I received my new stethoscope in the mail today. Not that there was anything wrong with my old stethoscope, except for the fact that it's GONE. It disappeared sometime after one of my final ER shifts earlier in the spring, the second stethoscope I've had stolen this year. Yes, stolen. Not that I go around pointing fingers a potential stethoscope thieves, blaming others for my own absent-minded misplacement of property, but there have been an alarming number of stethoscopes from various personnel gone missing this year. Not to mention (if this lends me any credibility) that up until this fall, I hadn't lost my stethoscope once, and had been using the same Littman Cardiology III for the past five years. It was good to me. We were friends. Then, sometime in October, at some point during a PICU call, it went away. Of course I had a nametag on my stethoscope, which included my e-mail address and cell phone number, so if it really had legitimately gone lost and picked up by someone with even the slightest charitable intent, it would have been easy enough to find me. But I never heard from my stethoscope again. No ransom demands, nothing. It was just gone.
Joe very nicely let me use his stethoscope for the rest of the year--after all, what did he use it for, really, he's an ophthalmology resident for chrissake. I mean, sure, he'd have to examine the occasional pre-op or check a blood pressure once in a while, but in those cases, he could just borrow someone else's stethoscope for five seconds and be done with it. Joe had a really nice stethoscope. It was an all black Master Cardiology that he had received as a getting-into-med-school present from his sister, and it was sweet. At first I didn't understand what the big deal was, like it was called MASTER Cardiology and all expensive and whatnot. But then I used it. Woah. You are the Master.
Needless to say, Joe's stethoscope had a nametag and multiple forms of contact info on it too. But that didn't stop it from walking away sometime in May. Again, it would have been easy enough to figure out who the stethoscope belonged to and return it, but that's only if the person who found it had good intent. Or maybe they just snipped off the nametag and sold the damn thing on the thriving underground stethoscope market.
You know that movie, "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead"? Well, don't tell Joe his stethoscope's gone. I haven't had the heart to break it to him yet, given that it was a gift and everything. Plus, he's going to think I'm totally irresponsible, losing two stethoscopes in the span of one year. BUT I'VE NEVER LOST A STETHOSCOPE BEFORE UP UNTIL THIS YEAR! I am GOOD to my medical equipment! It was the STETHOSCOPE THIEF, I tells you!
For my past few PICU calls, I've been using the Classic II Pediatric, which I know a lot of Peds people use, and is a perfectly fine stethoscope, but after using the Cardiology Master, frankly feels like a piece of crap. Plus, I just needed to get a new stethoscope, if for no other reason that the first day I show up for work in the adult OR with my teeny tiny stethoscope head, I'm going to get laughed right out of the hospital. And with any luck, the stethoscope thief won't follow me to my new residency.
Though if s/he does, I'd like to see him/her steal this new one. Because I got that fucker engraved. Try to cut the nametag off that one, bud.
Currently reading: This article in the New York Times: "MasterCard Says Security Breach Affects 40 Million Cards." Oh crap. That had better not be me.