Saturday, August 15, 2009

Week 2, Days 9-13

The rest of week two is all lumped together because I really didn't hear much about Drew's week until Saturday.
Tuesday began at the usual time (a little before 5:00 a.m.) but after rounds, rather than watching surgery all day, he decided to go to clinic. In clinic he saw patients who were either scheduled for upcoming surgery or were recovery from a recent surgery. Then Tuesday night Drew was on call. Wednesday when he was post call, they decided to start a surgery late in the day and it didn't go as smoothly and quickly as planned so he was there until 9:30 p.m. By the time Drew got home he was ravaging and got off the phone with me so he could eat. After he finished eating he called me to tell me he was exhausted and asked if I would mind if he went to sleep. This explains why we haven't had much time to talk.
Days 9 -10 = 40.5 hours

Thursday was a refreshingly short day. He started at the usual time, just before 5:00 a.m. and was done by 6:30 p.m. Drew was quite excited to be done early but spent most of the evening studying and researching a presentation topic before heading to bed. Before the end of this rotation he will have to make a presentation to the residents and attendings, and I believe it will factor into his overall evaluation.
Day 11 = 13.5 hours

Friday Drew started at the usual time and was on call that night. There was a fourth year medical student who goes to the school there and was volunteering for the night (often times if you want to match at your home program you will volunteer on nights and weekends to help make sure you match there). The residents said that Drew could go home if he wanted to because they had the other student's help, but he opted not to, and stayed. I guess they had a really interesting case that night. A patient came in that had fallen down the stairs. He had some sub-cranial bleeding (don't quote me on this I am repeating it from memory). He was responsive/alert when he arrived at the hospital but the scan showed bleeding in his brain. While he was there he became non-responsive and they had to rush him to the operating room. Saturday Drew was post call and done by 11:30 a.m.
Days 12-13 = 30.5

So while Drew and I did not have plans to see each other until the end of this first away rotation (I wanted him to sleep and study during his time off) we did see each other this weekend. I have missed him like crazy and really have not had much time to talk with him. The majority of our communication is via text message and includes encouraging words alongs with "miss you's" and "love you's". So when the opportunity arose we decided to meet up for the weekend. As soon as we picked him up from the train I started asking him tons of questions. Here are a few things that I learned . . .
Things are not the most organized (but not necessarily disorganized) in the sense that there isn't anywhere that Drew is really supposed to be. His first two weeks were cranial focused and his last two weeks will be spine focused. But this focus more pertains to what patients he will see on rounds in the morning, it doesn't really have anything to do with what surgeries he sees everyday. Also he has the option of watching surgeries or going to clinic. They don't assign him to one or the other, he can just pick. I think this is somewhat of an adjustment for Drew because he doesn't really know where he should be and is just trying his best to help out as much as possible without getting in the way. Unlike in medical school where they told him what he could do, here he is trying to anticipate what he should do, and is constantly asking what he can do to help.
He has seen quite a lot of surgeries as the hospital he is at has an extremely high volume of patients. A few of the surgeries he has seen are: tumors (both benign and malignant), aneurysms, cranial bleeding, spinal fusions and scoliosis. (I'm sure he has seen others as well, but that is all I can remember. )
The first week was quite an adjustment for Drew in that he experienced extreme exhaustion and hunger, but he seems to have turned the corner this week. He says that he is still extremely tired when his alarm goes off every morning at a little after three (and at times has wanted to throw/destroy his alarm) but by the time he is on his way to the hospital he is already thinking about what he will get to do/see that day, and how he can improve. He is kept so busy during the day he doesn't seem to have time to feel or think about being tired. To me, the thought of functioning on this schedule seems insane, but he seems to think that all of the residents are extremely well adjusted to the schedule and says that they rarely appear tired. I imagine that must be the case, as many residents in all specialties manage to function in high pressure situations on little sleep for several years during residency - I suppose your body has no choice but to adjust.
As for me I feel much better after having seen Drew, and now knowing that he is doing well, I'm hoping that being apart will only get easier from here on out. I'll post more about this weekend later this week!


Hil said...

My husband is applying to medical school right now, reading and knowing a little about what is required of students, residents, etc I think it sounds crazy as well...I can't handle not sleeping! But it's something my husband is really passionate about, and I am so excited for the day he gets his White Coat! :) thanks for your posts, it's really great hearing first hand accounts! I know it will be stressful and hard, but I really am so excited (maybe I"m a little crazy too!)

EthidiumBromide said...

Honestly, the longer you go without seeing each other, the easier it is to adjust. I'm in a long distance marriage right now and we may continue to be in one for 4-5 more years, since my husband is in his residency and I have a year left for my Ph.D. and then 4-5 years of a post-doc afterward. It's gotten to the point now where I don't even notice that I'm alone (of course, I work 80 hours/week which helps!) or miss him to the point that I am thinking about it, except after I do see him and he leaves... then I get lonely again. Certainly NOT see each other for months at a time isn't ideal, but the longer you can stretch it out between visits, the easier it is to adjust.

Elizabeth said...

It was great seeing you guys this weekend! I hope Drew and you both made it home safe and sound...and he was able to get is hair cut!! Also I am sure you didn't know this but my mom had a spinal fusion in 1986...I never knew he would also be working on the spine.