Monday, June 6, 2011

Hocks, blocks, and emergency call

Day 1 of my externship ended much better than it started. I settled into my tiny extern room last night feeling much like I did the day I graduated from college and moved into a room in a house on my own; uncomfortable, lonely, and a little bored. I woke up at 5:30 AM due to a combination of jet lag and the intern in the room adjacent to mine ripping pieces of packing tape off a roll. This made me paranoid that I was going to miss morning treatments, which woke me up further, which made me realize how little sleep I got, which made me paranoid that I would not get my coffee, which eventually got me to get up and make coffee. I then sat around in my garrett and read a book for the next 2 hours or so until someone came to find me.

I hate the first day of new jobs. I hate feeling incompetent, even though I know I cannot be expected to know where the doctor keeps his ultrasound equipment, or how he likes his injection sites wrapped. I try to watch and learn and absorb as much as I can, but this takes up a lot of my attention and I end up feeling clumsy and slow witted.

It was emphasized to me how much getting along with a person can affect your happiness and even your ability to excel at a clinic. On the first call I rode along on this morning, the tech and I did not click. I felt that she was unfriendly and taciturn and she probably thought that I was a moron. As a result, I worried more about how my actions reflected on my competence than on what I was learning. I was miserable during this call, hastily concluding that equine practice was not for me because I have so little clinic experience and no idea what to do. This evening, however, I rode along to an emergency with the intern on call. Perhaps it is because she does not seem like she can be much older than me, or perhaps it is because she is bubbly and talkative, but we clicked and we chatted the whole way. At the call (suturing a minor, but bloody, laceration) my actions were more decisive, my help more helpful, and my questions more relevant than they had been at the earlier farm call where I had been preoccupied with feeling awkward.

I can see that this situation holds two important lessons. The first is to take a darn good look at the atmosphere of any hospital I am thinking about interning or working at. I want to end up somewhere where I feel supported at least in personality, because I know that is when I make better, clearer-headed choices instead of reacting in a fit of trying to prove myself. The second lesson is just to learn to practice good medicine whether I am friendly with the people around me or not.

Things I need to review:
Hock injections
Flexion tests
Acupressure points and their relation to lameness

Too sleepy now, though. Must sleep.

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