Coming back to work is always tough after a long layoff. More so when you're in a job where patients lives are dependent on you. Because no matter how long you've worked, after a long stint out of the operation theatre, the doses of those opioids and narcotics get blurry and your hands falter as you try to identify the 0.5cm subarachnoid space adjacent to the spinal cord.

Entering the OT for the first time as the seniormost resident, I'd hoped for a quiet entry back into work - a few minor cases to get the feel of things again, a junior beside me to ease my tensions and handle the cases while I 'pseudo-monitor' and lots of 'sitting down and relaxing my booty' time.

7 days later, I've just returned back to the room after completing my last case for the week now at 6am on a Sunday. Hopefully, there won't be any more for the remaining 3 hours of my duty today before I lay me down to rest.
Looking back over the last week, I find it ironical that I'd hoped for a quiet entry into the operation theatre. My scorecard reads :
- 5 Caesarian Sections
- 4 fractured limbs
- 3 Perforated intestines
- 3 medical termination of pregnancies
- 2 Spine surgeries
- 2 laparoscopic surgeries
- 2 Circumcisions
- 1 Ruptured liver abscess
- 1 Separated skull
- 1 8 hour cosmetic dental surgery
- 1 8 hour upper limb nerve repair
- An octogenarian with a broken leg
& An infant with a deformed heart  

And I have only this to say : All jokes aside, thank God it was a slow week !
Ya sure, I didn't get my relaxed entry into the operation theatre, but you know what ? I realised that some things, like riding the waves of a patient's vitals intra-operatively or handling a sinking patient, comes back to you when you need it the most, no matter how long you've been away from the work place. 


P.S. Of course, one of the disastrous perks of becoming the chief resident is that I've been handed a bunch of 8 newbie residents who ( unfortunately for me ) happen to be college toppers, ex-ICU staff and even a woman who's edited her own medical text book. It's not a pretty sight when so much knowledge comes up against a doctor who has trouble remembering which patient he was looking after before he went for his lunch break. 
To put it in perspective, imagine the Greek Gods being ruled by Shrek !! There's only so many times I can avoid their super-duper questions by 
a) Pretending I'm hard of hearing.
b) Leaving the operation theatre to drink another glass of water.
c) Act as if my patient is in a bad state and much as I'd like to encyclopedia their ass with my insanely vast knowledge, for now I have to focus on the patient. 
d) Scratch my bushy beard, pretending to ponder the answer, then turn the focus to my beard and ask their esteemed opinion on whether I should dye my goatie burgundy.

Sigh. It's gonna be a long year, Julie.

31 Comments

  1. lol @ shrek thing!!

    wow so many...u must have a hell lot of experiences!!..:)

    p.s-my aneas posting is after med...!!!;)

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  2. i am yet to start my internship cos i am on a 3 month vacation! but thanks for the reality check. i only know that i will be in the trenches soon enough.
    good that you are back to work(and what a way to get back!). i hope you are feeling alright now. :)

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  3. brocasarea, anaesthesia is always a fun posting... noone usually takes it seriously.. enjoy.

    Black coffee, thanks. doing kinda ok now. Enjoy the break. Internship is nothing like these last 4 years.

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  4. Talk in detail abt ur meical escapades once more and i am out of here..i warn u doc!!!

    talking everything in detail wen this reader has goryily undergone thru every operation starting from brain to feet!!! grrrr...Hmph!!

    anyways.. welcome back to reality doc!!! and don't scare away ur juniors... and congratulations ond promotion..

    Psst... the 13 docs irritating u still!!!???

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  5. hardly a promotion.. more a rite of passage, now that I've entered my final year.. Scare away the juniors !! I'm worried I'll have to hide away from the little geniuses.. and well, irritation persists, just the methodology changes as long as you're a resident.

    P.S. hehe guess I'll stick to non medico stories for awhile then

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  6. Greek gods under shrek..hehe..
    But then everybody loves shrek.He's brave,sometimes smart and has great friends and a kickass dudette..So it's not that bad after all :P

    All the best doc,get well soon!

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  7. yes.. the fact that his best friend is a donkey is probably coincidental !!
    Thanks Illeen

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  8. and the doc is back :) it must be truly something to be in the middle of all that illness..phew..

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  9. my neurons got tangled when i read ur scorecard :P

    all d best doc

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  10. I liked your blog very much.Its quite interesting and different from others.
    You are welcome in my blogs.

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  11. Yeah, you just completely shot any thought I may have had that my job is important completely out of the water... Remind me of that if I start complaining about the stress of my desk job when I go back to work in July. ;)

    In all seriousness, it's great to hear that you are able to be back at work! Gives me some hope that I'll get back to my life too.

