Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 4: Blood wurst, Basketball player, and bewildering patients.

This past week was a wee bit stressful.

Besides the normal work that needed to be done, we had to teach students almost everyday. This entailed about a group of 30 people showing up on the ward. I had to get them all situated and was running around like a chicken with its head cut off some of the time. I also had my catheter class everyday expect Wednesday. That meant staying at the hospital until 6 pm on those days. To top it all off, there were multiple instances were patients/relatives got on my last nerve.

It seemed like I lived in the hospital the whole week so I am having a tough time even trying to remember what happened on which day.

On some days it seemed like anything walking was getting a needle poked into their body by me. The patients even joked I was making blood wurst and that was surely why I was drawing so much blood. My ultrasound game was up too. I started to recognize the patients by their kidney ultra sounds.

If you have veins...I am drawing your blood. Beware.

I had another patient on the ward who didn't mind at all when I was there to do an ultrasound.....really didn't mind, if you get my drift. He asked about my life and what part of school I was in and complemented my personality. All very kind but it got a tad bit awkward when his wife came into the room to come visit him and he said comments which seemed to incriminate us of something we weren't even doing. "Oh see, my wife always catches us talking Miss Hasselhof!" (as wife walks in)......well yea, of course I was talking to you, asked me a question about your further treatment....wasn't about to spell it out for you in interpretive dance.

Yes sir, you may leave tomorrow unless some foreseen distress arises!

Tuesday, I went and donated blood (or at least attempted) and dragged a colleague along. My hemoglobin level was too low. My colleague didn't hesitate to blame my vegetarianism as the culprit. The nurse basically egged him on though when she suggested I eat more meat....not knowing I don't. My colleague could hardly contain himself. Yea, yea.......

A little success story. The other intern was having a bit of trouble drawing blood from a few patients on her ward. I offered to help but also failed with one patient. The other patient was one of a 60 kg/m2 BMI. After two failed attempts, I was not about to give up. I had to make this work.....and I did! Little superficial vein on the side of the arm was the winner.

Wednesday night, we gathered on the Christmas market again before heading to good ole Thanners (the bar filled with med students every Wednesday). It was another fun outing.

Thursday, the Göttinger Eltern kardiologischer Kinder Organisation (GEKKO) (Göttinger Parents of cardiology children) had their annual Christmas event. I was able to get Jamal Boykin, from the local pro basketball team, to come and say hi to the kids and sign some autographs.

Thank you Jamal Boykin for coming over to say hi!

Friday was stressful. The day started bad when we were in need of beds for patients and our ward had 4 rooms occupied by patients paying for a single room (usually it is two per room). Now, everyone might have their own personal view on this topic and so do I. I hope I don't offend anyone with my view but it is how I feel. I work in a hospital. Not a luxury hotel. Yes, this is Germany and we have one of the best systems in the world and everyone is used to high standards.....but again.....I do not work in a hotel. Our main priority is to take care of patients. I also realize a hospital needs to work economically but then things need to be restructured if there is so much emphasis on patients getting their own room for a few extra bucks rather than caring for the patients who need our help. If we are not in need of beds and a patient wants to pay more for a single my guest at Hasselhof Hospital Hotel. If we need beds because we already tried finding beds to put our urological patients  in on other wards (with less specifically trained staff ) before putting them in "your" room then hotel very quickly turns into hospital so that everyone can be taken care of.  The people responsible for arranging beds for patients were going half insane because we didn't have enough beds. (People against my view might argue that it is the hospitals problem and not theirs if there aren't enough beds.....well then I hope you experience wanting to come to the hospital because you are sick and not getting a bed because other people with your selfish mindset won't give up "their" room).
So back to the ward. We needed beds and none of the patients were willing to share "their" room....not even after being asked a third time and told how we had tried to arrange something else but it simply wasn't in the world were they not feeling the slightest bit guilty?! And to use the excuse that it's your last night and you would like to be undisturbed....the nerve! Exactly, it is your LAST you can sleep at home tomorrow if the patient we decide to put next to you is a horrifically loud snoring, foul smelling beast of a human being......(all of which we are doing to intentionally pick on you, by the way)

Then, relatives accused us of not doing our job in contacting them after a patient's operation although we had tried several times with the number they left us. The relatives walked in the room all ready to complain about how unbelievable it is that we wouldn't call them. Even after explaining that we had tried to call several times and that in the end, perhaps it was the technology that failed.....nope, they persisted that we had failed and that technology couldn't be the culprit. You are right Ma'am...we are evil, so we decided not to call.

All that had me feeling an inner rage. Then the topic of drawing blood started again and the patient I had successfully drawn blood from now needed a new lab work up. I volunteered to draw the blood thinking it would take me away from the stress for a few minutes. Oh naive, sweet naive little Viktoria.  The patient complained left and right about drawing his blood. He went on about how all other doctors didn't have problems drawing his blood (I refrained from enlightening him that I was the only one that had been able to draw blood from him while in the hospital). He continued with telling me drawing from the back of the hand was so painful while I merely inspected his hand as a possible location. I replied that I was fully aware of this fact and that was precisely why I was spending so much time looking for a suitable vein else where but that his veins weren't exactly jumping out at me and that he was more than welcome to show me where these "great blood drawing" veins of his were located. (I remind you of the 60 BMI) He only took a glance at his arms and then refrained from making suggestions. There were multiple more comments that I had to suppress a reply to. In the end, I had all the blood I needed from one try.

My ward resident was in the OR for the second half of the day and I was alone on my ward. At about 2PM I realized that 30 students would be arriving in 15 minutes for class on the ward and my doctor was still AWOL. I took matters into my own hands and organised three patients to participate in the teaching and gathered all the necessary material. I coordinated the same procedure for the other ward as well. In a bit of a frenzy and more headless chicken runs, I had all 30 students distributed amongst the patients with the necessary documents and appointed doctors and rooms for the discussion that followed the patient interviews. I inhaled the lunch the other intern had kindly brought back for me. My ward resident strolled onto the ward about half an hour into it all and was glad to see that I had it all under control. While the students discussed with the doctors, I took a yogurt and hid in the admissions room for 5 minutes of peace.

Friday night, the department had their holiday dinner and I met up afterwards for some wine and some good laughs. A good way to end the week.

Best Moment: A few:
1. My patient from last week with the tumor called to give me an update because he wasn't sure the other department was communicating with me. I'm going to try to be at the operation.
2. I now have a pager! The doctors say I'll regret having one but I'm excited.
Next level!

3. Another colleague brought me chocolate! Yes!

Keep the chocolate coming please!

Worst Moment: Well the Friday work day kind of sums that one up.

Here's to a better week starting tomorrow!

Stay healthy!


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