ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: Holding Pattern

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Holding Pattern

A while back, I touched on the idea of relativism and how this philosophy permeated my life, and a few weeks ago I touched on a different area of philosophy and how it permeated the rectum. Well, I'd like to return to this original idea of relativism and how it relates to my current state of mind, or should I call it state of soreness, as a third year medical student rotating through outpatient surgical services over the last month.

A few weeks ago, during my urology service rotation, I was observing a surgery in the penis-balls area when the attending doctor, wanting to get the hell out of there, suggested I scrub in and help the resident finish up the suturing which would allow her to go home. I happily accepted the offer and scrubbed in, being the eager beaver fresh third year student that I am, because I thought I'd get a chance to finally do something. After two years of sitting in a dreary lecture hall, wasting away in a fit of extreme boredom, I was finally getting to where the action really happened. I sat down next to the resident, ready to throw my first stitches as a third year. Ready to close a wound. Ready to be all that I could be.

So it came as no surprised to me that my resident subsequently instructed me to hold up the patient's testicles for thirty minutes while he did some suturing.

I must say, I came home pretty disappointed, sad that I was relegated to holding activities, and even worse, what I thought was the worst kind of holding activitites.

Yet, in one of life's many lessons that I'm learning these days, I was to discover that even when it comes to mundane holding activities expected of a third year medical student, what I thought was the worst thing on Earth was actually only relative to subsequent holding events, and that when compared to my next holding activity it didn't even come close.

Fast forward two weeks, and I've moved on to the orthopedics service. One day, the attending decided that I should go with a resident to put a cast on a woman. I thought to myself, "Alright, this will be a good learning experience". We approached the room when I quickly discovered that beyond swimming in her own pool of fat, this 350+ lb. woman must have been sweating out of every gland of her massive body. And she had a serious attitude to boot.

You can imagine what happened next. While my resident was calmly and slowly applying the cast to this woman's gargantuan leg, I had the pleasure of holding up this 115 lb. leg for about twenty minutes, with my face about an inch away from her fungus-infected sweaty foot the entire time (so as to get out of the way of the resident in charge). My arms were literally quivering by the end (before you call me a pussy, keep in mind that it's one thing to do curls for a few reps, but it's something entirely different to hold that curl for twenty minutes while the weight is giving you 'tude and killing your brain cells with its smell). However, I knew that if I dropped her leg this patient would a) eat me and b) demand a re-casting, which would then require me to pass through her digestive system, emerge shit-stained out of her rectum, and resume my position as leg holder (I should add that the odor in the room would not be affected by my intestinal travel, seeing as it already smelled like shit).

What did I learn from this? There are no absolute truths in medicine. Ball-holding being the worst kind of holding is quickly superseded by orka-leg holding, which no doubt will quickly be superseded by some other awful experience I have to look forward too. What is today the absolute worst thing is only relative to the worst things that came before it and the even...uhh...worst-er things that will follow (Do you have a problem with "worst-er"? I thought not.).

To any pre-meds out there who might be reading this, please feel free to explain to me how, after reading shit like this, you still want to go to medical school. I'd love to hear it.

11 Comments:

Blogger FUNKYBROWNCHICK said...

I LOVE your blog!

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, it appears that you US Medical School students suffer a humiliation nearly as extreme as ours (Caribbean Medical Students).. Man, why did I choose this profession.

Good blog by the way.

8:21 PM  
Blogger woundnurse said...

awesome blog. When do you start doctor handwriting class? Being a nurse, I'm sure its a special class they teach all doctors, how to write in such a way it takes 3 nurses to decipher the handwriting!
I'll have more questions on doctors in the future. I'm glad to find a blog where I can get some insight on how you become a doctor.
I can see you becoming an author, also.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awsome blog.
I am wondering the same thing as woundnurse. Being in the pharmacy I wonder when you take this special class, that way us pharmacy people and nurses can invade your class and show you guys how to really write! LOL

11:34 AM  
Blogger CAD Monkey said...

I can't speak for med school, but reading your blog makes me wish I'd written a blog during my (loooong) time in architecture school.

I've enjoyed reading this from the beginning!

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm taking the MCAT Saturday and a friend of mine directed me to your blog. It is... interesting... to say the very least.
My question is this. Do I really want to continue to pursue medicine when many of my colleagues will be jerks to the nurses and doctors in other fields and I'll have to deal with some of the worst of the worst? Do I want to be a doctor for some altruistic vision of changing the world? From your perspective, do I?

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful, another doctor who is an ass to fat people, just what the world needs.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! I've got a condyloma story from working ob-gyn that will blow the lid off any of your stories of disgust (it would also quickly fix your thoughts of female companionship for a solid month or more).

Keep 'em coming, man.

6:25 PM  
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9:11 PM  
Anonymous pay per head call center said...

Pretty effective data, thanks so much for your article.

11:30 AM  
Blogger peace said...

Thank you for the good laugh;)

11:12 AM  

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