most disgusting stories in my opinion, mostly involving the colon or things that are attached to the colon. yuck. And unfortunately, if I see Justin at all it's usually at dinner time and so those are the stories I get to hear.
Anyway, I promised Justin I'd keep track of his medical school experience because between his sleep deprivation and my short-term memory issues we're not quite sure how he'll know how to pick what he applies for when the residency thing finally happens.
So far he's been doing the surgery rotation. It's 12 weeks. I hate it. First he had....hmmm.... trauma?.... which he found exciting, something about holding an arm and putting it on ice or something (yeah, detached from the body). Then he had orthopedics, which he also liked--perhaps that's why I have the order mixed up; I can't remember when the arm thing happened. And then there was neurosurgery (which we thought he would like, because he likes neurology and because of his mom's brain cancer and all that), but he didn't. Yay! It's the first thing he hasn't loved in medical school, which meant we were finally narrowing things down.
One of the problems in figuring all this out though, is that part of what he likes or doesn't like includes the team he's working with, the hours he's keeping and the amount of actual work he does (holding a detached arm--fun, watching someone else mess with someone's brain--boring). So, I have to remind him that the teams will always be different and his involvement will increase with knowledge, so he has to really focus on the actual work.
In that case, he's leaning toward family practice (I told all of you that I'd be the one to marry a doctor who makes no money--he's pledged he'll still do the free clinic). He likes the contact with patients who actually walk through the door on their own power, he likes seeing repeat visitors and he 's realized he might not necessarily have to deal with HMO BS if he works in a big group. He does family practice once a week in the afternoon (whether or not he's been on call or about to be on call...) now and comes home happier than after a day of surgery.
He thought about ER for a while, but all the drunk/high people got annoying. Go figure. I still think it suits him best, and the hours are good. We've heard.
I just can't let him forget that he hated the surgery hours--he wakes up at 4 a.m. Last week, when we had a dinner together we realized that in the past 7 days we'd seen each other awake for 5 hours. One of his residents (?) said, "You know it's bad when your kid asks, 'Mommy, where does Daddy live?'"
Not to mention, he only has 1/2 of a left foot (thanks a lot Marine Corps. I'd gladly trade the handicapped parking placard for Justin to go a day without pain), so the hours spent standing in surgery just really don't work. I want his foot healthy, so we can take walks and hold hands. (doesn't go so well when he has to use his cane)
And that's med school so far. It's supposed to be that they only do 36 hours shifts, but it's lies, all lies.