I’m done with heme-onc. I switch to another team on Mon. Although the hours on Medicine are much better than surgery (for students anyway!), this month was exhausting. I was still pre-rounding at 6am. But at least (on most days), our residents told us to leave around 3pm. Which is very very nice. But there is so much more patient contact. Don’t get me wrong, there is patient contact on surgery too, but most times, its hey! how are you doing? peeing? pooping? good. see you later. Most other times, they are sound asleep, in the OR, and we are operating on them. So the emotional attachment (for the students anyway), isn’t there. I’m sure its completely different for surgeons who are actually operating on them and who actually know these patients..but for me, well, I was just really interested in what we were doing to them.
On Heme-onc, it felt like we were dealing with them and their impending death. Yes, I know we all die eventually, but a majority of the people on the oncology floor know their time is near. And it is surprising to see how many different ways people deal with it. Some are really bitter, some are calm, some are in denial. Some just lash out at everyone while others appreciate that you know they are going to die but you are going to try your darnest to either make them comfortable or find a way to prolong their time for them.