Sunday, August 03, 2008


Has anyone been watching this "Hopkins" miniseries on ABC? About the men and women that work at Hopkins? It's a 6-part documentary about the Johns Hopkins hospital and the nurses and doctors that work there. Watching the first episode, I was pretty impressed by the intense amount of drama all wrapped up in 42 minutes. Then again, if you could bundle up the most intense moments of a year in the shoes of any resident, it'd be pretty damn exciting.

It made me reflect back on my own intern year. I talked it over with a few other residents in surgical fields and we decided that while, yes, we all shared some intense moments, for the most part, if a camera crew followed us around at random over the course of a year, they would catch us doing a variety of quite un-glamorous things:

- "Discharge to SNF paperwork. Loads. And loads. Of paperwork."

- "Begging social work to help us find our patients a SNF."

- "You thought going into medicine was about helping people, but it's actually about writing notes. Thousands and thousands of notes."

- "Watch the intern as she spends hours on the phone making follow-up appointments!"

- "You listen very, very closely on rounds. Then you make about a million checkboxes in the margins of the sign-out based on even the most casual of comments made. Everyone then goes off the OR. You spend your day getting each and every single box on that list checked off by the time evening rounds happen, so help you God."

- "Even if your checkboxes list such tasks as, 'Find patient's roommate so she can get key to her apartment back so she can go home' and 'Patient needs semi-truck moved from where it is parked in the ED parking lot.'"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Clutching my pearls

I still haven't found a good way to minimize and store my portables on myself. I've passed the med student pitfall of stuffing my white coat with every pocket-sized textbook ever written and every stupid physical exam instrument, like the tuning fork (which I mistakenly called "vibrator" today to a fellow resident... as in, "Ha ha, remember when we used to carry vibrators in our pockets?"), but now I don't wear a white coat often enough to store my cell phone and PDA in their. I would do the usual technique of latching things on to the waistline of my scrub bottoms but then I have this pesky problem of my pants falling down. So lately I've taken to stuffing my phone and PDA into the boob pocket of my scrubs. The only problem is these things want to slide out of there all the time. And spilling the contents of your scrub pockets (PDA covered in sparkly stickers, pink cell phone, Fun Size Snickers) onto a patient as you're evaluating them doesn't do much to enhance their confidence in your medical skillz. I now have this graceful ritual of clutching my left boob anytime I lean over anyone in the slightest way. Attractive.

(This is also why I've stopped running places. I only have 2 hands and there are 3 pockets on my white coat for things to tumble out of. Also, you look pretty stupid running down the hallway with your arms straight at your sides with your hands clutching your pockets.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Today's kind of a slow day, so I've spent the day brushing up (Ha! Ha! Get it? PAP SMEARS. Uh...sorry. Just some nerdy gyn humor) on colposcopy. And let me tell you, there is no better birth control than seeing a confluently warty cervix basking in the sweet embrace of some HPV. Almost as effective as delivering the baby of an un-epidural-ized woman screaming, "HE'S TEARING OFF MY CLITORIS."

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Now that I'm no longer an intern, I thought it was time to come back to the important things in life. I now have time to devote to the essentials, like regular pedicures and my blog. That's right everyone...I'm a 2 now. A 2!! That means, when confronted with patient care issues such as, "Hey Peg, that senile patient ripped out her IV and is now hunched over her commode flinging feces at anyone who tries to walk in...can you help?" I can always offer such sage medical advise as, "I think the intern will be able to help you. Do you need her pager number?" HA HA HA. Just kidding. I love poop and I'll field any and all poop-related issues, but I am really loving not being the team bitch anymore.

In other news, now that my level of affection for my job has reached a point where I now have an acceptable level of hatred for my life, I can look into the future and see something other than residency. Namely, more bitch-assery in the form of a fellowship! YES. I find residency so irresistible that I wish to do EVEN MORE of it. I will be the KUNG FU MASTER of residency.

There is one new aspect of residency that I am so far less in love with. That is, clinic. The concept is great. We see patients like the little doctors we pretend to be and write prescriptions and do our own little exams and write our own little notes and feel kind of responsible for things. (I also received my very first business cards this year!! They say Square Peg, M.D.! So far I have given out 5. They were all to my mom.)

The problem is the clinic rooms are teensy. They're about the size of 2 bathrooms put together. I think it'd be ok, except for the fact that WE ARE GYNECOLOGISTS. When we see a patient, we have to get all up into her mix. It involves stirrups. And speculums. And not one but TWO trash cans. One for real trash and one for metal things that need to be sterilized. As luck would have it, the trash cans for metals is ALWAYS in some really awkward position in the room, like behind the head of the bed. And these rooms are so tiny that once you've positioned yourself in a rolly stool between some stirrups there's no room to roll yourself away from the perineum and towards a trash can. There's hardly any room to walk there, because then you run into the trash can for actual trash. So you pull out the speculum and then you end up doing this awkward sideways shuffle around the stirrups, the counter, and the trash can. And usually, that speculum is dripping with juices. Sometimes foul-smelling, purulent, scary fluid. Let's just say that often in clinic, my primary goal for the day is to avoid getting syphilis dripped on me. It's happened before.