It’s the little things

It’s been a long time since I posted and I don’t have a huge amount of time to write, but I wanted to share this little moment.

When you’re working all the time, dealing with unpleasant patients, and “exhausted” becomes your default setting, it’s amazing how little things can make all the difference.

For example, today I had to go down after sign out (when I should have been heading home) to go talk to a difficult patient on the postpartum unit. I got the page right before sign out so it was mine to deal with it. I had already been at work for 12 hours. I wanted to go home. I had an operative report to dictate and Step 3 in the morning.

The patient in question was a former IV drug abuser on high doses of methadone who had just had a c-section. She was complaining of uncontrolled pain and demanding IV narcotics. She initially refused to be examined, and insisted that she was allergic to NSAIDs. The allergy? “They upset my stomach sometimes.”

Needless to say, it was a challenging conversation. The end result was increasing her PO narcotics, a trial of toradol, an abdominal binder, and a heating pad, but it was a struggle all the way. I walked out of the room drained and ready to go home, but still needing to put in the new orders and write notes.

On my way back to my call room, I ran into one of the nurses from labor and delivery, who had just brought a postpartum patient down from labor and delivery. She gestured to the empty wheelchair that she was taking back upstairs and said “You look tired – want a ride?”

For a moment, I thought about being the serious doctor and politely declining. Then I realized something – I’m tired, I’m burned out, and someone is trying to do something nice for me. 

So I hopped into the wheelchair and enjoyed my ride back upstairs. The nurse and I even worked on our princess wave to the folks at the other nursing station as we passed.

The moral of the story? Residency is rough, and it makes a huge difference when you can be around people who try to be nice. Life is hard enough – when someone is nice to you, just relax and enjoy it. And don’t take yourself too seriously! Boundaries are important, but you can be a professional and still relax and have fun. 

The people that you work with make all the difference. 

(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.