Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Medicine is not for me

Though I am an attorney now, for a brief period I considered going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician. I even declared biology as my major when I transferred from a junior college to the University of California. (I quickly discovered and introduced myself to my university guidance counselor after one lecture in a college-level biology class; I knew immediately I needed to get out of the "science" college and enroll in the "social science" college instead!)

While in college, I took a weekend trip to visit a friend attending a college about 6 hours away. We had a great time; lots of loud music, dancing, a bit of karaoke (gasp!) and on the Saturday night before I had to leave we ended up continuing the party at someone's home into the wee hours of the morning (as college kids are known to do). One of the guys dropped his beer bottle just outside the jacuzzi, leaving glass all over the patio, and then he kept stepping in it. He complained that he was walking in glass but he kept doing it. When we were finally leaving, he decided to walk us through the house and out to our cars, but wanted us to wait while he got out of his wet bathing suit and put on some dry clothes. As he walked down the hall, we noticed that his foot was bleeding - badly - and he was tracking blood all over the WHITE carpet. We kept telling him to stop walking around, but he wasn't listening. Finally, as my friend examined his injuries to see if we needed to take him to get stitches, I looked at his foot, my brain engaged - ooh, that's really bleeding - and I hit the deck. I didn't actually fall, but I felt dizzy and had to sit down. I was 21.

When I was in my senior year of college, I dated a loafer-or-sneaker kind of guy. I finally convinced him to wear cowboy boots so we would blend in at the country bar where we were taking line dance lessons. When we got home, he used his right foot to wedge his left boot off ... and split his big toenail right in half. There was blood everywhere, and it was NOT pretty. (What is it with me and men with bleeding feet??) I took him to the emergency room and made the mistake of watching while the doctor anesthetized his foot (with a needle between the toes!) and proceeded to lift his toenail off. When I saw the exposed "meat" of his big toe, my brain engaged - ooh, that's human meat - and I hit the deck. This time I actually fell. Ever fainted? The next thing I know, there's this really awful smell wafting in the air. The nurse actually used "smelling salts" to revive me. After she helped me up, she made me sit with my head between my knees. Literally. I was 23.

A few years later my mom had some surgery to remove a tumor from her adrenal gland. The surgeon showed me a picture of the tumor - it was huge! - and it didn't bother me one bit. Then I was standing by my mom's bed and looking at her shortly after she woke up. She looked grey. My brain engaged - ooh, that giant tumor in the picture actually came out of her - and I hit the deck. Again with the smelling salts and again with the head-between-the-knees. I was 25.

Still years later, my then-fiance had some knee surgery and couldn't really move for about four days. I played nurse and changed his bandage. I pulled the dressing off, cleaned the incision, and when I got up to take the bandages to the trash, my brain engaged - ooh, blood was oozing - and I stumbled into the wall. I was 32.

Somewhere in my late 30s I turned a corner. None of the miscellaneous fluids associated with pregnancy, birth and c-sections bothered me. I'm very calm when my kids bleed. My own blood doesn't seem to phase me. A few years ago, my mother called me from the emergency room to tell me she had a nosebleed. About 8 hours after they packed her nose, she woke me in the middle of the night to tell me she needed to go back to the hospital. Her nose was bleeding so much that it was soaking through the packing and pouring down the back of her throat, making her choke and gag. Blood was everywhere; it looked like someone had been murdered in her kitchen. I took her back to the hospital, where they packed her again. A few hours later, she was bleeding all over the place again. We went to a different ER - clearly the staff at the first one didn't know what they were doing - and they packed her a third time. (By the way, according to my mother, having your nose packed is VERY painful ... and it hurts worse if you're already sore from the first, and second, packings.) Through all of this drama, I was fine (except for my anger and frustration that they couldn't get the bleeding to stop). I cleaned up the blood in the kitchen and I was fine. I washed the towels she had used to try to stop the bleeding and I was fine. Maybe my fainting days are over. If true, then I've hit the deck - or come close - four times that I remember.

And what did I learn from all of this?? It's a darn good thing I didn't go to medical school!


Boy Mom said...

Hilarious! I used to think nursing was for me until I worked at the hospital. I can only stand serious injury if it's a black and white x-ray image.

King of New York Hacks said...

HaHa...I've seen that done to a toe too once !! LOL I was an EMT at one can always go back to med school. ;-)