* * Anonymous Doc

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Didn't blog yesterday, because I didn't work yesterday. I figured a day off from the hospital should mean a day off from the blog. I spent my day off mostly sleeping. Sat down on the couch to watch the fireworks on TV, but I didn't even make it to the first commercial break before I was out. Woke up this morning to trek back to the hospital at 7AM. Oddly enough, I actually think I like working on the weekends better. Things are quieter. Fewer people around, fewer things to do, more time to actually spend with the patients.

We have a couple of patients who would be doing a lot better if their primary care physicians had diagnosed them properly and gotten them into the hospital sooner to start treatment for their conditions. I asked the attending-- is it typical for the primary care docs to miss stuff like this? He laughed. They miss this stuff all the time. They miss all sorts of things, all the time, until something is bad enough that no one can miss it. It's sad-- for these patients, and for everyone else. It makes me feel lucky that I know enough that (hopefully) I'll catch things in myself before they progress too far, that I won't ignore symptoms and be happy to take a doctor's first opinion that it's nothing. But then I worry that I'm going to fall into the same habits as everyone else-- assume standard symptoms lead to standard diagnosis, forget to rule things out, hope for the best. We miss a diagnosis, we potentially cost someone his life.

The sad story from today was a young man who has something particularly undesirable going on. He was in for the first of a series of treatments, which make him not terribly equipped to drive home. I felt bad for him-- he had no one to take him home, he had to call a taxi. And I start talking to him, telling him he should maybe find a friend to bring him next time, or someone else in his life-- and he said, oh, his wife might be able to come next time. But she's gonna miss treatments 3 and 4 for sure because she's going to Europe with her sister. Crazy. Your husband is probably going to die, and you're going on vacation? You can't even pick him up from his treatments? What's the point of being married? What's the point of having someone if they're not even going to be there for you? "In sickness" is part of the vow. Pathetic. I hate this woman and I haven't even met her. Awful. Inexcusable.

The bad part about working on Sunday is that it's one extra day of work until the weekend. I'm on 7 days in a row-- not off again until next Sunday. I have energy now, but I'm sure it will be gone soon enough.

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