Shadowing: Part I

9 June 2008

Tomorrow night, well technically Wednesday morning I’m shadowing for the second time this summer. I’ll be in the ER from 12 am until 7 am.

I really can’t wait. The first time (1 June, 4pm – 12 am) was really cool, but being the first time I was a little nervous about what was going on and what it would be like. It turned out that none of my worries came to pass and the night (4 pm -12 am) went really well. The doctors I’m shadowing said it was a slow night, but there was enough going on to keep me interested the whole time.

Some intersting things I saw shadowing:

– Motorcyclist who came in with his leg almost completely removed from just above his knee down. There’s really not much else to say about it, except he was probably lucky that he only lost a leg and not his life. After this they explained to me the way they handle trauma patients when they come into the ED.

– Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE): AKA Ultrasound of the heart. The doctor I was shadowing didn’t do this procedure, but the ones who were doing it let me in the room to watch them. They had a pretty hard time at first getting the patient to swallow the probe, but eventually they managed. It was pretty cool to see and they explained what they were looking for and showed how the TEE can pick up the flow of blood in the heart. Most of what they showed me was the left side of the heart so I mainly saw the blood flowing from the left atrium to the left ventricle through the mitral valve. They showed me how back flow looks like on the TEE too. This was one of the more interesting “procedural” things I saw.

-This falls under the “odd” category: A man who experienced chest pain after drinking a large amount of alcohol, smoking marijuana, and using cocaine. After he sobered up (the night before) his chest pain went away. So he did it again? He should probably stop using drugs, no?

Everything that I saw that night just made it all the more clear that this is what I want to do. It’s a feeling I haven’t ever had. I’ve never really been positive about what I want to do with my life. I finally think I have that sense of clarity about it. I really want to go into Emergency Medicine, and I know people always say don’t wish the years of your life away, but I kind of wish I could just go to Med. School now, y’know? Still, I am looking forward to shadowing more this summer, and going for an “over-night” shift should be really interesting.

Both doctors that I’ve been with have told me that it’s a really good idea to see what the over-night shifts are like, because it’s a big part of the job. So that’s what I’m doing. I think I’m going to be a little more comfortable both with the layout of the ED and with the doctors and other people I’ll be around. I’ll definitely be more comfortable asking questions and stuff this time since they both were really open and willing to answer my questions. It’s reassuring, because I don’t want to be “in their way”, and their attitudes have totally let me know that I’m not in their way and they are happy to answer questions.

Well, it’s dinner-time, so I’m off.

À bientôt!


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