Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Doctor Is In

     I'm two weeks into my very first rotation. Family Medicine. Among the myriad of medical-ish things I've learned thus far, mostly I have learned that I'm not cut out for general medicine. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving this rotation, but I suspect that a good portion of that is due to the fact that I am no longer sitting in class (or sitting on my couch, as the case may be) and instead am finally seeing patients and practicing my doctor skillz. Really, proctology is better than the first two years of medical school.

    I enjoy talking to patients and listening to their stories, actually much more than I would have thought, given my misanthropic tendencies. I regret not being able to follow up on their progress, partially because I'm curious to know how the story ends medically, but mostly because I want to know how it turns out for them. Was this patient's fatigue caused by chronic Lyme? Was this kids unexplained weight loss just a simple parasitic infection, or something more worrisome? Will my patient every get his crippling anxiety under control so she get back to making her art? I guess the not knowing how the story ends is all part of being a medical student, even a resident. At the end of the month we move up and out, onto something new.

    I also like that 90% of the patients are more than happy to extend their visit by 10 minutes to allow the bumbling medical student a chance to see them before the real doctor comes in. I love when they wish me good luck in my journey of becoming a doctor. I get the sense that it's not a bother when I ask them a hundred questions only to have my attending ask them again five minutes later. There's almost a sense of pride that they were able to contribute to my education and to the future of the medical community.

    Here's what I don't enjoy: sore throats, ear pain, high blood pressure, and tick bites. These things are boring. Even the tick bites, which at least hold the promise of some kind of cool infectious disease (but rarely do). I cannot imagine spending the rest of my medical career treating these things. Thank goodness there are people that love treating these medical problems, because general practitioners are sorely needed. I don't want medicine to ever become boring, I want to wake up every day excited to go to work. I figure that's the least I can ask out of medicine after paying with my blood, sweat, tears, and about $200,000. If I'm already bored by the prospect of seeing another inflamed pharynx two weeks in, I won't be able to hack it for the rest of my natural life.

     So Family Medicine is looking like a no. But who knows, I still have another 6 weeks of it to change my mind. Maybe I'll get to diagnose someone with Ebola this week. Or at least get somebody with a positive strep test so I can put them on antibiotics.

     Best part of the rotation so far? (Besides having lunch provided by the drug reps every day) I saw a college student last week who came in complaining of a sore throat, a runny nose, and a cough. I did an H&P (history and physical) and was just about to leave the room to present to my attending when the patient asked me, "In your professional opinion, what's wrong with me?"

     Ha! My professional opinion! That is so cute. I wanted to say, "Can't you tell I've only been doing this  2 weeks and I have no professional opinion?" The only thing I've become professional at is saying "I don't know, but I'll look it up" whenever I'm asked a question. But half of being a medical student, I think, is pretending that you know what you're doing even when you have less than no clue, so I told her that I thought it was a virus, but that I was on my way to get the real professional.

No comments:

Post a Comment