Surgery: Day 1

Monday, March 4, 2013

A brief intro for the Medical Mondays folk: I'm a third year medical student in an M.D. program in Michigan and I'll be graduating in May of 2014. I worked as an ER nurse for two years prior to medical school and was largely motivated to go to medical school by volunteer work that I did in Ecuador and Haiti. I'm a newlywed as of August 2014 to a wonderfully supportive husband (he's a firefighter/paramedic) and started my blog a few months ago where I blog for fun (and a creative outlet!) about style and newlywed life, and occasionally about medical school.

So I found this really awesome link-up, Medical Mondays, and I had all sorts of plans to write some really deep, inspiring post on medical school and how it's changed me and what I've learned etc. etc. Instead, I just got home from my first day of my general surgery rotation and 10 hours in the OR, I'm on trauma call tonight (crossing my fingers that I do not get called in, even though it is probably inevitable), and I have to be back tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. to pre-round on the ICU patients that my attending assigned me today. I also woke up this morning with a cold on top of the still-lurking bronchitis from my pediatrics rotation (I was sniffling all day under my OR mask). So since I'm not feeling very deep or inspired, I'm just going to share a random recap of general surgery Day 1.

6:45 a.m.: Arrive for orientation, cough and sniffle and cough some more while the surgery director talks about how hard surgery is, how bad the hours are, how we will not pass if we slack, how hard surgery is again.

7:55 a.m.: Surgery director finishes talking about how hard surgery is and sends us off to find our surgery attending that we are assigned to for the week.

8:05 a.m. I find my attending physician in OR 5 and watch him doing a laparoscopic hernia repair through the OR window. I don't know whether to go in since they are in the middle of a surgery. OR aide tells me to go in. Attending physician then tells me that I better have a really good excuse for not being there earlier.

9 a.m. Patient comes for a breast surgery and attending quizzes me on stats from a recent study on breast cancer and then is astonished that I have not read the study yet. I assure him that I will read it.

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Several rectal surgeries reinforce my lack of desire to go into general surgery.

3 p.m. Patient comes for abdominal surgery with a completely open abdominal wound. I am again reminded of why I don't want to be a surgeon.

3:30 p.m. Attending physician quizzes me on anatomy on the abdominal wound patient. I have no idea. He then tells me that it's impossible to distinguish any anatomy since the bowel is so distorted (and I feel 100x better).

3:45 p.m. Attending surgeon splashes me by accident with fluid from said open abdominal wound. It just misses my face and lands on my gown.

5 p.m. We finish the day's surgeries. Attending physician gives me a blank order to sheet to write orders for our most recent patient (and then leaves before I can tell him that I'm really not sure of what orders to write).

5:30 p.m. I round on more patients that my attending assigned me in the I.C.U. before he left.

I am now sitting at home reading about Nissen fundoplications (tomorrow's first surgery), sniffling, and praying that my pager doesn't go off. I will say though, that I've been dreading my general surgery rotation for a long time and today wasn't that bad. I guess that's the pro of expecting the worst?

We shall see what Day #2 will bring...


  1. Visiting from MM... so excited to see a new fellow female MS3 blogger!

    Best of luck on surgery! I just finished my surgery block in January and I was absolutely NOT sad to see it go... 15 hour days with 3:45 AM alarm clocks every day are brutal! I must say though: I am jealous that you get to take your trauma calls from home... I was cooped in the hospital all night!

  2. I get so excited each and every Medical Monday Bloghop, because I get to meet new (to me) bloggers! So happy to "meet" you. Thanks for posting the button/link. Hopefully, we'll find some more awesome peeps like yourself!
    BTW, I was exhausted just reading your second paragraph! I hope your night goes smoothly!

  3. UGH, this is making me all nervous for you. Surgery is like the rotation I'm dreading, and mine is still like 2+ years away! My boyfriend did his general surgery rotation first, and now he is leaning towards plastics so he doesn't understand why I don't think I would like it, but...nope. I mean who knows, there's a LOT of time until I'm any where close to being there but I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can kind of understand where you are coming from.

    Please keep writing about it when you can as I love hearing about your experiences.

  4. Thanks for linking up with medical mondays. You have discovered the secret: expect the worst and celebrate when it doesn't turn out as bad as you thought. Perspective like that will take you far:-)

  5. Oh my gosh, reading this brought back so many memories of my general surgery rotation. As much as it stinks, you WILL get through it. Just take it one day at a time, and try to do as much reading/studying as you can. Attendings love to ask about anatomy during surgeries...which I always hated.

    Will say a prayer for you!

  6. Yikes!!! I feel like I was there. Sounds tough but hey, you made it!!

    Abigail (visiting from Medical Mondays)

  7. I enjoyed your schedule of the day. My hubby is a 4th year med student who will be starting his general surgery residency in June. So that's his life forever :)

    Your newest follower,

  8. New follower here :) loved reading about your med school post.


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