Thursday, April 8, 2010

Big Scary Student

I’m in theatre with my GP supervisor today, and he’s got a full list of skin excisions to do (our day ends up running from 9am-8pm). Somebody switched the on-call roster, and he’s been on call all night, so he’s sleep-deprived, grumpy, and late. Adding to the general awkwardness, he’s injured his foot and has to limp around in a giant moon-boot. I do my best to be helpful, drawing up local anaesthetic, cutting sutures and generally staying out of the way. And I’m doing well – we all are; eventually he starts to smile.

During a break between patients, he ducks across the hall to radiology to have his foot X-rayed. I’m in theatre preparing to draw up some more local anaesthetic, and I realise we’re out of 1% xylocaine. What to do? I ask the nurses, and their advice is to go ask the doctor.

So I venture across the hall to Radiology and see my doctor leaning on a chair strapping on his big moon boot – obviously he’s just had his X-ray. He seems to catch my eye, so I stick my head around the corner and ask quietly, “we’re out of 1%, is 2% ok?”

He looks up in surprise, loses his balance and topples over backwards. As in, completely over backwards, and the next minute he’s lying on his back with arms and legs sticking up in the air. I can only look on in dismay – he’s going to be furious, the rest of the day is going to be hell, and it’s all my fault. So I am much relieved when he dusts himself off and laughs, and then proceeds to tell all of the theatre nurses about his accident. Very much relieved.

Although, I must have look quite terrifying when I approached him, because he asked me later, “were you wearing a mask?” For the record, no, I was not.

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