What it's like to be an intern
A week before I unbecome one.
Resident: Says "Let's get a quick [arterial blood] gas."
1. Sighs inwardly.
2. Goes and finds
a. a little syringe with some heparin in it so that the blood doesn't clot
b. some alcohol swabs
c. a Ziploc bag
d. another little syringe for a second try
e. needles to stick with
3. Goes into the patient room, lays supplies at bedside. Says: "I'm sorry, I need to get some blood from you."
4. Realizes that he has forgotten
b. Some ice in the bag
5. Raises up the bed so he doesn't break his back.
6. Finds the pulse.
7. Gives the patient a considerate and well-meaning count-of-three.
8. Sticks the patient.
9. Doesn't get it on the first try [return to step 5], or the second, or the . . . ha! Gets it on the third try.
10. Holds gauze on the sticking point till the bleeding stops.
11. Takes the bag up to the lab.
12. Knocks on the door. Shouts "Hello?" Hears an echo.
13. Pages the person he's looking for.
14. Hands in the blood.
15. Waits by the computer, refershing the lab results page about twenty times till the results come back.
16. Hustles back to the resident with slip of paper in hand. "The gas [huff, puff] is seven point [whew] two three . . ."
Resident [absentmindedly]: "Hey, thanks! Yeah, I thought that's what it would be. Listen, can you just get some quick cultures off this guy -- and then guaiac him?"