Saturday, September 30, 2006

Done with General Surgery

Yesterday was my last day of general surgery. The whole month is a blur. I had to go in to round on Saturday and Sunday, fortunately for only about three hours each day. Monday was clinic. Tuesday I got to first assist on two laparoscopic gastric bypasses (the intern was in class for the week, so I was the only other person aside from the surgeon to scrub in) which was pretty neat. I held the camera while the ports were being placed (then the robot took over) and held intestines back with a laparascopic grabby-thingy. A trained monkey could have done equally as well, but at least I was actually a necessary part of the surgery. Wednesday was lecture for eleven hours, then evening rounds with the resident. That evening I was supposed to bring pizza to my Bible study at 7:00. I ordered it from the hospital at 6:15, clinging to the hope that I would leave by 6:40. When 6:35 came around with no signs of leaving, I had to call one of my friends and ask them to pick it up. I left at 7:20. Fortunately they saved me some pizza. Thursday I scrubbed into a breast tumor excision which was interesting—before removing the tumor the surgeon injects some dye and a radioactive substance into the breast, and within a few minutes both substances are brought into the lymph node closest the tumor. They use some type of radiation detector to find the node, then remove it to look for tumor spreading. This particular surgeon tends to drive the residents nuts because of his micromanaging, but he is good at pointing things out to students which is nice, particularly since I am going to have to try to do a month with him early in my fourth year to get a letter of recommendation for residency. That evening, the bariatric surgeon took the students and residents out to dinner at a fancy restaurant—I got veal with prosciutto and eggplant which was excellent. Very nice of the surgeon. Friday I saw a laparoscopic hernia repair and an ileostomy reversal. The surgeon for the latter also has some micromanaging tendencies apparently, and my senior resident started showing her frustration by the end of the case. I imagine that after eight years of school and three years of surgical residency it must be annoying to be ordered around about every little thing. My duties consisted of standing in a really tight corner and holding retractors at awkward angles for long periods of time. I left the hospital at 6:30, thus finishing my 120 hours of work in 12 straight days marathon. Monday I start cardiothoracic surgery.


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