Saturday, October 11, 2008

All in a night's work

Last night had to be the most challenging for me since the beginning of this wonderful journey otherwise known as intern year. All in one night, I...

... sat by a patient's bedside for nearly an hour as I drained nearly 4 liters of fluid out of his belly. In that time, I got used to his smell (he was homeless and probably hadn't seen a shower in a good amount of time), and got to know his story (a Vietnam veteran who has been homeless for almost 30 years).

... had the same patient nearly give me a heart attack when he starts getting all seriously sick on me. Seriously. And this happened in my 27th hour on call. Yeah, 27th hour. Yeah, like I'm thinking properly at that point.

... seen and smelled the worst smell ever and something that no one should ever smell, or, worse, smell like. I guess that's one of the things that can happen to you when you're 400+ pounds.

... realize that a Spanish-speaking patient doesn't not understand me - rather she just refused to answer any question directly. Me: "Do you have pain?" Her, about a minute later, "Oh, I think I have pain on my hand, and phlegm in my throat. Can the phlegm cause a heart attack?" Not kidding you.

So yeah, not a pleasant night. Now, I'm awake and I don't know if it's better to just stay awake or to actually go to bed. And what day of the week is it? It's a question I ask almost all my patients (you'd be amazed at how many get it wrong), yet sometimes I have to reconsider and think to myself. Yeah, it's a Saturday, a "leisurely" day for most of the population - unfortunately a population to which I do not belong.


Charakan said...

27 th hour??? That is too much. During my internship I never remember working more than 24hrs a stretch.

YennieT said...

Yeah, I wish that I didn't have to be there for my 27th hour, that's for sure.