Friday, June 12, 2009

Loves me some ICU

I've finished my last night float in the ICU, and I'm already missing it. Mostly because my circadian clock is flipped and I can't sleep. But also because it's the most fun I have in my residency. I get to do exactly what I love to do, with little to no interference. Admittedly it's rough on the family, and I really hate leaving the house and saying goodbye to Katie and the kids. Logan, in particular, seems to have a rough go when I'm on nights. But frankly I hate saying goodbye when I am on days, and by comparison the rest of my rotations are a little like sanding my eyeballs out. At least I enjoy the nights.

Lots of great cases, rare stuff, people sick as stink, dying right in front of your eyes, their survival dependent on your actions over the next few minutes. There are several patients that would clearly be dead had I not done what I did on nights. That aspect of knowing what to do, and having the courage to do it, is characteristic of all doctors but particularly important in certain fields; ER, ICU, trauma surgeon come to mind. I love that aspect of the ICU--I am one of the few medicine docs I know that actively enjoy chaotic and high pressure situations.

There's also a lot of heartache, as it's really difficult to sit down with a family you have just met, gain their trust, and then tell them that their loved one is dying and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. That may be my favorite part of the job, however, because I'm good at it. The Grim Reaper and I are old friends, and speaking of his coming is not quite as scary to me as it is to most docs. I take special joy in helping families get through that part of life called death. It's one of the reasons I thought hard about oncology before settling on critical care.

So now it's on to med consults, which is probably the worst rotation for me outside of the CIMR outpatient month. I hate being ortho's whore. But in the words of Dr. Eric Prime Walker, "You can hurt me, but you can't stop the clock."

1 comment:

The Mommy said...

You know: I love ALL of my kids, those I acquired by marriage as well as birth. There isn't much I wouldn't do to help one of y'all in your career, life, fun, etc.

But I draw the line at being in the ICU so that you can practice cheating death. Practice on somebody else -- I'm going to try and stay healthy!!! [I don't have to give up Dr. Pepper or chocolate to do that, do I?]