Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Moment

 I started an orthopedic surgery rotation this week.
Besides the shock of being back in the hospital
with 5am wake up calls
and 13 hour days of surgery,
it's been interesting
to see 
just how those ol' hips and knees are replaced.

Also I've decided that if I become a psychiatrist,
I still need to know:
1) how to deliver a baby
2) what to do in case of a heart attack
3) how to examine injuries.

Because there will inevitably
be the times when someone asks,
"Is there a doctor here?"
And I'm gonna need to 
have a little more in my toolkit
"How does that [baby coming out/crushing chest pain/bone sticking out of your leg] make you feel?"

That said,
yesterday I had a moment
that hit me with a lot more
just the knowledge of bones and ligaments.

The attending physician
had left the resident, scrub nurse, and I
to finish up
a repair of an Achilles tendon rupture.

As the resident sewed the end of the tendon together,
I retracted,
and the scrub nurse cut the sutures,
we talked about 
how we got where we were,
our families,
and our weekend plans.
And in that moment,
I realized that we were all 20-something people,
working in unison,
with no hierarchy, 
approaching each other as fellow 20-somethings 
with lives outside of this moment,
real people,
treating each other with respect and kindness,
each with something to contribute to this moment
of helping 
another 20-something with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

And then I looked around
and saw that the 
anesthesiologist was also a resident, likely in his 20's,
as was the circulating nurse.

And for some reason,
it really hit me,
that we weren't just students/residents/assitants
doing what the attending physician told us to
under supervision,
we were
in charge of helping this human being.
And in 3 months,
I will be a physician.

The face of medicine is changing.
And my little heart 
just swelled with pride
in this moment,
thinking that if the future of medicine looks like 
this little team,
full of kindness, realness, and working together, 
it looks pretty damn good.

Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art.
It does not consist of compounding pills and plasters;
it deals with the very processes of life,
which must be understood before they may be guided.

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