I’ve only been at my fellowship gig a week, but It’s official, I’m a candy-striper. Sort of, I wear a blue vest, not the old, red-striped dress, but it’s the same job. I shadow my surgeon (Rebecca) most of the time, like when she does her rounds but otherwise, I study or try to be helpful by delivering specimens to the lab, messengering things from Rebecca to other doctors or assisting the nursing staff with very minor, mundane things.
My training, so far, has consisted more of what-nots than anything else. “You are not a doctor, you don’t comment, don’t advise, don’t touch anything, don’t perform CPR and if a medical emergency occurs, get out of the way - put your back against the wall.” I made up the “back against the wall” part but that’s the soul of it. I’m just an observant pair of eyes and ears or a Yale lampshade.
When Rebecca (my surgeon) does rounds, she usually has five or six interns in tow (medical school graduates who are first-year residents). The interns review patient charts and get quizzed about symptoms, their meanings and possible treatments. It’s very interesting to watch the process up close - these people are wicked-smart (that’s a Boston saying).
Growing up, my parents were both doctors. I found myself standing, listlessly, a million times, waiting in hospital corridors or by nurses' stations for one or both of them to break free so we could leave. I was exposed to 17 years of medical jargon, as they discussed treatments with other doctors or passed on their final instructions for the night. I’d roll my eyes impatiently, but I guess I absorbed more than I realized. I can pretty much follow the consults as they do the rounds.
I met two new people last week, who I think I’ll see a lot of - Jammie and Quinn. They’re both rising-juniors and fellows, from other schools, working with other surgeons. Jammie’s a handsome, gay, black man from Georgetown University (my brother Brice’s Alma mater). He’s loud, fun and smart, very smart.
Quinn, on the other hand, seems like a short, officious little ****. When we were introduced, he cast his eyes over me slowly and deliberately like a frat-boy or an experienced stock ******* and from the way he talks, you’d think he owned the place. He’s from some second rate, local college, called Harvard.
Funny story, Jammie and I had just met and we were looking-up some fellowship information, on his laptop, I was looking over his shoulder and as he flipped around - his computer files and folders were SO organized - there wasn’t a stray file anywhere - not one. As we were huddled closely together I said, conversationally, because where I come from it means nothing and I guess I have no filters, “Are you gay?” He cringed, shocked, and laughingly said “SHHH!” He wasn’t “out” at work. I swore his secret safe and we became fast friends.
Jammie, besides being a molecular, cellular, and developmental biology major (pre-med track), is an observational comedian and as he’s thinking out loud - at a hundred miles an hour - I wish I could record him, so I could play him back later, slowly and deliciously to take it all in. We had lunch together in the cafeteria Friday and when our time was up, I discovered I hadn’t eaten anything. I’d been too busy listening to him open-mouthed or laughing.
I also realized I’m spoiled and not used to working indoors all day. We come in at 8 and we're released at 4:30. It’s almost a shock to see the sky isn’t fluorescent-lit and the breeze isn’t tainted with antiseptic smells. That was fellowship week 1.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Officious: "a nobody who gives unwanted advice like he’s the boss"