Friday, January 20, 2012

Worst things I ever had to do

During a particularly bad weekend call during residency, I made a list of all the things that were worse than weekend PM&R call, so I could feel thankful that I no longer had to do them:

1. 30 hour internal medicine calls. Where you're up all night and all your patients are in respiratory distress. And your resident is mean. And even though the call is officially 30 hours and officially you're not supposed to do more than that, the fact is that nobody is holding a gun to your senior resident's head to make sure you go home on time.

2. When I was in second year of med school and I had to take test after test after test. Basically every two weeks. And nothing was cumulative so you could have one bad day and end up failing an entire class. I didn't much like tests in college or high school either.

3. My least favorite subject in med school: metabolism. Memorizing every single step of the Kreb's cycle, all the enzymes, cofactors, etc. All of which was forgotten about an hour after the test. (Which I did pretty terribly on, despite my sacrifice.)

4. My least favorite subject overall: history. I hated history class more than anything, even though I usually did well in it because I'm a nerd. So boring. I really hated writing the papers too. It would hang over my head and I'd totally dread it for weeks before. I still sometimes have nightmares where I have to write a history paper. I especially hated having to go to the library to research the papers (there was no internet back in the olden days and also lions had riches). I was never into that whole library scene. I could never figure out how to find the right books. I guess now I'll never need to know.

5. The just immense amounts of standing that were required during third year of med school. Eight hours in a row was not uncommon. I remember all these tricks I used to use, like sliding my foot out of my shoe for a minute, or shifting my weight from foot to foot. Sometimes my feet would just feel like they were on fire. Sometimes it was so bad on rounds that I'd rest my butt on a sink for like a second just to get some relief.

So basically, I am thankful that I don't have to stay awake 30 hours straight or take a test in the next two weeks or memorize stupid pointless stuff or write a history paper or stand for long periods. Now let's eat turkey.


  1. haha ur 5th point! i feel the same too eventhough the round has just started for 5 minutes :p

  2. Being a History Major I would rather write a paper where you can determine the subject more or less rather than taking a standardized test where you are beholden to the test writer/bank. When I was taking A&P for my RN, I had an instructor who held off any exam (even though the syllabus said that we were to have one every two weeks) until her instructor’s edition textbook came. Had an Intro to Philosophy course where there were only two tests. The mid-term question was “Why?” and the final was “God?” The kid that answered “Why not?” got an “A” and me with five pages of “blue book” written got a “B” on the mid-term.

  3. I'm impressed that call in my chosen field (internal medicine) ranks #1 on your list of worst things in medicine. Although a small part of me agrees.

  4. We had to memorize the Krebs cycle too, and not once in my entire (albeit short) career has IT EVER COME IN HANDY. We had to memorize many of organic reactions and structures of drugs that I thought would never come in handy (I even told my professor it never would and his class was useless), but I can look back on them now and say, "You know, I understand why this drug works better now. He was right."

    Krebs cycle steps? Nope. Don't even know why I care, really. I still remember it because I wrote it out 90 million times, but I don't care at all.

    I also hated history for the same reason. I'm never going to use it. I like knowledge I can apply. Memorizing the dates of the battles of the Civil War will never help me out in real life, unless I'm on Jeopardy. The concept of the Civil War would be enough for me.

  5. "Can I keep selling sex for money officer?"

    Yep, that's pretty much everything I remember about the Krebs cycle.

    I think I hate standing for long periods of time even more though. I got through that by making a game out of it: How long can I stand here without looking at the clock. It was surprisingly effective.

  6. On my worst day as an RN I always think "at least I'm not one of those internal medicine docs" (I am serious about that). Overnight there is ONE Internal doc for the entire hospital to take all the calls. (usually things that should have been addressed by either nursing or their medicine colleagues during the day). It's a never-ending string of "the patient's INR is 4.8, can we get an order to hold the coumadin?"(legitimate- however that INR was drawn 16 hours ago, no one could have addressed it THEN?) and "OH MY GOD the patient is getting 60 mLs an hour of NS and the order expires in 3 hours!! Can I get a re order?" <--- that one is a favorite of a particular 30+ year RN I work with who can't wipe her own ass without an order and laments about how she "wanted to be a librarian" Then there's the actual emergencies. God bless those poor docs.

  7. I love this post. I can relate so much. Usually if people in your class or friends/family hear you complain about these things they just think you are a lightweight and you don't deserve to be in the program or you are too weak and are going to leave soon. So unfair. We have a right to complain and we are still here!

  8. Every time I read a post that mentions being on your feet for long periods of time, it makes me think about having to hold my pee for 10 hours at a time. I can't do that!! I'll wind up being the loser that tries to inconspicuously cath herself because she can't hold her pee for more than two hours.

    (Running around with a bag of piss strapped to my leg still sounds better than holding it... does that make me weird?)

  9. I am a pharmacist, have been for 20 years, and I think if we had all had to stand for 8 hours a day in University (as we actually do at work every day), many of us would have picked a different field. Often, the only time I get to sit down is when I get the time to go and relieve my bladder. You get old quickly when you stand so long every day.

  10. I am a second year now, and I must say, the tests feel never ending. I know third year will be crazy, but I am looking forward to having exams only at the end of rotations.

    I will probably look back on this next year and laugh at how naive I was...

  11. I still do 25ish hour call in PM&R. Still, it's LOADS better than 30+ hour call as after the 24h mark I tend to stop caring whether I live or die. The downside is that I'm the only one in house covering ~150 beds overnight. It's a lot more responsibility than I ever had on my horrific Internal Medicine calls.

    @VRx - Sanita (old skool Dansko) clogs make it possible for me to stand all day without foot/back pain. No other shoe I've tried comes close.

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