Cracking Skulls Son
Just Another Day in Paradise.
I’m on my neurosurgery rotation. Wake up at 3am. Get in at 4am. Round on the patients on the service. Round with the Attending and my senior neurosurgery resident. Go to clinic. See consults. Senior resident is a little off today. He’s being a complete dick about dumb stuff.
I remember a conversation I had with my best friend Lucas yesterday. Lucas works in IT. He has a somewhat stable schedule. Be in at 8 be out around 6 depending on how a patch went. At this moment I envy his life.
Anyway, back to our conversation. I tell him how I had a guy with a big brain bleed and how the senior resident walked me through putting in a SEPS drain. I describe to him how I cut the scalp and started spinning an old school hand drill until I was through the skull. I can hear him turn green as I am describing this. He stops me. “Bro are you telling me you cracked a skull?”. I then tell him about my 3 am alarm and how I have been leaving the hospital at 11pm. He stops me mid-sentence again, “Dude there is this one time I had to be at work at 7 am. It was so hard. by 10 am I was so hungry and tired. What the hell?”
What kind of twisted twilight zone universe am I living in where it is normal to wake up at 3 am just to go in and get my ass kicked for the next 17 hours. After 4 years of medical school here I am putting myself through a living hell. Each morning I force my eyes open to the caustic sound of my alarm at an ungodly time. Shouldn’t I be able to dictate my schedule at this point in my life. I guess not.
I tell him I know how ridiculous this is, but the learning is good and it was pretty fun to “crack a skull”. At which point he almost barfs and we coin the new phrase “crackin’ skulls, son.” So every time we break through a challenge we yell out “crackin’ skulls, son.”
I wrap up this hellish day at 11pm where my senior resident went from being a dick to a dirty asshole and I crack. I’ve been in the hospital for 19 hours, I’m exhausted and mentally drained. I drive away from the hospital and pull into drive through….2 double cheeseburgers, order of fries, and 6 piece chicken McNuggets please. ok so McDonald’s is my comfort food. Whatever it takes. I sink my teeth into the beautiful processed meat and I am teleported back to my childhood and good times. I finish eating and immediately regret it as the processed meat and sodium tag-team to drive me into a food coma. I find the will to shower and tuck myself into bed. I succumb to the tag-team and I am out. Another day done.
Sometimes it’s crazy the things we do. The hours we work are absurd. And it’s hard to realize it until we talk to people who are not in medicine
Crackin’ skulls, son!!!!!!
Zahir MD is an Emergency Medicine Physician currently practicing in Los Angeles. He is the creator of The Physician Grind, a site for physicians to share the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly in medicine, where this post was originally published. You can connect with him on Facebook, and Twitter. Originally published at www.blog.numose.com.