Monday, January 10, 2011

Rotations and the Wisdom of Scarlet O'Hara

The upside to being the only student in a rotation is you have unfettered access to your attending physician. They have the experience, you don't, so now's your chance to make like a sponge and absorb as much as you can. The downside is when s/he asks a question and there's no way on earth you can stand there with your hands in your pockets, staring at the ceiling, hoping someone else will speak up. See, there is no one else. Your attending knows the answer, the patient doesn't care, and the spot light is all on you. Oh, the joy, the rapture.

Oh, brother.

And that describes my day. Not once mind you, but twice I was pimped -- which has nothing to do with prostitution, by the way, though sometimes it may feel like it -- once regarding an anatomical structure (muscle) and once about a patient's response to a similar structure (another muscle) when it was palpated. And did I know the answers, you ask? Well, pilgrim (John Wayne imitation), did I know the answers! To the first, I was certain the muscle existed because I'd heard about it, read about it, and seen it with my own beady little eyes. Could I tell where it attached to the bone? (Gulp) Uh, no.

Okay, everyone gets a second chance in Jeopardy, right? So, did I know why our patient responded as if tickled when the second muscle was palpated? (Gulp, again) Uh -- gee, doesn't everyone act like that? In other words, no. My first encounter with destiny sent me running for Netter's Atlas of Anatomy between patients -- better late than never. My second left me feeling like the poor dumb schmuck I probably looked like.

There's nothing wrong with feeling like a poor dumb schmuck or even looking like one because I'm a student and students aren't supposed to know much of anything at this stage. At least in theory. When they're pimped, then it's either blather like an idiot, admit you don't have the faintest idea, or maybe, if you're lucky and the universal tumblers on the one-armed bandit that you're convinced you just pulled all click into place, you may actually come microscopically close to the correct answer.

Just not today.

Still, according to the wisdom of Scarlet O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."

Um, does anyone have any aspirin?

(Creative Commons image of Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O'Hara by Madmoiselle Lavender Lou via Flickr)
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