Friday, March 4, 2011

The higher up the totem pole, the more jewelry I get to wear.

First - I want to publicly give thanks for the incredible life that I am privileged to have. My humble, and genuine, thanks.

On that note - I'm sitting by a fire in Panera sipping black coffee and enjoying a small sourdough roll with butter. I finished my orthopedics rotation and am here at my favorite study place to work on all the many tasks involved in preparing for fourth year. And pay my electric bill. And blog. All of which is more fun with company, a fire, coffee, and a sourdough roll.

So I didn't like inpatient pediatrics. ...oh well.

Orhopedics? 6am lectures, and clinic until 6 or 7. But I didn't dread a single hour. What a riot, and what a cast of characters:
- The Jaded Podiatrist: "Me? I don't like medicine. I tell everyone to go home. Plantar wart? Duct tape. It's not evidence-based per se...but I like it." Followed by a lengthy conversation on ingrown toenail care.
- The Greek (Ortho Surgeon #1): He swears in Greek, a lot. There are pictures of Greece everywhere. He kindly bought me falafel because he felt my homemade soup was...(insert some Greek word here). He speaks very fast. He reminds everyone at least five times daily that he or his mother or his father belonged to a very prestigious medical society of Columbia or Harvard. He's a straight shooter who tells it like it is, in any of the five languages he knows, and flips his reflex hammer in the air every time he checks a reflex- because he's a drummer, too.
- The Ex-Army guy (Surgeon #2): Some guy in Tims, a construction jacket, and smelling of cigars stops me in the hallway of the office and asks me my name. I shake his hand with my signature firm handshake and say "Elizabeth Artrip, Medical student, sir," thinking he's a patient, maybe? He nods, says "Don't call me sir," and walks off. The secretary calls after him, "Doctor! Wait I need you to sign something."  ...Good thing I used my firm handshake. He wears boots everywhere because "they bring him up to average male height." The Greek, who swears a lot, says the Army guy has Tourette's. He's a single dad with four kids. He doesn't like camping, and doesn't read books- only People magazine. He always slows down to look at car crashes. He shakes everyone's injured hand- left or right- to gauge how it's doing and to congratulate them when it gets better. It works. They love it.
- The patients: The 2 year old girl who was sinking into her mom to hide but gave me a high-five and snatched the sticker I offered her and hugged it. How do you hug a sticker? She managed. The 13 year old girl who was a true stoic and kept a stiff upper lip while the Army Guy to his credit very gently examined her injured wrist, then broke down the moment he left the room. She initially refused a lollipop on the grounds of being too big for such things until I told her I'd had a green apple one that morning. She lit up like the sun. The 83 year old woman who still lives by herself and shovels her own snow. The 52 year old woman who looked like a 29 year old supermodel. The 6'4" formidable guy who came in with a broken pinky. Painful? Of course. Funny to see this giant pout and show me his little finger? Absolutely.
- The secretary with great earrings: I commented on these great earrings one day - great dangling things with beads. She said mine were nice as well and I said no, no - they are very plain and I can't wear my great ones to the office. She says why not? So I say: "As a first year med student I didn't even wear jewelry, maybe pearls once in a while. My job was to be quiet and look quiet. As a third year I certainly branch out and wear more interesting things as far as is appropriate. It's like a totem pole, the higher up I get - the more jewelry I get to wear. By the time I get to be an attending, I'll be so shiny you can't even stand it. If my patients don't like it they can take a hike!"

So I'm a little sad it's over, but what a great time. And now that I have my computer back, I'll get pictures and recipes up later - I cooked up a storm last week!

à bientôt!


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