*Warning: This Post Mentions Gynecological Medical Procedures.*
Today was one of those days; those days when I get up at 3:00 A.M. with less than five hours of sleep behind me. I could have gone to bed earlier, but I believe that spending time with my future wife is important, so I didn’t. I could have slept a little later, but Morning Prayer is important so I get up at 3:00. By 3:20 I have changed into scrubs, shaved and packed. I am out of the house by 3:45, and even that is not enough to get me to the ER quite by 4:00. It doesn’t really matter, though. I am just a student rotating through so if I didn’t show up at all no one would care. I just wouldn’t get the hours I need for school.
Today was one of those days when my first patient passed out during a PT test, has terrible cramps throughout his entire body, and cannot stand up because every time he does his heart races and he passes out. He is my age. It was one of those days when your patient breaks down into tears when you ask about family history. His older brother died of a stroke at 35 years old… three months ago. Today was one of those days when your ER shift ends at 8:00 so you don’t see how your patient ends up before you are headed into clinic to start your regular 8 hour shift.
Yep, just one of those days when you witness the aftermath of a miscarriage of a first pregnancy in a tiny little Filipino lady who has just moved here, has no family or friends, and whose husband is leaving for training for a month… tomorrow.
One of those days when you know that a woman is probably going to miscarry within the next two or three days. She doesn’t know that yet, but you do. And her birthday is this weekend. She is flying home to celebrate with family.
One of those days when every twenty minutes brings in a new patient. Because it is an OB/GYN clinic, any pregnant woman in the whole hospital gets sent there for any and all complaints.
“Fell and hurt your wrist? Come on in! Welcome to ortho where we see stuff like this all the… wait! You’re pregnant?! No! Pregnant lady alert! Get her off the floor, quick before it spreads! I will treat any number of wrists you care to name but not if it is a pregnant wrist!”
One of those days when you go go go all morning, helping out and earn kudos from the attending for seeing so many patients.
One of those days when every patient is a learning experience, because let’s face it, I am a Special Forces Medic, not an OB. I have a little bit of familiarization with a lot of different things, and extensive, repetitively drilled expertise in a very niche set of skills. That doesn’t mean I have ever done a speculum exam, or a trans-vaginal ultrasound. That doesn’t mean I have ever had to figure out whether or not a patient’s pregnancy was at risk and explain that thought process to a doctor. Today, however, I have done all of that.
It was one of those days where you do your first trans-vaginal ultrasound ever, and show a young mother her first ever picture of her first baby (6.5 weeks gestation) and point out the tiny little flutter of tissue that is a heart, barely a millimeter in size, but a heart nonetheless.
Today was one of those days when the patient tells you that she has no history of depression or anxiety, and plain as day you can see the cutting scars and cigarette burn scars on her left arm. When she tells you she has a condition you have only heard of once in your life, that she has strange and terrifying symptoms and she is sick of feeling like this and she is scared and isn’t even supposed to be pregnant because her neurosurgeon told her not to.
Today was one of those days when a text message that simply says, “Eskimo kiss,” can make you smile and feel all warm in the pericardial region.
Today was one of those days when you walk out of the hospital at 4:30 P.M. 12.5 hours after you went into it, knowing you still have two hours of work waiting at the office to prep for a deployment that looms closer and closer; knowing that, if you are lucky, you will be home by seven and get to see your fiancee for two hours before she has to go home to go to bed, and you have to say Evening Prayer and go to sleep, hopefully by 10:00, so that you can do it all again the next day.
Today was one of those days when you walk out of the hospital and a grotesquely crippled little red headed boy, with dwarfishly proportioned arms and head and legs the size of polish sausage links looks at you from his wheelchair and yells, “Watch out for the sprinklers! Watch out for the sprinklers.” For the lawn sprinklers have gone off without warning and sprinkled him and his mother, and his face is one of absolute delight as he warns me. “Watch out for the sprinklers.”
“Sprinklers?! Oh no! You better watch out too! They’ll jump up and get you.”
“Yeah. The sprinklers are attacking each other!” He yells with sheer exuberance for life! “They are shooting each other with water!”
“Heck yeah they are!” I shout back., and laugh from deep in my stomach.
Today was one of those days. One of those beautiful ones.