Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sympathy Appendicitis

Sometimes residency is such a blur of long hours, stressful situations, and emotional interactions with patients and co-workers. And actually, when I say sometimes, that isn't the part I mean sometimes about. Because, most of the time, residency is such a blur of long hours, stressful situations, and emotional interactions with patients and co-workers. The sometimes comes in another separate sentence (to avoid a crazy run-on--so yes, I may have sacrificed and settled with a fragment, grammar police). In that context, does it stand alone to say, "Sometimes I wish I were sick?"

I know I am not alone along my resident friends in envying the patient's we care for. I remember very distinctly on my general surgery rotation wishing for appendicitis. How would it be to crawl into bed with that patient, whose only responsibilities include four walks a day around the ward, using the incentive spirometer (the breathing whirly-gig), and documenting your bathroom visits, in the overarching goal of getting better?

Or better yet, changing places with the patient.
How very tired one must be to wish a surgical scar and the pain of recovery upon oneself for a few days of boredom and Oprah daytime TV overload!

I admit I haven't wished an appendectomy upon myself for quite some time. But I do have fleeting moments of jealousy of the thought of sick days.

And then I learned my lesson of the be careful what you wish for variety.

Luckily it didn't take appendicitis to teach me.

I ironically spent much of MLK Day (yay for my first holiday off in months--after making it through almost the entire holiday season on-call) lounging around, watching TV. I had been coveting the snow days my friends who work in the schools have been enjoying and really wished for some extra time off.  I woke up Tuesday vomiting. I thought I made a pretty good recovery until I was mid-tooth extraction in the operating room and suddenly felt quite off. I called for a replacement and spent some time recovering, only to feel worse and worse.

I don't remember taking a sick day in the past 4.5 years of residency. I may have been sent home a time or two but don't really remember. I felt very awkward but realizing I wasn't really needed that afternoon, asked to go home. I didn't make it back until Thursday (almost a 5 day weekend).

And being home sicker than sick, I remembered that maybe it is better to be the one on the healer's side.  Being sick isn't fun. I would have rather been at work.


Larkin said...

Haha!! Cody & I were just talking about how I don't have a "real" job because of all these days off. I am pretty sure my kids haven't had a complete week of school since before Christmas. I guess that is a definite perk of working for public schools :)

Erin said...

You are definitely one of the people who make me most jealous Larkin!

Donna said...

I was sick last week too. I hadn't been sick in a year and it was awful! Glad you're better now.

Erin said...

Thanks Donna! It's been a yucky winter...