Saturday, August 9, 2008

there are no words

for what i endured as a new doctor this weekend. the 4th of july was total madness. the sunday after was on par with an episode of ER. every time i tried to come up for air, another dire emergency walked through the door. one after the other...bam bam bam bam. take an episode of ER, subtract the silly soap opera emotional theatrics and occasional gun-waving maniacs and bitchy catfights - and that is what this past weekend was like. i worked 70 hours in 4 days. i'll do the math for you - that's 17.5 hour days.

i saw a seizing ferret with a probable insulinoma (tumor of the pancreas) which i nursed for 2 days, including taking him home for the night in his little box with his syringe pump, a heat stroke (temperature of 109), a fever of unknown origin, a head trauma / hit by car chihuahua, a weimaraner with megaesophagus and pneumonia, a very bad snakebite, a cat mauled by a pit bull...and the list goes on and on and on.

my shifts officially ended at midnight, but i never left before 3AM - at the earliest - due to procedures waiting to be done, as well as paperwork. further - on monday night - the one night i got off at 1:30am, i came home to find my own cat with a fever of 106. i knew he was sick - a neighborhood tomcat attacked him and bit him. i knew he had two brewing abscesses - but when i took him to work to lance and drain them, i was so swamped, i never had the chance. one ruptured and drained on its own. the other never did. i finally got to lance it with a scalpel on sunday night. afterwards, bu stopped eating, drinking, and became lethargic. when i picked him up on monday morning, i was shocked at how hot he was. so instead of sleeping, i rushed back to work with him, plugged a catheter into him, and got him some IV antibiotics. he's doing better now, but he's still mildly feverish - so he's still at work - getting fluids and antibiotics.

i am exhausted. challenged. stuporous. excited. scared. constantly awakening to the art that is medicine - an art that i haven't mastered yet. it's terrifying and surreal. but also rewarding.

here are some pics of my handiwork. kitty's tail was degloved (in a car engine, i suspect). kitty required an amputation, unfortunately.

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