One reason why I chose to go into general surgery is because my patients are asleep.  See, I really don’t like to inflict pain.  So I prefer that my patients are asleep while I do things to them.  This is in contrast to performing procedures in the ER or in the clinic, when the patients are awake.

It’s horrifying.

Anyways, we needed to change a line out of one of our patients today.  She had this big honkin’ huge-ass line in her internal jugular vein, and they don’t let you have those on the floor because if something bad happened, nobody would notice that Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so is in his or her room bleeding to death.  And after we got the new line in, I got to stitch it back in.  I’ll be straight- I didn’t do a great job.  I get all scaredy and timid when my patients are awake, because- see above.  I’m horrified.  Scared.

We took the drapes down, and our patient was crying.  In a way, I knew it wasn’t all because of the pain, because we were finished hurting her.  I could see on her face the frustration she felt about just… being in the hospital, after a huge operation, in pain and not wanting to ambulate when we were pushing her to get out of bed.  Sort of a hopelessness and a “poor me when is this going to end” sort of thing.  I’m not pretending I know how it feels to have a huge procedure in which all of your bowels are rearranged, but for some reason, I saw that feeling on her face when the drapes came down.  God, I hate it when my patients are conscious.

Anyways, I heard that later that day she was doing really well.  I hope she leaves here without having any complications.  Looked, I just jinxed it.  But every patient with a major operation on this service has had some sort of complication.  And we keep getting people coming back in with complications.  It’s depressing.  And since it’s a new service for me and we’re covering a bajillion attendings, I’ve been on edge all week trying to get off to a good start with everybody.

Like how I should be reading NCCN guidelines for melanoma right now.

Yep, right now.

Like now.  Yes. Yes.