Looking at the title I’ve just written, it looks an awful lot like a typo.  Or just bad grammar.

But syntax aside, I have had a few firsts this week.  Wanted to share.  Because it’s a blog and I just like sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings for the entire universe to observe and criticize.  I’m a med student and a writer.  The need for encouragement, praise, and approval is near-pathological, honestly.

Anyway – my three firsts.

First birth

Yes, it was messy.  Yes, it was slightly gross.  Yes, babies’ heads are squishier than I previously thought.

I assumed it would be over quite quickly, but it was a rather prolonged labour due to the position of the baby.  While it was slightly comical (in retrospect!!) to see how conversation and language choice deteriorated over time, it was exhausting for mom and exhausting to watch.  I didn’t get to do any hands-on work, unfortunately, too many cooks in the kitchen.  But it was a real treat and something of an honour (if I may be so corny) to be able to witness those first few minutes of another human life.

But seriously.  Baby’s heads are squishy at first.  And a rather ugly grey colour.

First show of appreciation by a patient

I saw a patient recently in ER for some post-op problems, which we did eventually get sorted out through the night.  But it was one of the few times I did what I think of as nursing.  It was a busy time and hands were few, so I ran about fetching water for this patient, grabbing a warm blanket, checking in every so often to make sure everything was all right… and I couldn’t believe how immensely satisfying it was.  They were such small little gestures, but I could tell that each helped more than any medication I could have given.  So this person went on their way.

Some days later, my patient reappears in the office for follow-up and some other minor issues.  But she didn’t come alone.  She came with two little baggies of homemade, chocolate chip cookies.  One bag for my preceptor… and one for me?  I’d hardly thought I did anything useful worth those delicious cookies, but I was just so grateful (and slightly embarrassed) that I should be thought of as a cookie-worthy member of her health care team.  I’m not sure whether I should be more modest and embarrassed or more pleased.  Anyway.

First emergency

Again, can’t give too much detail because of how small the town is, but I can tell you it was touch-and-go for a bit.  I’m currently working with a locum, who’s actually an ER doc, so I was more than happy to have his expertise on hand!  Emerg medicine is entirely different from anything else I’ve ever worked on before – the set of drugs you need memorized is different, your equipment is different, your level of suspicion is always higher… it takes some getting used to.  But I have to applaud both the locum and the staff for being very cool and level-headed, even when things looked rough.  It sure helps those neurotic med students keep their head when they don’t know what to do with themselves.  I did manage to be useful and prep an IV line (that we never ended up using), but you do feel slightly sheepish as a learner since everything you do is so much slower and thorough. (No, for anyone who’s wondering, the ER docs do not care about those little bubbles in the IV lines.  It will not kill your patient, promise.)

So it’s been an interesting few weeks.  Now I’m just studying for the family med final next Friday, hope they’re kind.  🙂  See you for the next Rotation Roundup!

 – Atalanta



Filed under Medicine, Personal & Blogs

2 responses to “Firsts

  1. Christina

    Yer adorable, trying to get out all the bubbles!
    But nursing is awesome and is pretty feel-good. Less so when the patient gets your attention by shouting “Nurse!” in a particular tone and then issuing commands like “Water.” or “Warm blanket.”
    But, mostly…

  2. Awesome, Jess! I still remember some of those “first” too – I was fortunate enough to work in a small hospital where births were commonplace, and I actually got to deliver a baby once! (As a nurse, that’s not something you commonly do, but the mom told me later that the doctor only made it for ONE of her babies – and this was #5!) It sounds as though you did a great job with that one patient – some doctors/students would just yell, “NURSE!” and expect us to take care of it. There’s a lot more to nursing than just that, but indeed, a little bit of compassion can go a LONG way and often do more than any complicated interventions.

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