Saturday, July 21, 2012

How I will remember my Anesthesiology rotation


1. ME, WAKING UP at 4 am every single day, when the rest of Manila was pretty much still in REM sleep.

2. Doing anesthetic pre-evaluations at 5 am, with the patients either sleepy, anxious, nervous, or overly conscious of their morning breaths when I asked them to open their mouths as fully as they could.

3. Praying that I'd get a good case, so I could perform the required number of procedures.

4. My first endotracheal intubation, where the resident mistakenly thought I had some prior experience—I had none—and allowed me to do it all by myself. Thankfully I did some reading the night before, but, for the love of me, I didn't know how to properly hold the laryngoscope nor look for the epiglottis.

5. My first spinal anesthesia block, which went rather well. I held the longest needle I had seen thus far and used it to puncture my patient's spine. How cool was that!

6. How the Urology residents called each other paps, the new pare or tol. "Kelangan bang i-epidural, paps?" "Paburger ka naman, paps." No, I didn't meet any man named paps Fernandez there.

7. Dr. Sheng Datukon's funny and loud outbursts during exams, and her contempt for Casti Castillo, whom she called noisy. Our tummies ached because of intractable laughter.

8. Exam One bonus question: name two dwarves in the Disney film Snow White. Lennie Chua's answer: Happy and Gloomy. Franco Catangui's answer: Happy and Angry. For a while there, I pitied my friends for not getting a proper childhood. They couldn't even remember the names, colors, and weapons of the Ninja Turtles.

9. Exam Two bonus question: name one anesthetic that best describes Casti and explain why. Quotable answers included Jegar's (Propofol, kasi maputi siya) and Franco's, a five-line essay that sounded like a sentimental yearbook write-up.

10. Exam Three bonus question: name one resident and identify a celebrity look-alike. My answer: Dr. Pipo Mejia, Brad Pitt. Little did I realize he may have some remote resemblance to the comedian Brod Pitt. He didn't kill me when he learned.

11. 24-hour duty sessions with Elizabeth Ching. Many times we jokingly asked ourselves, "Where are the stab or gunshot wound cases when we most need them?" because we had no emergency cases to do case reports on yet.

12. The patient who suffered an acute coronary syndrome just as he entered the OR. The residents left the room to get the 12-lead ECG. The patient was on my watch. I panicked upon seeing a linear ECG tracing on the monitor. Was I going to call it a code? Imagine my relief when I realized that it was because one arm lead had been peeled off. Amateurish, I know, but there's so much fun in ignorance.

Thanks, Migz, for the photo.

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