Sunday, July 16, 2006

My first time

So it's the new academic year.
I was in the hospital today, on an unbelievably hot Sunday to work on a grant application. Overheard some new interns talking. Asking some very basic questions about a certain procedure, and how to treat their patients.
Even a blind and deaf person could tell they were greenhorns. Not that all practising doctors didn't go through that stage at some point in their careers. There's always going to be a first time for everything.
Case in mind:
Neurology rotation in my intern year, when I was attached to the LP (lumbar puncture) clinic. For all you non-medical types, an LP involves sticking a needle as long as a pen in the lower back till it hits the sac of fluid that bathes the spinal column.
There was this obese man in his 50's, some bigshot in his company. You could tell he was nervous as hell (I was too, but I had a mask hiding my face). Yet he tried to pretend he was cool and unafraid. Tried to crack some jokes and make light of the situation as I was prepping his back with antiseptic.
Until this statement almost had me choking back a laugh.
"Hah hah, I wonder how you guys find those suckers to practice your first-time on?"
I was tempted to say: "Simple. Just as we found you".
He was my first time. But I didn't have the heart to tell him.