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Embarrassing Yourself

Colinson72x721Colin Son -- Embarrassing yourself is part of life; part of medical school as well. Nowhere is this likely better demonstrated than the third year. Considering so many third years are within a month of starting their clinical lives on the wards and in the clinics, I thought I’d share one of my proudest moments.

It was my second month of third year. I was a week into a rotation on neurology, which wasn’t going too badly. I didn’t do a whole lot and the hours were good. This was kind of a blessing as I studied for the internal medicine shelf exam. And it is in this scenario that I got off one day at about four in the afternoon and made my way to my apartment. Apparently I fell asleep on the couch. Even in the grip of an "easy" rotation I guess I found myself a little pooped. At some point in the following two hours I managed to make it to my bedroom and the comfort of my bed, although I don’t particularly recall the journey.

When I woke up it was well past seven o’clock with light streaming through my bedroom window. It didn’t take much realization to prompt me out of bed and towards the bathroom and my toothbrush, in a flash. We started rounding at seven o’clock. The last thing I wanted was to impress my resident by being late, being a slacker on what was already a none-too-rigorous rotation. I’m sure I cursed myself, maybe even out loud, as I pulled out scrubs which I found littering my bedroom floor.

I raced down the street towards the hospital. At least I lived relatively close. It was two steps at a time up to the ninth floor; I didn’t really feel I could wait for the elevator. Up at the team work room I found no one and I figured they were already out seeing patients.

I gave the other student on my team a call. “Where are you guys?”

And she said, “Uh, I’m at home making dinner.” After a pause, “Why?”

I stood there dumbfounded and looked out the workroom window at the largely empty hospital parking lot below.

“No reason,” I said as it dawned on me what had just happened. “You have a good night,” and then I hung up.

Yeah, it was seven o’clock but not in the morning. I had slept a mere three hours before popping up and convincing myself, in my haste, that I was late for rounds.

Across town, standing over some boiling water and pasta no doubt, my fellow student was no doubt shaking her head as she put her phone down.

I walked to the elevators with a little slunk in my step and contemplated slapping myself upside my own head. I realized how empty the hospital was, how the sun must be in the west, that I didn’t really feel like I had slept more than twelve hours. It all made sense, except somehow it hadn’t for the whole twenty minutes it had taken me to race to the hospital.

The next day I had to explain to my partner on the team that strange call and I also let my resident in on my little screw up. Everyone got a good laugh.

Hey, I wasn’t late. I was dedicated enough to my rotation to come in extra early.

July 22, 2008 in Colin Son | Permalink


My last rotation was paediatrics and we usually have x ray sessions on Thursday mornings.
If you are attached to a particular ward you have to take the x ray down to the lecture room and present it to everyone.All the consultants and the registrars will then fire questions at you from all corners of the room.
These sessions are really intensive and so students are usually well prepared and come very early on thursdays.
I was no different...that week I was asked to present 5 x rays so I prepared myself,got up extra early the next morning,went to the wards to get my xrays and then I went to the lecture room and waited. I must have been sitting there for about 40 minutes,when I was paged to report to the NICU,when I got there the rounds were well underway and the registrar was in a foul mood. Apparently they were looking for the xrays and the sister in charge had told them I had it.They waited for me for 30 minutes until they got fed up and paged. Yes I had my days mixed up,it was only Wednesday and x ray sessions are only on thursdays.

Posted by: mire | Jul 24, 2008 9:38:18 PM

haha!!! i do believe that medstudents have similar stories to tell, especially w/ the stress of studying and the stress of hospital clerkship/internship ...during my first 2 yrs in medschool, we only have like 3-4 hrs of sleep each day with classes starting 7am everyday and group sessions ending like 8-9pm then u have to study, do ur tasks/assignments,prepare for the sessions and exams, meeting groups for community works etc that there were times when we find ourselves disoriented like when i woke up thinking i was late for an exam only to find out it was night and not morning.

Posted by: ninette | Jul 29, 2008 3:43:26 AM

lol! this is too funny! i can't stop laughing. I do believe only crazy people do medicine. No one in their right minds end up doing medicine, you have to be a bit crazy. Good crazy though!

Posted by: funsho | Jul 29, 2008 10:14:54 PM

I fell asleep in front of my Emergency Department consultant during his teaching session... not once, but twice in one afternoon! *cringe* :p

Posted by: YK | Jul 30, 2008 8:19:59 AM

after a really tiring surgery night shift i fell asleep the next day auscultating a patients heart, the lady wake me up & asked 'were you sleeping??', all i could think about was 'of course not, shh, im trying to count'.

Posted by: fabs | Jul 30, 2008 3:10:51 PM

I am the one who embarrases itself in rotation, i am good student that is why my classmates are surprise...
But it ok it is something that takes out the rutine to anybody

Posted by: mari | Aug 2, 2008 2:42:49 PM

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