Monday, October 8, 2012

Where to start...

So, it's been a while...

Life is hectic. The patients don't have broken legs and coughs now; they are all dying of cancer. It wears on me.

I notice the defense mechanisms of the oncologists. Everyone must somehow build up a persona at work, so they themselves don't become overwhelmed. My persona is dysfunctional and may have faulty chromosomes. He doesn't protect me; he just sits there and watches me flounder.

It's always the last patient before lunch, and I've always run hard the day before, so my blood sugar is 2. Pick your units, it's 2. The last patient before lunch is never easy, and I often feel like postponing to postprandial times.

The pre-lunch patient comes in to hear the results of his latest scan and to discuss the next step.

But the scan is often bad. I look at the scan before calling the patient in. I open the report on the screen and scroll to the conclusion. New lesions in the liver and bones, say. The primary grew, as well. Despite 4 rounds of chemo. Blood sugar hovers at 2 as I call the patient in. If just the patient gets up, it's hard. If the patient brings 3 family members, it's harder. Husband and wife is doable.

If they are nervous, I can't look at their faces. If they are young and know exactly what is going on, all they care about is what the scan shows. They have waited 2 days at home to hear the results. So I tell them. I hate seeing their faces, when even the most poised patients reveal a moment of panic.

I try to comfort them and tell them about the next line of chemo. If all lines are spent, I tell them they are done with our poisons, which didn't work anyway.

"Who would want a job like this?", I often think. Who would you have to become to like a job like this?

Enough whining. Life is good in other ways. Colleagues are good; there is no call. Natali plays soccer and runs. Christian is riding his bike; I run behind him. Mattias is close to walking. The Girl is a little manic right now. She is fast; for the first time, she is definitely faster for a woman than I am for a man. Her eye study is rolling along. Lots of minor injuries, but nothing that seems dangerous.

I run fartleks 3 or 4 times a week. It's all I do. It's fun and life is too hectic for anything else. It keeps me at 90%. 100% can wait until better times.

Hey! Hey, did you notice that Jake Hegge won Voyageur? Jake Hegge is 20 (maybe 21 now) and he won Voyageur in 7:35 (on the hard, revised course, that is). Scott Jurek was, like, 24 when he won Voyageur in his 3rd attempt. I have written about him before, and I will repeat that he could be big, if he keeps it up. I trained with him this summer in La Crosse and basically tapered before each session to be able to keep up. He has a blog at although it looks less than oft-updated.


SteveQ said...

I didn't go into medicine because I can't do the emotional detachment thing; to me, life is about being emotionally invested in everything. That, too, is a difficult way to be (and why the doctor I was dating and I broke up).

PiccolaPineCone said...

A propos of nothing in your post (because I don't know the answer to your question)... on my way home from a run today (17.2 km in 78 mintes pushing the jogger with only one child - also a propos of nothing) i heard a fascinating documentary about current danish immigration laws. Me sending this to you is probably akin to a non-Canadian sending me a link to a documentary about the separatist movement in Quebec which would make me roll my eyes and think 'yah, duh... i live here EVERY DAY i know all this...' so please feel free to roll your eyes and disregard but it was a fascinating listen for me. Seems like Denmark has the polar opposite approach to immigration than Canada (our approach is 'come in and recreate your country here and don't ever feel the need to mix with anyone else ever'). So, in case you are at all interested, this is what the CBC is broadcasting about denmark:

PiccolaPineCone said...

p.s. i do have one answer for you - jar of peanut M&Ms (or danish equivalent) in your desk drawer... rapidly consume handful prior to the before-lunch patient. I don't know much about medicine but nothing goes well with a unitless 2 blood sugar level.

Jake Hegge said...

Thanks for the shout out. Mike and I are running the Wild Duluth 100k this weekend. Hopefully we can continue the 1-2 streak.

Fast Bastard said...

PPC, we tried to watch the clip, but then one of the boys started screaming. I'm sure it showed how far right politics have moved in northern Europe. We actually have a left-leaning government now, but the immigration policies have yet to reflect that.

Jake, good luck in Duluth!