ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: September 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Consider My Enthusiasm Curbed

Apparently, I have a problem. Well, that’s not exactly a shocking revelation, because I have lots of problems: being awkward, lacking in social graces, excessive attractiveness. But I knew about those problems. It wasn’t until today that another problem dawned upon me while walking the halls of the hospital. See, I have a completely irrational fascination with people’s names and the jobs people perform in the hospital.

That’s not the problem.

The problem is that this key information is almost universally carried on little ID badges that the vast majority of people wear on one particular part of their clothing, the chest pocket.
This, it turns out, is a problem.

It’s a problem because there’s something else that is commonly found in that exact same region on about half of the people who work in the hospital: boobs. And when word gets out that some jackass resident is blatantly staring at all the doctors and nurses chests with blatant disregard for decency (and, apparently, common sense), then that jackass resident is about to get his (or her) ass handed to him. This leaves me with a dilemma: Do I continue to stare and satisfy my insatiable curiosity, or do I conform to social norms and constantly feel like I am missing out on something interesting?

In other words, I would have to risk living out my career as the physician embodiment of Larry David, a horrible fate despite the awesome music that would be playing in the background of every moronic thing I did. Or I could live out my fate as any of the Real Housewives of any city: in complete and utter ignorance. Neither option seemed particularly appealing. What about making the conscious effort to only examine the names and professions of the male and poorly chested individuals? Doing that would then force me to consciously judge the attractiveness of females (rather than the subconscious norm that most men achieve), which would be exhausting and in some weird way maybe even more disturbing than the innocent inquiries I’m doing now. Perhaps a hospital-wide mandate that all IDs be displayed via a holder that hangs from the neck? Good luck enforcing that.

In sum, I have absolutely no idea how to resolve this, as I don’t know if I can consciously control my subconscious yearning to discover the names and vocations of passers by. Am I alone with this problem? And does someone else have a better solution?

Any and all ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Anti-Buddy And Me

Walking to the gym today to tone my perfect body, I noticed I was missing something. Not my confident swagger, nor my boyish charm. Somehow, my right hip felt lighter than it had in some time. Did I forget my gun and holster, as I planned to attend a town hall after pumping some iron so I could pump some bullets into liberals hippie bastards and their "keeping people healthy" crap? Or maybe my crackberry, yearning to review all the spam emails that normally would be waiting for me to review at a set time before I succumbed to an instant gratification culture that we find ourselves in curr-oh, nevermind.


Instead, what I found was that I was missing the clunky black pager I had been sporting 24/7 for the month of August while on “jeopardy”. As explained earlier, this rotation afforded me the opportunity to be forever on-call, filling in for sick, absent, or otherwise miserable residents in any capacity at a moment’s notice (or at least within an hour). Practically, this meant that no matter where I went, no matter what I did, no matter how I was humiliating myself at any moment in time, I had to have my pager and cell phone with me at all times just in case my services were needed. To say that this was awful would be somewhat of an understatement, akin to stating that the current Southern California wildfires are just a little burn, or that propofol as a treatment for insomnia might be a tiny bit of a bad idea.

When I went to the gym, I had my pager on me. When I went to the market, I had my pager on me. When I went to bed at night, I put my pager, at its loudest beeping cacophonous craptitude, on my nightstand, waiting for that moment at 3 AM when I would be awoken from a blissful dream involving Baja Fresh and Natalie Portman (so disturbing that I will spare the details, but let’s just say it involves the green sauce, a Padme costume, and a lot of melted cheese) to deal with the overflow crackheads, drunks, and demented people needing a home at my delightful county hospital.

The irony of this experience was that, now that it is all over, I can say that I only allotted a total of 29.5 hours of time as a jeopardy resident. I was only called in twice the whole month, serving 18 hours one time and 11.5 hours the second time. This is in comparison to the poor saps on jeopardy in July, who were logging roughly 50-60 hours a week for the month (in addition to their regular Monday to Friday 9-5 rotation). The rest of the month was, in some sense, completely free (save a radiology rotation that required sparse attendance). And by free I mean I could not travel any farther than an hour from any of the major hospitals in my city that we rotate through, I could not even inhale the fumes of alcohol, and I could not sit through the most recent vapid wasteland that is Entourage without thinking halfway through that I was going to be paged away before finding out which random girl was going to show her boobs in that episode.

I realize this all may sound a bit petty and whiny, which I admit it is (especially since, again, I barely got called in). But what this month taught me is a) clearly I am neurotic because I can’t stop thinking about my pager potentially going off and b) I never, ever want a job where I am perpetually on-call. I can’t imagine living my life this way, and I can think of nothing more liberating than being able to put my pager down, turn it off, and enjoy some quality time away from the real ball-and-chains in life: work.