This is the first in a three part series outlining one young M.D.'s experiences as an intern headed toward a residency in ophthalmology:
June 24th, 2005…strange, how yesterday I was a MD, and today I’m a doctor. It’s the first day of internship and I start out being on call, that’s not the daunting part, what is scary is that I have a long coat, a name badge that allows me into the famed “physician’s lounge,” and a meal card…AND somebody approaching me with a fast scurry and a look of eagerness tinged with a healthy dollop of trepidation. “Hi are you Dr. James? I’m Amy, your medical student.”
NOW I’m scared, not as though carrying a code pager, call pager, cross over pager, and personal pager was enough, I have the added responsibility for teaching a medical student something about internal medicine. The key problem being, I DO NOT KNOW INTERNAL MEDICINE, heck, I don’t know where the bathroom is, I forgot where I parked my car, my pen managed to leak in my pocket, and I forgot everything I learned in medical school. But before there is time to relish in the joys of internship the blue pager goes off…code blue, 4N Room 4009.
Normally I’d feign looking busy and try to scurry off in the opposite direction, but no such luck, I have a medical student, now I must look intelligent and play the role of doctor, can’t be a wet behind ears MD who is about to wet his pants. Thus, we run to room 4009, to my chagrin we arrive first, and Mr. Ferrel is not moving, has a tenuous pulse, and no signs of actual breathing. Fears suddenly get pushed aside, I finish a primary survey, send Amy to get the chart, do my ABC’s and manage to realize we need to ventilate and get the defibrillator pads set up, at least to monitor the tracings for now. I stick on the second pad while the nurse ventilates, Amy returns quickly only to trip and knock a juice cup onto my back. NOW the code team arrives, the senior adeptly recognizes V-fib and delivers a nice shock…Mr. Ferrel returns to a sinus rhythm and we head to the cafeteria.
Before I can say anything, Amy announces, “WOW…you saved his life, I hope I can one day be like you.” Interesting, I sit there with a wet juice soaked jacket with a large ink spot stain, yet I’m regarded as a life saver. I didn’t really do much, but I guess running instead of walking, ordering instead of loitering, taking charge instead of wallowing in fear, sure create a perception of knowing what you are doing—playing doctor. At least my pants are dry, for now…this is going to be a fun year!
See part 2: Ophthalmology Match Day
See part 3: Starting Ophthalmology Residency
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