poured out before bed
Mondays are always somewhat bitter as far as days go, but there is a subtly more abrasive quality to the atmosphere when I walk into the team room at 0500 this morning. The gang is all there – two wonderful interns, an excellent senior medical student, my sweet junior med student colleague – and all are pleasantly preparing to receive sign-out from the night intern. But there is a new presence. Our infinitely approachable, impossibly brilliant senior resident’s customary chair is filled by a slender, severe looking female wearing fabulous shoes.
“Good morning, you must be the senior filling in for Tom today. My name is Mullberry, I’m one of the JMS’s on the team.” I endure her limp hand shake and a borderline eye roll while adding, “I LOVE your shoes!” This garners a more complete eye roll coupled with a nod, but no verbal response.
I pull up am labs on my patients and began filling out overnight vitals, totalling input/output values for each of them, and noting between clicks and tics the awkward silence in the room. It is a relief when the night float begins sign out, when I can exit the oppressive space to preround on my patients. With prerounds done, though, I must return to the team room of sorrow to await the coming of the peds GI inpatient team. I sit before my computer, again discomfited by the weird feel to the room.
Before long, a voice dripping with pin-prick annoyance drills out.
“Where is the GI team?! If they have a set rounding time they should really be up here. Like 5 minutes ago. That’s crazy unprofessional in my book.”
I look at the clock. It is 6:33. We usually round at 6:30.
“YOU.” She points at me with a long, boney (terribly scary) finger. “Page the fellow and tell them to get up here or we will round with pulm first instead.”
I pull up the computer paging system and begin typing in a very polite message when said fellow comes strolling in, full of smiles and “good mornings.” Things begin to feel normal, to feel good again, as we round with the familiar team, and the dour woman who has stolen our early morning fades to the back. But all too quickly rounds are over, and it is back to the team room in her less dilute company.
“That was crazy ridiculous. I would not have ordered X lab on that patient,” Dr. Sunshine mutters as we file in, launching into a narcissistic screed about her personal preference for laboratory panels, a writhing sinew sticking bizzarely out of her wan cheek. I am afraid to meet her eye, but afraid to look away when she speaks.
Finally, silence again reigns. But not for long.
Her voice is like the scraping of rusted metal as she begins to non-constructively (and quite inappropriately) critique the whole team’s GI patient presentations and to bash how the fellow and attending run those rounds. She moves into how inadequate our interns’ training will be for the “crazy hard” second year that awaits them in a few months, how they will never be ready for it, speaks to how she was able to survive only by her superior wit. Then she commences moaning about how late the pulmonary team is for rounds (again, only about 3 minutes behind), and how “crazy inefficient things are around here.”
So it goes for pulm rounds, for endo rounds, for genetics rounds. Dr. Sunshine atrophies significantly when the attendings arrive, only to burst forward and stomp about in her green, polka-dotted shoes when they have left their recommendations, rasping on about how she would have done it differently, more remarkably. Her personality disorder glitters in all it’s gawdy glory with every whack she takes at the old conversation tree.
We’ve all just about had it.
And then – a crazy miracle. As the good Dr. Sunshine is running out to belittle some poor nurse concerning something (completely) insignificant, her little green shoes slip. They slide a little. They scuff a little. They squeak a little. And Dr. Sunshine goes right down on her skinny little tuchus just outside the team room windows, her long braid flying straight up in the air as she slams to the ground.
She spends the rest of the day in the resident lounge with a thrown-out back, available only by pager.
I knew I LOVED those crazy shoes.
>>Take a peek at Round Shoe