Monday, February 21, 2011


This month I've been working upstairs in the ICU. I was on call Saturday and Sunday and at the end of the shift was signing out to the oncoming on-call resident after 30 blurry, sleep-deprived hours of adjusting ventilator settings and fine-tuning medications. When I was done my colleague said "see you Tuesday." Waitaminit, Tuesday, you say? Not Monday? There are no holiday or weekend schedules in the Emergency Room, but it turns out that today is President's Day (who knew?), and if you're not on call in the ICU you don't have to come in. Amazing! Especially since I'm in the middle of a run of 17 days on duty with no days off -- what a gift!

Then, on my way out, a couple of nurses grabbed me and insisted that I look out the window. Incredibly, it had snowed overnight and there was a dusting of white on the hills above the Marin headlands. A day off, and snow in the Bay Area: two once-in-a-residency events, and at the same time!

I celebrated by going home to sleep.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Multiple choice

While doing some practice questions for the Emergency Medicine Board Certification exams, the answer to question 366 happened to catch my eye: “C, remove the amputated part from the cooler, wrap it in saline-wrapped gauze, then refrigerate it in a plastic bag.”

I'm in a strange line of work....