Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Memories... part 1

One summer, a bunch of us neurology residents volunteered to work at a summer camp for teenagers with epilepsy.

This went well. Until the last day.

After the kids' bus had left, we learned the van coming for us had a mechanical issue, and would be delayed 4-5 hours.

So, with nothing better to do, we walked a mile to the nearest town, bought a shitload of cheap beer to carry back to camp, and got drunk. For those of you who are horrified, this is pretty standard. Medical residents are basically college students, but with more letters after their names.

This went well until our chief resident (Dr. Tallahatchie), the one in charge of showing us younger residents the proper way to do things and to lead by example... Decided to climb a large tree. This kind of decision (and the inevitable "Hey, everybody, watch this!") always seems to follow alcohol consumption. Especially when the person involved grew up in rural Mississippi.

In a bold display of intoxicated coordination, Dr. Tallahatchie climbed a tree about 15-20 feet up, then tried to swing across to a branch on it's neighbor. Which broke.

When we got to him, our chief resident was awake, still drunk, and had a broken bone sticking out of his right leg. The excessive alcohol probably helped, as he absently commented "boy, I sure fucked that up." He then pulled out a pack of cigarettes, began smoking, and pulled my beer out of my hand and finished it.

So we had several highly-trained medical people standing around, with no clue what to do for a compound fracture. I mean, if he'd had a stroke, or seizure, we might have had an idea. But we're neurologists, and don't know a damn thing about bones. None of us had a phone, either (this was the mid-90's) and the camp's office was locked. So, we threw some T-shirts on to absorb the blood, and Dr. Linn (who ran marathons often) bolted back to town to call an ambulance.

She also bought more beer.

When the paramedics arrived, they asked Dr. Tallahatchie to stop smoking for the ride back to Big City Hospital. He refused, and said he knew he'd be in the hospital for the next week and wouldn't be allowed to smoke there, so was going to keep puffing until they rolled him into ER. The sympathetic medic said "okay" and offered him a light. His partner went into the back of the truck to make sure their oxygen tank was closed and secured.

Our van didn't show up for another hour. We took Dr, Tallahatchie's suitcase with us. It was mostly full of comic books, which we read to pass the time.

To be continued...

16 comments:

peace said...

I can't stop laughing

Anonymous said...

After 10 years in health care, there's only 1 part of this that I find hard to believe...Why didn't 1 of you soon-to-be-full-neurologists decide to treat him yourself? Maybe perform a reduction and fixation using twigs, leaves, and perhaps a well-placed bungee cord.

If Dr. Fizzy's blog is accurate, you know those former med school gunners (who are now Dermatology residents) would have done it. They would have had him all stitched up with barely a scar by the time those EMT's arrived.

Come on, Neurologists! Man up and do what needs to be done. You don't need to wait for those EMT's. You have 100,000 times the educational debt they have, so surely you don't need their help.

Anonymous said...

Should I feel badly that I am dying laughing as I'm reading this?!? :)

Jono said...

This sure brings back a lot of alcohol related college down-time. I can't believe most of us survived. It was awesome to be immortal at that age.

Mark p.s.2 said...

I wouldn't have touched him because he could have bled out through a cut artery/vein. It would then be MY fault.

Packer said...

I love telling my own college stories, hearing the stories of others---except those of my children's those are not to be told anywhere , anytime.

Have you ever gone swimming in Lake Superior--- I have.

Anonymous said...

This absolutely made my day.

HoosierMama said...

In a field where we abbreviate everything, we call that a "HYWT" - "Hey y'all, watch this!" - injury.

Anonymous said...

So this is the story of hour Dr Tallahatchie became your hero? Because's he's now mine

RehabRN said...

LOL! This reminds me of the light bulb jokes.

Aww, at least you didn't need a stethoscope. One uro I work with (who has a magic finger) joked about having to run around the clinic to find one.

A hammer could have come in handy though, as part of a splint.

migraineur said...

@Rehab RN- I swear that's what my function as an RT is. To be the stethoscope possessor

Shellye said...

My favourite line (and I'm paraphrasing), "medical residents are college students with more letters after their names." I also liked the famous last words that always follow alcohol consumption, "Hey watch this..."

Anonymous said...

you young people are disgraceful! in my days in college and med school(68-76),we knew it was inappropriate to drink more beer than was necessary to soothe the pharyngeal irritation from smoking too much weed. and we would never have gotten a broken leg swinging from a tree like some sort of australopithecine. we got our broken bones like proper neanderthals, playing rugby.

Houston Genaux said...

I scenes a big boom is comming... in part 2

Anonymous said...

And I thank thee, RT, for providing us neurologists with stethoscopes so we can pretend to listen to the patient's heart and lungs, as if we know what we are doing.

Anonymous said...

I think Dr Linn is the real hero in this.....remembering to bring more beer could have easily have been overlooked by a lesser mortal.

 
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