Friday, August 21, 2009

And then there was one

Graci just called. When I told her I was blogging, she said, "About the testicle? Are you blogging about the testicle? When are you going to tell them about the testicle?"

"I'll tell them about the testicle," I said.

So, here's the deal...Graci lost a testicle at work.
When I first read that status update on her Facebook page (yes, she put that on her Facebook page, and it immediately became the best reason to have Facebook), I thought maybe it was a metaphor for something--a way of saying she had a particularly bad day. An odd way of saying it, to be sure; but nonetheless, that's what I thought she meant.

It turns out, she was being literal. She really lost a testicle. She was doing an autopsy on a guy (I suppose that last detail was probably assumed by readers with even the most rudimentary knowledge of human anatomy) when she suddenly lost a nut.

"There were two of them, sitting right there next to the sink, and then I looked...and there was only one! I looked all over for the other one, but I couldn't find the damn thing anywhere. It must have gone down the drain."

"So, let me get this're at an ivy league pathology program, and you people are accidentally rinsing body parts down the drain?"

"Yeah. Pretty much. Worst part is, this guy had one of those weird religious beliefs about how you have to be buried whole. I just picture him wandering in circles for all eternity, looking for his lost ball. One nut shy of heaven. "

"And to think, this is one of the best pathology programs in the world. Imagine the stuff they must lose at second rate programs."


"Are they making fun of you at work now?"

"All day. Every day."

"As is only appropriate, you know."

"I know."

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Decemberists

Take up your arms
Sons and daughters 
We will arise from the bunkers 
By land, by sea, by dirigible 
We'll leave our tracks untraceable now...

Hear all the bombs fade away
Hear all the bombs fade away
Hear all the bombs fade away...

She sings, off key, while dancing around her apartment, sans rhythm. 

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The week in review

Unremarkable Monday

I don't remember what happened on Monday, but when you say you're going to do a week in review post, you're sort of obligated to start at the beginning of the week.

Speaking of starts, we're off to a rather riveting one, eh?
Yes, well, what can I say?
I like to grab the audience's attention right from the beginning.
(Or, set the bar low right off the bat, such that they'll be pleasantly surprised if anything even remotely entertaining is said in the next few paragraphs.)

It's like Tuesdays with Morrie (if, you know, Morrie flushed his psych meds, bought a handgun, drank a six pack, and then called your mother)

My mom called to warn me that the Ex is poking around for me. The fact that he tried to employ her for some assistance in that regard is further evidence that he is bat shit crazy. That woman wouldn't piss on him if he were on fire, let alone give him her daughter's address.

That's it.
That's the story.

(Do me a favor. Don't write Be careful in the comments. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to say--probably the very thing I'd say if I were reading this. But for some reason, it is the last fucking thing I want to hear right now. Thanks.)

It's Business Time... and Slick Willy woke up this morning, put on his business socks, and proved he's still got it.

In case you missed it, a recap:

Former President Bill Clinton went to North Korea.

He took this picture...

And from this picture, we learn a little more about South Korea's pesky little Stalinist hat.

First, their fearless leader is actually an evil garden gnome. Let this be a lesson to you lovers of the lawn ornament: If you let those things run around unchecked, it's only a matter of time before they get all full of themselves, MacGyver your bird bath into a nuclear launch pad, and make things a wee bit tense between you and the neighbors.

Second, North Korea and Atlantic City shop at the same carpet store.

Third, in spite of the festive floor coverings, North Korea does not appear to be a barrel of laughs. Or the best place to get your white blazer tailored.

But, I digress. The real point of this story is that Bill's still got it. He can charm the pants and the prisoners off the best of 'em. And frankly, he makes me proud to be an American.

I know that not everyone agrees. In fact, I hear that Fox "News" has been talking about how this whole freed prisoners thing is really very bad because it somehow gives North Korea good publicity. (As if people who see that picture are going to say, "Hey honey, I know we were planning to retire in Boca, but what do you say we move Pyongyang instead?") Rather than sending someone to ask for the safe return of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, we should have just left well enough alone, sending the message that The Greatest Nation on Earth is entirely too great to give a shit about a couple women being worked to death by a totalitarian regime. In fact, the patriotic response to this kind of thing is, "Go ahead. Take them. See if we care."

