New Journeys

I took a deep breath and set out on a new journey. I served my first shift at my newest hospital. The evening was warm with an almost full moon and a few clouds. I spent much time sitting on the ambulance entrance area in my green scrubs just taking in the perspective of the locale and chatting with the EMS workers, police and security guards. Sometimes, I am far too restless to nap or sit around in the lounge waiting for emergency calls/consults. When I am restless, I explore the hospital and chat with the folks who work the “night shift” regularly. This is a great way to introduce myself to these folks and test the atmosphere of the place.

The hospital security guards would not allow me to take to the roof (my favorite spot) but I staked out little “environments” in this ultra-modern building. I have to admit, I prefer my 14-story hospital and missed the honesty and grit of its older architecture. This hospital does not have character that I love of an inner city hospital. Still, the patient population is the same but there is a coldness in this very contemporary building that my older hospital does not have.

My shift colleague is a very rare female trauma surgeon. It was odd for the staff to have the entire surgery service covered by women from the attending surgeons to the residents and medical students. My situation reminded me of my very first surgical case as a third-year medical student when my attending physician, senior resident, junior resident, anesthesia resident and myself were all women as we removed a colon and talked about shoes. It was from that first case that I knew I would enter surgery; loving every second that I spend in the operating theatre today as much as so many years ago.

My shift wasn’t busy but many little situations to handle and manage. I felt like and intern in many ways enjoying the looks from the emergency department staff as we handled our consults and patients. My colleagues and I were sitting in the CT (coaxial tomography) suite chatting about our adventures away from the hospital as I spoke about my flying and sailing. The female residents were concerned about blocking time for having children, always a topic for women surgical residents; my colleague speaking about her wonderful family and me, the traveler, pilot and sailor. This is the stuff of a great night shift filled with an assortment of surgical issues but no major cases or traumas; just fellowship with a bunch of alpha women.

My lovely colleagues kept commenting on my positively joyful nature. I am quite joyful because I love the my practice in that I am now more of a “hired gun”. It’s great to work hard, perform good patient care and leave work behind as one heads home. Earlier in the evening, one of my academic colleagues sent me a couple of jokes which kept me smiling, even laughing, for most of the night as I remembered them. It’s great to have those small moments of humor that punctuate the everyday atmosphere of playing in the “chitlins, taking care of rectal abscesses and appendectomies. Trust me, one needs a sense of humor as much as one needs clinical skills.

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