Archive | 5:55 pm

the first day

8 Jan

To preface, I’m going to err on the side of caution with regards to what information I can share about my clinical experiences.  I don’t think I’ve crossed the line yet, but I’ve been warned by my colleagues and have heard horror stories about bloggers getting nailed for violating patient confidentiality (and, of course, I don’t want to be unfair to the patients I see).  Unfortunately, this means that I probably can’t share many if not all details regarding some of the more audacious, humorous, touching, terrifying cases of which I get to take part in the care.  Looks like we’re in for some pretty truncated stories, decidedly lacking in fairy dust.

Day 1:

My resident and attending are happy to throw me into patient rooms before they get a chance to see them.  I love it.  The first patient I interviewed was a seasoned physician who developed a pretty nasty infection, and we were consulted regarding an incidental finding on one of her scans.  We’re in the kind of uncomfortable position in which the patients we see are not really “our” patients.  Of course, we’ll step in when appropriate, but it’s not our place to give a lot of information.  Basically, the patient had no idea about the finding, and I was supposed to get as much information out of her as possible.  I came across a piece of family history that was hugely relevant, and subsequently got a “Good catch,” from my attending…A little pathetic, I know, but so much of the value of my day hangs in a two-word affirmation of my educators.  Guess my 1st-grade teachers should have thought twice before initiating the gold-star policy.  We’re all entirely dependent on praise as motivation.

And then I made a patient cry.  She is a sweet little elderly woman who had a couple horrible months of deteriorating health and neglect from the medical profession (not at Penn).  She and her daughter were telling me about their faith in God to help them through, and then her daughter said, “Mom, did you notice the doctor’s name tag?”  (I swear, I tried really hard to communicate that I was a student…)  And the mother lost it.  “I knnnnnnnnnnoooooooooowww!”  I think I need to prod John for more information on how not give patients false hope with a last name like Jesus.