Saturday, July 09, 2005

shining, shimmering, splendid

Last night I went to bed at 8pm and slept for 10 hours straight. Well, with pee-breaks every two hours, but since I've become rather adept at somnambulism I barely woke up with these little pit stops. This has been a truly exhausting week. Anesthesia is a whole new world (don't you dare close your eyes!), and aside from the fact that this profession requires us to get up at ungodly early hours, each and every moment of my day is spent learning so many new facts and skills that my head is pulsating with new and only tenuously imprinted knowledge. This is not made any easier by the fact that in the past three days it has become increasingly difficult to run around, or even to walk with anything approximating ease--which is unfortunate, because until they perfect that hoverboard technology, walking's the best shot I have for actually moving about.

So yes, it's a whole new world (every moment red letter!) but at least the people here are nice. In particular, I've been phenomenally lucky to get matched up with the attending with whom I've been working, because not only is she an amazing teacher, she's also been extremely sensitive about this whole pregnancy thing. See, my original plan was to not create any waves and work on a don't ask, don't tell policy--basically, to not bring up my pregnancy or the surrounding topics unless asked about it directly. What I failed to realize was that when your stomach is the size of a watermelon (though not square, like the Japanese kind), people are going to want to talk with you about it. That's just all there is to it. So despite my best intentions to blend in with the rest of my class, for departmental purposes, I've now been officially anointed "The Pregnant Resident," and that's how every single person I've talked with since Tuesday has referred to me at some point or another. How will people relate to me after Cal's born? They probably won't even recognize me. And they'll all be asking each other, "Hey, where'd That Pregnant Resident go? Did she quit the program or something?"

Yes, but anyway, my attending has been instrumental in getting me the bathroom and water breaks that I've needed throughout the day, which is crucial because in all likelihood, were it not for her kicking me out of the OR from time to time, I would probably just be crossing my legs and doing the pee pee dance in silence in order to prove that I'm a tough guy, no special needs here, nosiree. My attending even noticed the other day how unattractively waterlogged my ankles looked by mid-morning (with the 12 hour days spent almost entirely on my feet, the lower extremity edema is really getting out of control) and called over to the PACU to have them bring out some thigh-high support stockings from the supply closet for me. Not the sexiest item of clothing in my wardrobe, but they do help.

I am having a good time on the job, though. It is true, the analogies they make about conducting anesthesia and flying a plane. It's the takeoffs and landings that are the really scary parts (corresponding of course to inducing the patient and waking them up at the end), but the difference is that at this point, the time in flight is scary for me too. I expect at some point, it becomes more of a "we have reached our cruising altitude, you are now free to move about the cabin" kind of feeling, but at this point, it's more like, "HOLY FUCKING SHIT, I'M FLYING A PLANE!" But it's really very fun and extremely exciting despite it all. In the words of that irrepressible carrot-topped scamp Annie Warbucks, "I think I'm gonna like it here." (Commence dance number with countless numbers of domestic staff members leaping about with mops and tea trays.)

And thank god my attending was nice enough not to give me beef about the fact that from now until this kid pops out, I have to make it to these weekly OB appointments. True, I scheduled them all for lunchtime, and true, they're just across the street at one of the hospital outpatient clinics, but it certainly interferes with my work day the fact that the office kept me waiting an hour and a half for what amounted to literally a five minute visit. But what can I do about it, really? If I were more of an asshole, maybe I would try throwing my weight around a little bit, pull that old "I'm a doctor, dammit, and I need to get back to work" schtick, but I would just feel bad, because it's not like all the patients in front of me haven't been waiting for an hour and a half as well.

Anyhoo, the upshot of my 37 week visit is that in the time since my last visit, my cervix has decided to dilate to one centimeter. Apparently, this is about par for the course at this point in the game, but I'm hoping this doesn't mean that Cal is thinking about arriving early. Don't get me wrong, if it weren't for work, I'd be ready to get the show on the road now, like immediately, because the ninth month of pregnancy is no fun AT ALL. But with everything else that's going on, I've been having frantic whispered conversations with the boy begging him to stay in for at least another two weeks, if not the full three, because mommy has to stay at work as long as possible so she can learn how to not kill any patients when she comes back from maternity leave and will be expected (somehow, miraculously) to know exactly what she's doing.

Currently reading: "Anesthesia Secrets." Someone recommended this book to me as a good quick reference. And it does seem to be, although carrying a book like this around makes me feel a little like a med student.

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