Sunday, January 10, 2010

Take Home Points

Intern year is strange.

Every month is a brand new job. There are new roles, new responsibilities, new attending, new residents, new expectations.

It takes several weeks just to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. Right in time for me to finish that rotation and be on to the next.

Even stranger than that is the fact that, for the majority of rotations, I will never do them again. I will never again work in the emergency room, manage cardiology or renal patients, or set foot in the NICU.

It is designed to give us a good foundation for the rest of our training. Which I suppose it does.

Even though I won't be doing radiology or internal medicine again, I do learn a lot from each month. Well, enough to learn some key issues. Take home points, if you will.

I just finished Trauma Surgery last month. I had been dreading this month more than (almost) any other. Both because it feel over Christmas, and because...well, it's trauma. It actually turned out to be one of my favorite months. The people were great. The work was fast paced and interesting. The schedule was predictable. I didn't work Christmas.

It's also the month where the take home points were the most obvious.

First: It is never, never, ever worth it.

The talking on the cell phone when driving. The texting while driving. The speeding. The trying to make the green/yellow/red light. The "it was just a couple drinks." The not taking the keys away from from your drinking friend. The driving sleepy.

All the people I saw in the trauma bay, with all the broken limbs, broken backs, lacerated spleens and livers, head bleeds, and punctured lungs. Yes, some of them were just driving along when things out of their control happened. Sitting at a red light when they got from behind. But the majority of them, that's not their story. Positive alcohol levels, stories of looking down at their cell phones, falling asleep at the wheel.

It is never worth it.

Second: You really should always wear clean underwear.


  1. I've had enough close calls that I finally realized that no, it's not worth it. I am super careful about the cell phone in the car now. I'm working on the driving sleepy one, though.

  2. LOL about the clean underwear. Not only clean, but pretty. Not the kind that has holes in it or is worn out.

    It's funny...we get caught in our own worlds and we think we're safe. We don't think about how a serious accident could happen to us any moment. We just drive along in our little bubble... And then one day we read something like this and it reminds us just how important being alert behind the wheel is. Not just for us, but everyone around us.

  3. Wow, if only people actually realized what happens when you get distracted while driving. It's sad that they have to make laws about texting while'd think people would be smarter. It's illegal here to do that, yet people don't care and do it anyway.
    Your second point made me laugh so hard. But it's true.

  4. Keeping in touch is a little lagging, I always read everything you write and always enjoy it, too.
    I like you New Years' resolutions, life is stormy enough to make only one resolution I can keep: not make any! Horrible, I know. No, really my resolution is to develop a plan for my life (again). At least its a starting point.
    I've shared with everyone about your two things you learned in Trauma. You are pretty good at choosing the kernel of the important. Hugs and more hugs!