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Dr. Ottematic is 2 years old!

February 23, 2011

Lately I have not been writing much because I’m too busy playing in the snow and on the ice in my downtime. But looking back, I noticed the date of my first post on this blog. This repository of rambling has been around for 2 full years. That represents a pretty big chunk of my life. Flipping back, I realize that a lot of great and also shitty things have happened in those 2 years. To mark the anniversary, I’ll mention a few.

I’ve had some great patients [who I didn’t write about because I couldn’t fully explain the joy of seeing them without violating confidentiality in revealing too many details]:

– Mr. I’m Old and I’m Spry broken hip guy – I bet you are flirting with your neighbour and puttering in the flower beds this weekend
– The Professor – let’s go for a walk!
– the generic “you are the only one who has ever explained my condition to me”

I witnessed some awful stuff:

– “um, hi Dr. Attending, the patient you asked me to see is stroking-out-in-front-of-me-and-I-can’t-help-her”
– palliative-patient dies in front of me in the ER with only wish being death at home
– cared for a patient with a terrible quality of life and who believed that he really didn’t have much to live for, and I couldn’t genuinely tell him “that’s not true!”
– just as I picked up the chart to do a surgical consult on a patient, that patient pulled a code blue, I was on the table pushing on their chest, and 6 litres of brown liquid spewed all over my pants before they turned grey and were pronounced dead

Might-have-cried-in-the-process-but-got-them-to-come-around-difficult families:

– “oh I understand he’s dying this week but we’ll have him home for the holidays 3 months from now, right?”
– “No, we won’t come and pick up our parent who you have discharged. We don’t want to.”

There was big learning:

– at the best (most practice-changing) conference EVER put on by UCSF Hospitalists in San Francisco
– oh that’s how you do an endometrial biopsy/central line/chest tube/ingrown toenail fix/etc

and some bad luck:

– getting Bell’s Palsy
– when my clinic placement exploded
– with an examiner that fell asleep on a station of a $2000 licensing exam, then losing my stethoscope at the same exam
– the fact that I couldn’t go back to Nepal thanks to the above licensing exam

and some good luck:
– AWESOME electives in hospitalist medicine, emergency
– my new family practice clinic placement turned out to be super
– a mandatory rural rotation landed me in a winter paradise

pouring heart outA few patients were inappropriate:
– a psychotic patient made some fairly aggressive sexual advances toward me in the ER
– many older folks asked if I am married, have kids, and “why not?”
– one family member of a palliative patient told me I was beautiful and wondered aloud why I had ruined my beauty with a piercing  (which, unrelatedly, I no longer have)
– unload their entire list of worrisome medical problems, stories about their horrible life, and then ask me “how long will this take?. I’m in a hurry.”

Meanwhile, I am used to and now unphased by patients who:
– hugged me in desperation
– cried the second I said “hello”
– constantly forget and mispronounce my name
– apologize for whatever smell, hairy body part, being sweaty, or something else they are embarrassed about since I have seen so many things that I no longer notice this kind of stuff


Work is a space occupying lesion in my life, and fortunately balance is possible and the lesion will shrink. Life outside of work equally has its highs and lows; you just don’t hear about them because I’m trying to be busy finding them instead of staring at my computer screen!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2011 9:49 am

    Happy blogiversary!

  2. February 23, 2011 11:04 am

    Great summary! Happy Blogiday!

    • February 23, 2011 9:45 pm

      thannnnkkk you dahhhling

      glad to have connected with you in those 2 years too 🙂

    • February 24, 2011 5:14 pm

      Yeah! Me too! 🙂 Really glad.

  3. February 23, 2011 12:06 pm

    So why aren’t you married and home with kids by now? hahahah. Seriously though, I’ve followed your blog for some time and it has been an interesting ride.

    It’s always fascinating to look through the glass from the other side, I absolutely love the way you wind humour into your writing, and I think I’ve perhaps learned how to be a better patient too.

    So thanks, keep it up, and know that your words are appreciated and enjoyed.

    • February 23, 2011 9:47 pm

      thanks Dave
      Those words are pretty kind. I’m surprised, but glad, that it’s had any impact at all. Thank you for continuing to read.

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