Tuesday, January 18, 2005

let freedom ring

I was on oncology call Friday and Monday of the MLK weekend, a double whammy that I can ascribe to only one factor: racism. (It's the only explaination, really.) At least everyone else on call seemed happy to see me. The ward senior on overnight walked into the team room, where I was getting signout, saw that I was there, and started doing a little dance. "I love it when it's one of you guys on call!" she said, all the while doing the Electric Slide or some such thing. The onc fellow on call expressed similar sentiments before he left for the three-day weekend. "Sweet. At least two of the four nights, I'll be able to get some rest."

What everyone was getting so excited about was not so much that it was me on call per se, rather that I was a second year resident, as opposed to one of the interns, who also take onc call half the time while rotating through the service. I had the same experience myself as ward senior two months ago--the nights that I was on, I would take a look at the schedule, and if there was a second year on call for onc, I would breathe a sigh of relief, because that was one less service that I had to worry about supervising. Interns need to be checked on more frequently, and tend to need more backup, especially with a 30 patient service--but the general sentiment is that a second year can basically handle most things for the night.

And while this all makes me feel good and mature and competent, the flip side is that now I feel like every time I took onc call last year, people were looking at me and thinking, "Oh shit, that intern is on call. Well, there goes my night." Who knew?

* * *

So I just got my medical license in the mail. It is unimpressive-looking, printed on 8.5" x 11" mottled ecru cardstock, with no fancy holograms or watermarks that I can discern. Dude, I could have printed that shit up. Really, I would have expected a $150,000 document to look a little more impressive, or to at least come with a free stick of gum or a fake tattoo or something. Well, I'll gussy it up, stick it in a frame or some such to hang in my office (read: bathroom) until such time comes for me to display it publicly. That's right, folks, I'm not a quack.

* * *

Today was the coldest day of the year so far--which is not saying much, I guess, since it's only January 18th, that's like saying "Racing Stripes" is the best movie of the year so far--but certainly cold enough that we didn't discharge a patient from the hospital yesterday because they needed some close follow-up in the clinic today, and we were afraid if we let her leave the building, she might never come back. Which may or may not have to do with the weather. But I digress. Anyway, my point is, the coldness. It's even cold in the subway, which I really don't understand, it being underground and all. Shouldn't there be some Biodome effect, with all the heat trapped from the machinery or the baking human bodies? Or at least from the Earth's core--that 1/9 station at 168th street is something like 7 stories underground. I have to figure out a better solution to gird my legs in warmth, because those scrub pants just aren't doing shit for insulation. I've tried wearing a pair of track pants over the scrubs in the past, but between my parka and the sweater and the scrubs and the track pants, I can barely move my limbs. I'm like those kids in snowsuits that just fall flat on their faces because they can't bend their knees. Maybe I'll knit myself some leg-warmers. Who loves the 80's now, Michael Ian Black?

Currently reading: "Pet Semetary." When in doubt, you can always re-read some old Stephen King. He's kind of like Woody Allen in the sense that his 80's stuff is good, but his newer stuff has gotten too folksy and almost self-parodic for my taste (though I'm sure he doesn't mean for it to be that way)

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