There was also a suggestion that perhaps Clinton secretly gave away something to secure the women's release, as if we might expect a bunch of Koreans to come take over Kansas later this week. When we're all like, "What the fuck? Get out of Kansas, you bitches!", with great hubris, they'll say, "Oh, you haven't heard? We hypnotized Bill with our psychedelic casino carpeting, and he accidentally traded the heartland for a couple of journalists."

Barring the loss of the Midwest, I actually believe this whole story is pretty fucking great. Maybe it's the liberal in me, but I think that any time hostages are released sans gunfire, explosion, and the sale of arms to Iran, it's a good day.

Wednesday was a good day.

Thoracentesis Thursday

I did a thoracentesis on Thursday. Sticking a large needle in someone's back and draining off a liter of yellowish green fluid may not sound like fun to you.

That's the difference between you and me.

Not as good as last Friday

This Friday was about as exciting as Monday.
Take the week by storm and go out with a bang, I always say.

Last Friday, however, was just about the best thing ever.

Remember Alex? (Sure you do. I blog so infrequently now, she's practically the only thing I've written about all month.)

She got really depressed mid way through last week. (It might have been that whole in the hospital on a clear liquid diet waiting to have your colon removed on your birthday thing.) In an attempt to cheer her up a bit, I suggested that she and I have a movie night. I said, "I work until 10 pm on Friday night. I'll come get you when I'm done and we'll go to the attending lounge and watch a movie. There's a huge flat screen TV in there and few, if any, attendings on a Friday at ten."

"Are you allowed to take patients in there?" she asked.

"No. Absolutely not. We'll have to put you in some scrubs and cover your PICC line with, you have zip up hoodie?"

"Yes. I was actually wearing it when I was admitted."

"Perfect. If you're in scrubs, tennis shoes, and a hoodie, you'll look like a med student on call with her resident. They won't even know you're a patient. I'm not even really supposed to hang out in the attending lounge, but you'll get to see what it's like to hang out with the rebel resident--you'll see what it's like for my med students."

She was grinning from ear to ear at this point, and I was trying to silence that little voice in my frontal lobe that was screaming, T, YOU'RE GOING TO GET FIRED.

I told her to pick a movie and that I'd watch anything she liked.

On Friday night, I wrote the following order:
Hold IV fluids, TPN, & intralipids at 2200 for 2 hours.
Pt may be off the floor accompanied by physician.

At ten o'clock, I handed off my patients to another resident and grabbed Alex's nurse, who smirked a little when she saw the order. "I'm not even going to ask," she said.

"Probably best if you don't," I said. "Plausible deniability can only work in your favor here."

As she unhooked Alex's IV, she looked us both over from head to toe, smiled, and shook her head a little as she realized we were dressed just alike.

Alex picked up a DVD from her bedside table. "Breakfast at Tiffany's. I've never seen it, and my mom said she thought you'd like it."

"A great choice," I said. "It's a classic and one of my favorites."

We left her room, walked past a nurse's station full of rather puzzled looks, and hopped in the elevator. As I pushed the L for lobby, I turned to her and asked, "So, how does it feel to be getting off the floor?"

"This is amazing," she said. "Right now, I don't even feel like a patient." I smiled, swallowed hard, and wondered when exactly I had turned into such a sap.

There was no one in the lounge when we walked in, which was nice, because I hadn't really rehearsed my "hey boys, we're here to take over the television" line. A few attendings did trickle in during the next two hours. They stayed just long enough to refill their coffee mugs, and there were just enough of them to reinforce the idea that we were not really supposed to be there. It made the whole thing that much more fun.

I walked Alex back to her room after the movie and thanked her for spending her Friday with me. "Thank you," she said. "This actually felt like a real Friday night."

Actually, I thought, this felt like one of the best Fridays ever. And I've been humming Moon River ever since.