Thursday, July 15, 2004

Odds and Ends

Thirty-six hours at work in a row will make even the most gifted person nutso.

I'm not the most gifted person. Therefore I am absolutely exhausted and crazy at the moment.

I did, though, have four of the best patients *ever* yesterday: a back surgery, an implanted intrathecal pain pump, a brain tumor (benign), and a pituitary tumor (benign, but we didn't get all of it).

The back surgery patient reminded me of my ex-step-mother-in-law (the sane ex-MIL, that is). She and her husband and I just clicked immediately. When I found out that she'd had to put her beloved poodle down the day before she came in for surgery, I sent her a card and a flower from the gift shop. We can do that for free for patients who need it.

Her husband had a joke foot in a pants-leg that you could stick under the covers, in a drawer with the foot part hanging out, or (as I did) under your lab coat so only the foot hung out in view. We had a good time scaring the hell out of the residents with that foot.

The implanted pain pump patient was in his eighties, sharp as a tack, still living independently, and a generally fascinating man. He's what my dad will be in twenty years, God willing. He told me stories about being a cargo plane pilot in India in World War II, flying missions into Burma and China.

The benign brain tumor patient was my age with a wonderful family. She and her sisters and I sang songs in five-part harmony before she went to surgery.

The pit tumor patient was very young--20--and really scared, but I liked her immediately. She and I spent a lot of time talking about what her surgery meant and why her body was reacting the way it did and so on.

All in all, an emotionally exhausting but satisfying day.

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