The Funny Current

is actually a current controlling heart rate.

Month: May, 2013

Culture Clash

I shadowed an ER doc last week and it was a kind of bizarre experience. All throughout my undergrad/grad school so far, I’ve had primary care principles ingrained into me. Going to work on the Mobile clinic was pretty similar. Now I’m in this environment of screaming, bleeding people who get the shotgun approach and probably aren’t see again by these physicians.

It makes sense. I’m not saying that emergency care is the devil that’s draining money from the healthcare system. Aside from never letting it happen in the first place (impossible), how else are you supposed to respond to a true emergency? Of course you’d take several blood samples and stabilize them quick as you can, then make a long list of possible culprits.

I thought I’d be squeamish around blood, but it really doesn’t bother me. (check). But I felt a bit dumb next to these guys, it’s very on-demand, “what do you think’s wrong with this guy?” and I go “uhhh…. ketoacidosis…. or alcohol poisoning…. or….(insert 5 minute pause here)”. So that’s really impressive, the ability to think really quickly on your feet.

I had to do a bit of translation for a very very drunk man, where I learned, you have to be forceful sometimes. Just let go of any inhibitions and social conduct rules in your head. You have a mission to get information, and you can’t just use the same line of questioning over and over again. Don’t worry, it’s not as brutal as it sounds.

I find it weird that an ER doc doesn’t follow up with their patients. Once again, makes complete sense, that’s not their function. Is it that I’m particularly nosy that I want to know what’s going on with people after they pass through my hands? The whole culture is different. I felt that with Primary Care, you’re building a growing relationship with the patient. Here, there was no real relationship, just quick in and hopefully out. I don’t know how connected you could become with a patient, I would guess not at all. Does that add to burnout? In its simplest form, it becomes a job by the hours. Sure, you’re saving people’s lives but what if it feels meaningless because they pass out of your hands so quickly?

You’re a Future Leader

I don’t understand all these ads pushing you to become a leader. Leaders are bad team players, they’re always trying to delegate to each other and think they have the best idea. It should really be about being a good team player and picking up slack.

The Tapeworm and Magician

So I think the last 2 notable encounters I had in Tucson were with a boy who apparently had a tapeworm and a couple who were…”practitioners of magic”.

The little boy was probably around 7 years old. He’s such a sad case because it highlighted how long things take. His mother had come to the van almost a month ago, looking for help, but we couldn’t do anything because we needed to get his old hospital records. For some reason, that took forever and there was a bit of push-and-pull between the staff to actually look for the tapeworm or not. Finally, they came back with a stack of papers detailing his history and hopefully, they’ve given him some anti-parasitic like praziquantel.

Both the mother and son are super sweet, and you could tell he was almost lethargic and just too thin. How strange is it that after all the workup from the hospitals, they didn’t discharge him with the medication? It looks pretty cheap…

The day before I left, we had Tucson House which is a slow site, but it was topped off with the last people of the day. This couple comes in and I strike up a conversation with the husband who’s waiting outside. I mention his shirt, which I’ve seen on Threadless (or is it Woot?), a puppy Cerberus. He gets really excited and just starts talking about how he’s a “death-head” and schools me on all mythology, Greek, Roman, Norse.

What started it all

His wife’s name is Freya (Of course), and he starts telling me about the Ring Cycle, and I’m totally overwhelmed. He says some odd things about how he believes in magic, and I get the feeling that he’s something related to a Wiccan, where it’s almost a religion/way of life, but I really can’t tell. His wife is actually getting a bit antsy since they have an appointment to make and doesn’t let him go on too much.

He did give me something valuable though…

He had his and his wife’s bikes strung up on the sidewalk, and I asked him where he had started out from. He said a place that would have easily been 15 miles away, and I gave him a look of “wow, that was a workout”, and say it must have taken a long time.

He’s a bit of a smart alec, and smirks at me then says, “yeah well, we rode for a few blocks then took the bus.” To my expression, he supplies, “I only implied that we rode here, I never said I did. You made the assumption yourself. That’s what magic’s about– illusions”.

Blessing to do med school or residency wherever your head desires

…because there is nothing holding you to one place

Bike Routes

I thought it’d be fun to show some of the places I biked to. Up to 5 miles is nothing, and I’m no seasoned cyclist. But damn, the 8 miles one was hellish.

I would have loved to put in a ride from 4th ave to Kino Hospital as the crowning jewel of my achievements, but that was a ride that Google misled me on and I nearly went into a highway. Such good times!