Tuesday, October 23, 2007

They're Watching You

This month I've been working in the surgical ICU. One thing I've come to notice is that ICU delirium is a very real thing. One patient on our service developed quite florid delusions and delerium. He rants about nurses having sex near his room and hospital staff stealing his credit cards and perseverates on the idea that the hospital staff is trying to keep him from communicating with his son. His delusions are so strikingly paranoid that if they were in almost any other context I'd think schizophrenia. Or cocaine abuse.

Anyway, he reminded me of my stint at the county psychiatric hospital. While there I saw many patients who had all sorts of bizarre and non-bizarre delusions. People would confide to you such things like their mother is really satan, or that their bones are disintegrating or that their doctor is conspiring against them.

It's interesting dealing with these patients because you have to build their trust, but at the same time cannot foster their delusions. You have to reassure them that you believe them, but at the same time let them know what is actually real.

The reason I am re-blogging about this (you'd have to have access to the old blog to see the original post) is that I saw the below video at The Onion. I wasn't quite sure what to think of it. They bring up some of the most common delusions that schizophrenics have, but make a mockery of it in a Steven Colbert style comedy. While some of the delusions people have can certainly be entertaining is this video going too far?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hijack a Phone Number

Yesterday my wife called me. Instead of hearing her familiar sweet voice, I was greeted by Optimus Prime. He told me that the Decepticons are waging war in my own home state and that I was needed in the battle lines. He also warned me that one of my classmates may have joined the enemy as a Decepticon named Devastator. He then instructed me that I could help by purchasing the Transformers movie on DVD or HD-DVD.

What is super awesome about this call is that you can send it to anyone from this website. I'm sure it's totally against the terms of agreement, but you could potentially hijack anyone's cell phone number and send anyone else a message. You could even send it to two people's phones at the same time (if you have two windows open) and have them call each other at the exact same time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

P = MD

Today we ate lunch with one of the pharmacy students and a pharmacist. While eating, the pharmacist said, "There are people who were in my class I just thought shouldn't be pharmacists. Do you see the same thing in medical school?"

Sadly you do. Medical education is interesting. The admissions criteria are difficult. There are lots of hoops to jump through. You have to look good on paper and in person. You have to weigh competing offers or pray that you are at the top of the wait list. But once you are in, you are in. Atrition from medical school, at least my medical school, is remarkably low. I can think of only one person who has actually been kicked out. I can think of at least 5-10 others who probably should be kicked out. But doing so is a death sentence to a career in medicine. After acquiring so much debt to get through school, it seems like the school bends over backwards to get you through to the end.

Some people pick fights with ancillary staff. Some people let their egos supercede their training. Some people just don't have what it takes to survive effectively in the system. Some people are just plain not mature enough to handle hearing the proper terms for certain anatomic regions without giggling. Somehow all of them become doctors.

Every now then urban legends crop up about so-and-so who did such-and-such on the wards. Hearing those things second hand through the grapevine make them hard to believe, but almost all gossip and rumor are seated in at least a little peice of truth. And what's even more incredible is the fact that almost universally everyone seems to have a story about one person they rotated with that did something so incredibly stupid that you wonder how that person ever got into medical school. What's funnier is that sometimes the entire class knows how that yahoo got into medical school. It's so prevalent it just leaves you wondering - was there ever a day that it was me who gave someone else something to talk about? I know when I hear stories about people, or witness it for myself, I don't really have the guts to bring it up to their face (i.e. coumadin anyone?). Am I the gunner that just makes people look bad without knowing it (you couldn't tell from my non-AOAness)? I'm that guy who left all the scut work for someone else to do? I'm I the class idiot who doesn't see what everyone else on the team sees?

I try to not be any of those things, but sometimes you just have to wonder. Am I?