Sometimes it amazes me how our bodies adapt to things. How we can tolerate so much and yet sometimes the simplest change can throw us for a loop.
Today, we took a 10lb tumor (note, this is larger than our cat in mass) out of someone’s belly. They had no symptoms except a bit of an asymmetric gut.
Last week, we had a patient with several enterocutaneous fistulas (their bowels open to skin). They have a relatively normal life even though most of what they take by mouth comes out of their holes in their belly.
On the other hand, I watched someone die from liver failure after getting an appendectomy. They had underlying severe liver disease and the trauma of surgery threw off the balance they had been maintaing in their body.
I have also given handover that all of my patients were stable and then an hour after I went home, one crashed and had a pulseless arrest. They died from a sudden rupture of a vessel unrelated to what had been done to them previously.
Sometimes a seemingly simple procedure leads to complications of epic proportions. Other times, a complex and potentially deadly procedure has excellent results and uneventful recoveries.
I have to maintain a balance of just enough sleep to avoid migraines. Too many late nights or late mornings kills my head. Same thing with coffee. It feels like a tightrope, but sometimes the head explodes when I do everything right. Other times I can work multiple call shifts and do relatively okay.
The body is an amazing, yet puzzling thing.