Friday, June 18, 2010

Today was orientation. We learned an ungodly amount and practiced putting in nasogastric--ie, feeding--tubes, and Foley catheters for males and females (best quote of the day is probably from the nurse that demonstrated the male catheterization, in response to my tentative grasp--"You're going to have to grab that penis like you mean it." Oops...hope that word doesn't get me put on some unsavory list). Then there was knot-tying, which apparently is an uber-important surgical skill, and suturing, at which I sucked tremendously. Of course, it probably didn't help that last night, in my forgetfulness and due to my recent space-cadet status, I took both the Thursday and Friday doses of my usual medications. And then proceeded to have a panic attack, and go to the ER, assured that my demise was only minutes away, only to be told that I was (essentially) being a one-woman freak show (though of course the doctors don't tell you that...perhaps more disturbing, I knew the attending who saw me from another context. Thankfully I don't think he recognized me). Why. am. I. such. a. freak? Then again, I guess I answered my own question when I told the resident the reason I take the medications I take--"for depression and PTSD."
To be fair, although it wasn't a massive overdose, it was a some pretty potent stuff, and I've felt essentially *gorked* all day today (I swear, that's hospital patois, not drug slang. Don't recognize the word 'patois'? Look it up and be edified!), which made paying attention to the two-hour presentation on the hospital computer system impossible rather than merely difficult. And which resulted in the suturing instructor telling me no fewer than six times, each time holding up his forceps as an example, and each time getting a look of utter incomprehension from me, to "hold your forceps like a pencil. Not like that. Like a pencil." Finally dude just came over and placed my fingers in the correct position around the forceps. Word on the street, however, is that such a stupid or lackadaisical response to commands in the OR will cause a surgeon to backhand you across the Mayo stand. Needless to say, on a day which ideally would have found me in top form, I was (or at least felt--let's cognitive-behaviorally reconstruct that thought, huh?) sadly lacking. On the other hand, it may have been all to the good that I was semi-sedated--this was a nervy, pressured day, and I actually *objectively* performed quite well in the sharps safety training, which was simulation-based and a lot more fun than I anticipated.
So in the sharps training we learned to perform--according to OSHA requirements--venipuncture/phlebotomy (ie, "taking blood") and IV starts. We also learned to stick for an arterial blood gas (which I hope I first get to practice on a comatose patient, because it hurts like a mother, though that may be a moot point because someone sick enough to be in a coma is probably already equipped with an arterial line).

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