Whoops, It Was A Good Day

Today was the first day of my 3 weeks of outpatient internal medicine. Some people refer to it as Ambulatory Medicine. Maybe that’s because the patients, for the most part, walk in.

I was putting on my shoes on the way to the 7:30 AM orientation session when I noticed a text message on my phone. It was from a classmate. It read, “Where are you?”

It was 7:15. Plenty of time for me to get to the hospital for the orientation. But with the text, I realized my mea culpa. It was a 7:00 AM orientation.

But what can you do? Whoops. So I strolled in to the conference room 30 minutes late and took a seat.

And that was my entrance into Ambulatory Medicine. It was a fitting start to the day. Because for the rest of the day I felt a little bit lost. Ok, fine. I felt a whole lot lost. Whether it was what to do with the patient after I had finished up with them, or where to send them when my attending wanted a STAT X-ray, I was totally in the dark.

A number of times I walked to the friendliest looking nurse and asked what I was supposed to do. What do I do with this chart? This patient is ready to go, do I just send them outside?

I saw a total of three patients today. None of them were terribly complicated patients. Their problems were manageable. But the situation was uncomfortable — for me.

But when it was all said and done, it was nice to have seen the patients. The population at a VA is a unique one. I remember one elderly patient who was in the US Army Airborne back in his day. Served 3 tours of active duty. He also showed me pieces of shrapnel under his skin that were still just coming up to the surface some 30 years after his injuries.

Crazy day. A day that started with a “whoops” and was filled with almost a constant sense of being lost. But it was a good day.