The chronicle of a lonely do-gooder family doctor who survived.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What did you get for Christmas?

Seattle got unexpected snow for Christmas. Me and Mrs. Sour Puss went for a walk and I slipped and fell dramatically right on my ass in slow motion. It was pretty hysterical.

I got to watch my 90 year old grandmother discover video iChat thanks to the MacBook I gave to my sister. Pure magic talking to her 3000 miles away, she was absolutely astounded that the video phone had finally been perfected.

I got to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy thanks to the paging operator forgetting that I was on call. There were no serious problems that I missed and by the end of Return of the King I was crying like a fucking baby, just like I always do. My wife made fun of me, just like she always does.

I got new slippers, a Star Wars Lego kit (my mom has been doing this every year since I was 20), and the book Schulz and Peanuts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Train wrecks


I've never shied away from taking care of difficult, complex patients. In fact, at my hospital, I am known for it. Some doctors won't take referrals from me any longer.

Of course, my acceptance of these challenges is not without some reluctance and it doesn't stop me from complaining about all the train wrecks that appear on my schedule daily. This year, we had a pumpkin carving contest and my clinic manager put an engineer's cap on top of my pumpkin. Chronic pain, out of control psychiatric problems, overweight diabetics that won't do a thing to help themselves, these are the things that keep my job interesting. But today I saw an actual train wreck.

Receptionist: "Dr. Sour Puss, I have Mrs. McLucky-as-hell on the phone. She said she was hit by a train."

Me: "Um, maybe we should refer her to the Emergency Room?"

Receptionist: "She says it happened last night."

Me, sighing: "Alright, work her into the afternoon."

Near Harbor Island in Seattle, there's a train that does nothing but move shipping containers back and forth, at about 5 miles per hour. Somewhere on Marginal Way, this train moves within 4 feet of a bus stop where my patient was standing talking on the cell phone, oblivious to the 30 tons that were bearing down on her. Fortunately, she only got knocked about 3 feet into the road and her injuries were limited to some nasty bruises on her back. She got a few more than her usual monthly allotment of Vicodin but there was no permanent damage.

When I was a resident in the county hospital ER, I saw a different sort of train wreck. Harborview Hospital is the only level one trauma center for Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. We got the radio call mid-day one Saturday that some poor depressed teenager in Idaho had tried to kill himself by laying down on a train track. He survived, and was basically fine, neurologically intact, but his face had been completely destroyed.

"They said 'destroyed'?"

"Yep, had to intubate by following the sound of the air bubbles. They're sending him up here by Airlift to have plastics take a look at him, he'll be here in 4 hours."

The ER was weirdly quiet for the next 4 hours, all of us I am sure wondering how we would handle seeing this kid when he arrived. Right before he landed, things picked up with the usual Saturday night shootings, car accidents, drug overdoses to keep us busy and since Mr. Faceless was "medically stable" I never got/had to see much of him before the Plastic Surgery team whisked him upstairs.

Getting hit by a train is sometimes a minor injury, but usually not.

Monday, December 17, 2007

First post!

How does one create a first blog post? I mean, presumably no one is going to read this, right? CJ suggested I start off with a picture of a cat and that seemed reasonable.




I freely admit that half the reason I am doing this is to boost my cred over here, where currently my user profile points to the website for Elmer's glue. Plus, many of my more ranty or yahooish posts keep getting deleted with the instructions to GYOFB. So there, I GMOFB.

I thought it might be nice to have a place to vent my frustrations and observations on life as a primary care doc. I realize no one cares, but a busy 12 hours in the clinic and the hospital can put a lot of crazy ideas in your head and honestly, I think Mrs. Sour Puss is getting tired of hearing it. Not that she would ever say so. I am actually not a terribly bitter person, just vocal. I am frequently surprised when people point this out to me.

I spend a fair amount of time reading other people's blogs and I suspect I will link to things that are stated much better than I might be able to articulate. In the coming weeks, I expect I will write about training for my first ever marathon in May of 2008 as well as my upcoming trip to India in January.

Finally, I am hoping to link to some of my band's extremely amateurish recording. In my free time, I am an avid practitioner of the rock music and when I am not messing around on the computer, I am usually messing around in the basement with amplified musical instruments.