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  12. Felt good after reading your post :).. so truly an amazing profession you are in.. you can actually make a difference in a person's life! super :)

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  13. Lovely blog and great sense of humour, and a doctor too..that's perfectly Shrek!!

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  14. what a comeback??
    (back breaking)

    so now its not only the patients but also a bunch of docs,who are under your mercy?!!!

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  15. whoa, doc! :O
    My grind at work seems like a piece of lesser-shit :D
    have fun torturing those juniors

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  16. Nags, it aint a good feeling, I assure you... downright disheartening somedays.

    Thanks Geekie.. I really need it.

    Thanks Babli.. will pop by

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  17. Magnolia, you more than many others know hoow painful this condition is.. trust me, it will fade away slowly and you'll be on ur feet soon. If a lazy bum like me can, so can you.

    Anusha, much as i accept your compliment, I'd have to say this profession has too many drawbacks to be recommended.. I know Id never want my kids to join this field, given the choice.. too much heartbreak, blood and toil...

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  18. Sujata, thanks.. I'm green and hairy too, by the way, just like Shrek :)

    Gazal.. under my mercy !!! Vice versa... I'm hiding from them to avoid the questions and doubts !!!

    Meira, sigh.. I repeat, its the other way around... Im the one being tortured !!!

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  19. Good to see u back :)
    And that seems to be hectic work too.. :(

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  20. Great to hear that !! COngratulations ! Despite all the hiccups, U sure love this work, don't you ? Good luck :)

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  21. AnonymousMay 26, 2009

    Great blog Doctor. One smart way of avoiding answering questions is redirecting the question to the cutest looking female intern around. And if she fails to answer, you can flash a winning smile and ask her to come prepared the next day. Trust me...it really works ;-)
    Cheers

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  22. dhanya... sigh. it is hectic. no doubt about it.

    purple heart, hmmm. love is a strong word.. try loathe.. detest.. hate :)

    roflindian , how i wish there were cute looking females around... worse the really cute ones are all supernerds... plus, they will come back prepared the next day.. naat goood !!

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  23. damn.. and I say i had a bad day when a brochure I printed had a registration problem...

    i guess it must be like swimming...once u have learnt it, you will always swim when thrown in the water..

    welcome back, doc.

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  24. my dad was a doctor and i always felt he was the best in business.Your doc episodes are most welcome since they remind me of years gone by.BTW thanks for your input at my blog.Hope to se you often.

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  25. Tys, thanks man. Guess it is true.. some things you never forget.. thank God for that.

    Hip Grandma, loved the blog... will be back for sure

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  26. So your leg/butt? is doing fine now? Sounds like it and am really glad :)

    That scorecard got my head reeling...Phew!...remind me to touch your feet for some doc blessings when we meet.

    About the newbiews - topping the college or editing text books don't get them the practical experience you have na? So, keep your head high while you try to avoid their questions ;)

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  27. returned to 80 % capabilities. Can do most work..

    As for the newbies, well - Im taking any consolation I can get right now !!

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  28. phew!i've been freaked out ba da medical profession for da last 2 mths...have been working alongside residents and docs n i've always wondered if they get mixed up wid da medicines coz their over-worked all da time...hope they're all as smart as ya doc...ahem, we just made one of them drunk by offering him some wine before he went to da OPD yesterday...

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  29. Reni, bad girl !!! And then we get blamed when things go wrong... very bad girl for not getting any wine for me !!!

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  30. Hi Dr. Roshan!

    You must be really passionate about writing to find time for your blog even in midst of your residency.

    I've always respected anesthetists a lot from my internship. Most other specialists can pretend to know, anesthetists have to actually know their stuff. And they tend to know A-Z of medical field. Right from anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, radiology to the operative steps of most of the operations of other specialties. Plus, real good knowledge and dexterity at clinical examination. And not to forget critical care. To me, anesthetists are Gods of medical knowledge (sic), except that I'm an atheist :) I really admire them, of course you could correct me if you wish ;)

    I'm preparing for my PG entrance exams, and had been contemplating taking up MD anesthesia, if and when I get a good rank :) But I'd always been hesitant because of how tense certain moments could get like extubating (reviving) children and that after certain point the job seems to become very monotonous. What do you think of pharmacology as a career choice if you've an idea?

    Enjoyed reading your post. All the best!

    Take care.

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  31. Ketan, I guess its best I send u a personal email, rather than discuss this here.. await a reply soon

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