Destroyed by Call

There are not many ways to describe what getting killed on call feels like, but if you are a resident at Hopkins long enough you will find out. On this past Sunday I truly learned the definition when I received 20…yes I mean 20 NEW CONSULTS. It got so bad that the pediatric ER physicians who kept consulting me started to offer me food and caffeine because they realized that it was just me and there were like 15 kids alone waiting to be seen. This actually is not a very common occurrence at Hopkins; usually a good call night is about 10 consults which still keeps you busy because you are also attending to the other patients who are actually on the floor. We used to have a physician’s assistant helping to handle the floor stuff, but now we don’t…and being alone just plain sucks. But the call is over, and the only said part of it all is that I didn’t even beat the record which was 23 consults. Once you hit the 20s, 3 more doesn’t feel as painful.

Every time I log onto my computer I feel guilty at not blogging. There is just so much that occurs each day, and so little time to discuss it. From what I can tell, I may be the only blogger out there who is in orthopaedics residency that blogs with some consistency, besides my old classmate from Loma Linda who has a blog which is much more entertaining than mine: So because of that I feel some responsibility to keep it going, but with two kids, a wife, the orthopaedic intraining examination (OITE), research projects, etc. going on, its hard to find the right balance.  

I am currently on my Pediatric Orthopaedic rotation, which is by far our busiest service primarily because of Dr. Sponseller who doesn’t receive his sustenance from food or sleep by operating. He is a machine and has been unbelievable successful in his career. Every time I operate with him I want to be more like him, but know that I likely never will, but being at least close will be better than most everyone else. The only reason why I have time to blog today is because he is on vacation this week; next week when he returns we will get very busy again so I will likely be a bit silent.

So far, I have really been enjoying my pediatric orthopaedic rotation. One day we could be pinning a supracondylar humerus fracture, the next case we could be performing a pelvic osteotomy for hip dysplasia, and the next day we could be doing a 15 level posterior spinal fusion down to the pelvis. Its the mix of trauma cases and spine that really draw me in; as well as the patients (kids) are pretty fun once you get past some of the neurotic kids. For instance, 2 weeks ago, I was on call and I got a consult for a hand laceration in a in a little girl after she dropped a glass bowel which shattered. The Pediatric ER wanted me to rule out a flexor tendon laceration, but in truth they are just afraid of stitching lacerations. So I saw the little girl, and to make her feel more calm I honed in on her Dr. McStuffins sticker and asked her whether she had seen the show. We talked about Dr. McStuffins for like 2 minutes and then she let me examine her hand. I looked at her  hand with my loupes and found that she just had a laceration to her skin and subcutaneous tissue. Under conscious sedation I washed her hand out, stitched it up and placed her in a bulky mit with a volar slab splint. Well one week later when, they returned to my hand attending for a wound check, apparently they were so pleased with the interaction that they left me a card, which I will cherish forever. You can see it below:

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I still have 4 more weeks on Peds to make my decision between this sub-specialty and spine so we will see what happens. On other news, my son turned 1 years old 2 weeks ago. He is walking, running, climbing on top of the table, etc. It is such a blessing from God to see him grow up like this. Every time I get discouraged with residency and feel inadequate as a doctor or a surgeon I think of them and realize what its all for. I praise God for my wife too. As smart as she is, and despite what her actions might mean for her “career” as a physician, she has made it her priority to make sure that our kids and our household are where God would have it to be. If I was married to someone more like myself, my kids would likely suffer because there would be no one smart enough to realize what their work ethic was doing to their family. Finding a spouse that fills in your weaknesses is an amazing thing.

Well I have to wake up tomorrow morning to round. I will hopefully blog a bit later.

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