Tuesday, November 24, 2009

make that 15 weeks

I have GOT to start updating this thing more often. Geez!

Now that I'm officially on Thanksgiving break, I can use the computer for something other than studying and not feel guilty. Ahh...such a great feeling!

My first clinical rotation has almost come to an end, and I can honestly say that I know I made the right decision in choosing this career path. Each day, I get to walk into a new situation, and it's the best feeling in the world to know that I can make a difference, even if it's just a small one. Without committing any hippaa violations, I thought I'd share some of my clinical experiences from the past couple of months.

1. Observed a hip replacement, knee replacement, gallbladder removal, pelvic mass removal (which I honestly thought was a baby's head when the doc pulled it out of her belly), and a toe amputation
2. Changed a dressing on a wound that was so deep and necrotic I could see bone. Unfortunately he ended up losing the leg later in the week.
3. Took care of a woman involved in a parking lot "altercation" who ended up getting run over by a car and broke her back in two places. (What's our takeaway here, folks? Don't turn your back on someone you just beat up if they are driving a car.)
4. Successfully inserted a catheter (even though it was pre-op and she was asleep, I still say it counts)
5. Took care of a prison inmate that had to be unshackled from the bed each time he needed to go to the bathroom
6. Cleaned up not one, but two, code browns that could have filled a baby pool
7. Buffed an 83-year-old man's balls. (Bet ya haven't done that one before...it's quite nice, really. When you have a patient in such severe heart failure that all his dependent extremeties fill with fluid, the ol' family jewels can actually become the size of grapefruits. But with a little baby powder and some folded washcloths, you can really make his day.)
8. Watched a 310lb pathologic gambler shave her armpits b/c I couldn't leave her alone with a razor since she tried to off herself the week prior
9. Started my first IV on a man who didn't even flinch when I asked if he would do the honor of being my first stick
10. Removed staples from the head of a woman who said she fell, "chasing her cat," but judging by her blood alcohol level and the frequent warnings she gave me about the men who were going to, "break into my house and steal all my money," I'm pretty sure Kitty was non-existant.

These are just the first ones that came to mind when I began to type. It's rare that I go through a day without at least one good story. And I hope I'm not coming across as aloof - because I truly care about each and every one of these people and want to help them get better. But I learned quickly that if I didn't laugh, chances are I would cry. And that won't make me much of a help to anyone.

Today was my first day of my Mental Health rotation. I worked in the seniors unit and really enjoyed it. There are so many people out there who just need someone to listen. Even if it's only for a few minutes - it can make all the difference in the world to them. And if there's another thing I've learned, it's that EVERYONE has a story. I feel very lucky that so many people share their stories with me.