Sunday, August 30, 2009

Under General Anesthesia

The time passes so quickly; before I realize it, I'm waking up to the end of my first rotation. Part of me is happy to be "moving on" with life and education, but another part is saying, "Whoa! hold it buddy, You are going to really miss these people." Crockett is a small town, but left a big impression. My two attendings (physicians in charge) went above and beyond in their care and instructing.... the nurses and surgical staff so often lightened a moment with laughter..... the fish gulped my delicately presented fly so readily.... They will all be missed!

At this time, I can't say that I will never enter an operating room again. First, because surgeons aren't the only doctors who operate, and second, I cannot entirely rule out surgery. It's common knowledge that medical students think they know (for sure) which specialty they will enter as 1st years, but often change minds once they experience it real time in the hospital. We'll have to continue this game of musical chairs to make a decision, but primary care is still the main focus.

Surgery Positives - the procedures (working with my hands, being able to do definitive things for people, action)
Surgery Negatives - the sress (working inside of people is a very serious undertaking; althought the benefits are worth the risks... the risks are still present)

Litte Fionna, her daddy and I chowed down on burritos a few weeks ago. It seemed that a hat would be appropriate attire for this time of year... with the withering summer sun and all. I think reflective baby wear may catch on; perhaps auction it on Etsy?

My friend Cathy Kimbell lent me a book by a Japanese author, The Wind is Howling, which a bit of poetry in Eastern form called "Tanka". Tankas are short peoms that are meant to capture a moment's emotion and share it. The book moved me enough to begin writing some of my own....

7/06/2009 -
Patient and physician, chat in the sweltering room; He palpates her pulse, auscultates her heart and lungs, ignores her concerns.
(wrote this one after an interaction at a free clinic; I did not feel that all this patient's real concerns were addressed and she left unsatissfied. Practically, I know that each encounter can only last so long, yet I want to remember this.)

7/09/2009 -
In the face of death, medicine can lift our hopes, without Godly trust; But when medicine fails us, is there room for God?
(Surgery is often an extremely controlled environment. The surgeon knows the anatomy, what goes wrong with it and how to fix it/anesthesiologist suppresses normal breathing and breath for the patient manually/other staff follow orders to a T. I found it difficult to see God in this setting at first... The people were in control, so how did God enter the picture? Ah! But sometimes everything was not under control. The patient may breath in stomach contents, despite the anesthesiologist's best efforts, or may bleed to death, spiting the team's efforts in ligating arteries and transfusing platelets (infrequent persentage). As the rotation progressed, I found that asking God for mercy/grace in procedures became more natural and needed. In my own practice, I will need Him in every decision and every encounter; not to take anything for granted. I suppose that is how all life should be carried on.)

On my last full day the sky opened and gave birth to hail and sheets of rain! It trapped me inside the HEB across the street from the hospital. If you look carefully, you can see our country's flag spread out by the wind. For some reason, patriotism welled up inside of me. Distant cannons could be heard in place of the thunder; flashes of lightning appeared as muskett fire. But the star spangled banner still swayed intact! May God have mercy on us as the government continues to change.

(left)Visiting my cousins in Baytown, TX
(right)The site of my famed, larger than life, but actually true fish tale. {you'll have to ask me about that one indivually, PETA sensitive information}

I hope and pray that you all are living well.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Crockett, TX; where Davy had his gallbladder taken out

(The parents visit; just before an entertaining show by the Gillett Brothers... folk artists extraoridnare from NYC)

Hello Family and Friends,

Being elbow deep in people's insides is a crazy experience! Mom, don't worry; my elbows get washed every night. :)

Quick overview of my time in Crockett, TX:
I am here for 2 months to learn from 2 surgeons who have practiced in this small town for years. Their rural practice is very diverse and I get to participate in many of the cases. Surgeons often have a notorious reputation for their gruffness/coldness/meanness towards students... but my attendings are very kind, fun and great educators. They have provided the rotating students, like myself, with a house next door to the hospital, and I get to eat for free in the cafeteria. The lunch ladies and I have a ball! Every day I throw on my scrubs, pull on some foot covers and don a surgeons cap for work, very different garb than I'm used to. (I don't really use this machine, the nurses do all the hard work; but I do like to pretend :)

My dad turned a wonderful 51 years last weekend and we spent it out on Houston County Lake.... searching for monster panfish. My flyrod needed some dusting off, but she got the job done alright... 4 fish later. By the way, my dad is cool; my aunts kept on telling me that when I was growing up, and lately I am agreeing with them more and more. Ken knows how to chill out on the lake [when he gets the chance to], set up a fishing rig for bottom fishing, sail a catamaran, take a big sigh of contentment after a long cold swig of some non-alcoholic beverage [probably a sonic slush], laugh when the laughing is contagious and buckle down to work before the trees say goodmorning to big Mr. Yellow. He loves Jesus and his actions don't contradict it[with-in mortal limits]. I could have just said, "I love my dad!", but us Aggies need a little extra explaining;)
(my cousin, Jeremy, and I in boats)

Dad and Jeremy did a little Humpty Dumpty off their canoe... twice!!! Fortunately for them, the lake was dehydrated. (Daddio and Jeremy in the muck)

OK, just a quick note before bedtime. Next time I'd like to share some peoms about my experiences in surgery... so If I forget, please remind me.

osteopathic medical student