Whooo! I am sooo darn tired. Just made it through another “24 hour” shift. Haven’t slept since yesterday night. But strangely, despite my aching, throbbing back, and my stiff, heavy legs, I can’t help but feel exhilirated. Know why? ‘Cause as Dr. Izzie Stevens famously chortled in one of those cliffhanger episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, “Rockstar!”.
That’s exactly how I felt last night. Like a rockstar. But no, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I didn’t do an emergency craniotomy in the deck of a sinking ferry like Izzie did. But I *did* somehow manage to reattach the nearly severed head of a guy whose brother decided his neck needed a little trimming. Very luckily for this fellow, the machete’s blade only went throught the thick muscles of the neck, stopping just inches away from his cervical spine and mere milimeters away from his carotid arteries. Were the wound just a wee bit deeper, we would have been filtering out bright red arterial blood from guaze we packed in just like this ukf8001axx filters water out of your refrigerator.
So. As it was, all he needed were stitches to put him back together again. He was still bleeding though (from a transected external jugular) so that vessel needed to be ligated as well. And guess whose job was it to sew him back up? Me! My uber-kewl resident decided then and there that I could have this patient all to myself! Yeah, as my fellow interns watched in envy, I worked my way through layer after layer of muscle and fat until his head was attached back onto his neck. What’s more, this procedure was done in the emergency room and under local anesthesia! I felt like a million bucks when I stepped back to inspect my handiwork. I just loove sewing people up. hehe. And as if this wasn’t enough, I still got to perform an emergency disarticulation of a distal phalanx (amputation of the fingertips) courtesy of the above-mentioned uber-kewl resident who again allowed me to fly solo. Surgery just rocks! :)
PS We still had to admit the guy for observation and pain management at the ward, but he should be fine.
PPS In case your wondering what those quotation marks in the phrase “24 hour” are for, it simply highlights the fact that in medicine, what you see is not usually what you get. In our case, a “24 hour” shift means in at 7am and officially off by 4pm the next day- that’s roughly 32 hours.