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.


4 Responses to “the first day”

  1. Jill Blasingame January 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    been thinking about you a lot and hope you continue to get “nice catch” on a continuing basis – much love, Jill

    • annaojesus January 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

      thanks jill! been thinking of you as well, and miss you very much! wish i could have joined you in israel! xoxo

  2. Erica January 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    I got a “good catch” in the studio today and had a similar reaction. It’s more than a “good job.” It’s a “wow–you saw something that I didn’t see and it saved us a lot of trouble.”

    Also–I think YOU’RE a good catch 😉

    • annaojesus January 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

      AWESOME! and in Venezuela no less! Was your “good catch” in a foreign language? That’s way cool! Thanks so much for the note, love! Also, you should remind my husband about point 2 😉 –I kid, I kid. Safe travels, and I love you very much!

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