6:45 am – Alarm goes off. It’s the “Strum” tune on my phone and it’s a sound I dread hearing every morning. Snooze? Just 5 more minutes. I drag myself out of the bed, eyelids still mostly covering my eyes. In the bathroom, I splash my face with cold water. Wake up!
7:02 am – A quick breakfast consisting of cereal and milk. Sometimes just a fruit. Or nothing. I turn on my computer and go through the emails and news, wondering what exciting things happened while I slept. I put on some clothes and out the door I go. I ride my bicycle to the hospital, listening to Beirut. The cool morning air is actually quite pleasant.
7:31 am – Good morning! I’m Tim, I’m a medical student. I’m here to take your blood for tests. There are patients who are very nice about us taking their blood. But most are frustrated, annoyed, resistant, and even combative when it comes to blood draws. I don’t blame them, waking up every morning to blood draws cannot be pleasant.
8:27 am – Morning meeting. The resident on call presents the new cases from the night. Eighty-two year old woman with chest pain that started 3 days ago…Thirty-five year old man came in complaining of diarrhea of 1 week…
9:31 am – Rounds with an attending and resident always keeps me on my toes. What are the indications for an ICD? What kind of antibiotic should we give this patient who has a history of recurrent UTI? Examine his lungs and report the findings.
11:43 am – I am set free as we finish with the last patient. I head down to the hospital cafeteria for my daily intake of protein and carbs in the form of greasy chicken and potatoes. I grab a plate of salad for good measure. The food isn’t great but it’s cheap and convenient. I wish I had woken up a little bit earlier to pack a lunch…
1:15 pm – A professor discusses nephrotic syndrome as I am resisting my heavy eyelids from falling. It doesn’t help that the AC is broken and the room is warm and cozy.
2:04 pm – Back in my ward, I look for patients to interview and examine so I can write up an admission note. Sometimes, I follow a patient to the cath lab for a procedure. Those days are always more exciting. I want to DO things. Will they let me scrub in for the procedure?
4:00 pm – I’m on call today. While I wait for the on call resident to come get me, I sit in the conference room and read about different cases of the day. A nurse pops her head in and asks if I can put a Hep-Lock IV in a patient. I get up with excitement to have an excuse to get away from the books and do something. The resident grabs me and lets me know that their is a new patient admission. I take the history and do a physical exam to present to the resident (who then fills in the gaps that I missed). I go back to the conference room and debate whether I should read or do some questions from a question bank. This routine repeats itself throughout the night: patient admission, conference room, occasional Hep-Lock IV or Foley catheter.
11:05 pm – Checking to see that nothing “exciting” is going on, I pack my bag and head home. On my way home, I reflect on all the patients and their stories. The patient in room 3 wasn’t feeling so well today, I hope we gave the appropriate antibiotics. It was cool to be able to observe a pleural paracentesis and how it drastically improved his breathing. I need to read up on ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) so that I can impress my attending during rounds tomorrow.
12:39 am – I lay in bed, reading House of God. And I drift into sleep, hoping the “Strum” won’t come too soon.