Friday, November 6, 2009

I won't complain...

SOOOO kiddos-

A quick short note about today.

Well, I just started my Oral Surgery Rotation (OMFS). As a part of this rotation, I do rounds on patients, learn to do minor facial reconstructions, different suture techniques and all that jazz. Today was my first round. I was up REALLY late last night working on a presentation for my program (which happens to be General Practice Residency or 'GPR'). I finally finished and fell asleep at about 3 am. I had to wake up at 6, to be at the hospital for rounds at 7:15. I woke up grumpy and a little pissy. I just wanted to sleep a few more minute. I was a GROUCH this morning!! (I'm just now transforming into a semi-morning person, but that's when I have to be up at 8). ANYWAY... I grumbled and griped ALLL the 3 miles to the hospital. I frowned and bitched to myself the full 1 minute walk from the parking lot to the S-ICU. I find the patient, go in, check vitals and make my notes. As I'm reading the notes, my whole attitude changed, and tears came to my eyes... (I had to suck it up though... no crying in this field... AT LEAST not in the patient's rooms and stuff). The patient was as follows:

*Motor vehichle accident on 11/5/09. Birthdate 11/13/79. This meant that she is 10 days older than me. This means she'll be celebrating her 30th birthday in the hospital... yes- the wreck and injuries are that bad...
* Several lacerations to the face. Two HUGE 'flaps' in her forehead, one in the shape of a 'J' and the other a backwards 'J', a split eyelid (eye ball was okay- or so they suspect for now)
*She was in bilateral traction Broken hips..yes, count 'em TWO and one was wwwaay worse than the other.
*AND NOW- the kicker: one nice warm, slightly swollen hand. One hard, cold, purple, stiff hand. Seems okay? Ummm NO- that hard, cold, purple, stiff, hand was very indicitave of a hand that had lost it's blood supply and that had set up rigor. As it was at about 7:45 am, the arm was pronounced 'dead' and was going to be the topic of discussion with the patient and parents later than morning- the discussion of amputation.
That's when I had my 'moment'. I sat there thinking... 'how dare me complain about being a little tired. How dare me gripe and bitch about having to go to work early. I dare me complain when I was still able to walk. I wasn't on a ventilator. I wasn't in a position to lose my arm. I didn't have huge scars across my face. I didn't have to worry about having to learn to walk again during my 30th birthday. WHY WAS I COMPLAINING?!?!? This patient- again 10 days older than me, her ONLY complaint was that her feet were cold and she wanted us to cover her feet! Despite her condition, she didn't have any complaints! She was just happy to be alive- pieced togehter, but happy. I was there- healthy and complaing! How dare me?!?!? (sigh). It made me go back to the little saying of:
It doesn't matter now bad you think your situation is. There is ALWAYS somebody out there in a worse situation, and would give anything to be in your 'bad' situation because your 'bad' situation would be a hell of an improvement for them.
It took that young lady's tragedy for me to see my blessing. We health and ambulation for granted far too often. I guess, sometimes it takes a slap in the face like today to remind us from time to time...


  1. It's so important to keep that in mind all the time, although sometimes it is hard when we think things are really rough for us. On the bright side, think of how cool it is that you get to help these people in terrible situations. I'm so jealous, I can't wait until I am doing the same... There's a long road ahead, though.


  2. So- We rounded on this patient again today. And as suspected, she did lose her right arm, from above the elbow... :-( AND she's right handed!