My life as a Malaysian doctor in the United States.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
You want me to round at six-freakin' a.m???
I'm a fellow, not a resident, goddamit! I was tempted to say. But, while the spirit was willing, the balls were not. So I kept quiet.
I had asked a colleague when I should plan on coming in on Saturday. My first day in a 2 week inpatient consult service that covers all diabetes consults from the ICUs of the hospital. On nights and weekends, I also cover all endocrinology consults.
Anyway. Day one. Blur case, trying to figure out the damn forms, the damn computer system and the damn paperwork. Good thing I DID go in at 615am, for I wasn't quite done when my boss called me to meet him to discuss the patients at 11am.
While it wasn't too busy, the teams as usual were a wee bit premature in getting us involved. There was a type 2 diabetic in the unit who was intubated, on an insulin drip, and was basically coding every 5 minutes. Runs of V-tac or worse. In fact, when I was looking through his charts outside, the alarms went. Ventricular tachycardia. They had to put the leads on him in case they had to shock him. With that, why the freak were they wanting to hurry him off the insulin drip and start insulin SQ???
The evening was more fun. It was Tony's birthday. One of my buddies from California who turned 32 today. Instead of doing fellowship, he was smart enough to come out and work as a consultant. Earning over RM 350,000 a year now. Not bad, for a new grad. Never this much in Malaysia.
Anyway, it was fun, a bunch of senior docs, all boozed up on hard liquor and food, playing with fireworks (the classics like Moon Travellers, etc. All illegal in Minnesota!). This entourage included a chief resident, 2 fellows, 3 consultants; no longer small-fry docs. All running around with lit fireworks in their hands, trying to throw it before they exploded. The rationale was, if anything happened, there was an ER consultant with us. It was a fun evening. And while we worked fewer hours, you could tell our level of responsibilities were higher; all carried our pagers, and few of us got direct calls from patients during the party. You kinda realized, unlike residency, often you're it, no boss to report to. You decide then and there, what they should do.
While it was fun, and while I enjoyed the company of my American friends, I did catch myself yearning for the company of my pals I grew up with.