I am stunned in a sea of infection.
No, I do not have a delirium. I just happen to be rotating through Infectious Diseases (herein ID).
I haven’t felt this dumb in a few rotations.
Okay, I haven’t been on a new rotation in a few rotations, so I guess that it is fair game.
But still… Last time I felt this stunned was Bone Marrow Transplant and prior to that, Cardiology.
I wish it was as cool as running around in hazmat suits trying to ward off the next pandemic superbug. And some days, it feels a tiny bit like that. Most of the time, it involves looking at stinky post-op wound infections (oh boy, did I ever smell a doozy today) and trying to sort our prolonged febrile neutropenias.
I like the detective work that can come from ID. Sometimes, you have to piece together the presentation and patterns in fevers or bacteria to figure out the cause. Sometimes, you get to find that kind of rare, super cool cause of something. Just like on House, MD but without the overqualified and giant team who can do whatever they basically want around the hospital… So, not really like that at all.
I love the problem solving side of consult-based medicine. The swoop in a problem solve is cool, but as I think I have said before, I much prefer the continuity of care that is being the prirmary caregiver.
But back to my feeling stunned…
I have never been a big one for microbiology and things. Antibiotics are a big black box. I know the go to antibiotic for the common problems and beyond that, I look it up or, well, call ID. And anything beyond your common yeast infection or virus is basically outside of my comfort zone.
Thus, I find it challenging to sort out a lot of these cases. It isn’t in my natural knowledge base and sometimes, I struggle even to know how or where to look it up.I get that this is the reason why we do this rotation.
I just hate that floundering feeling of seeing consults and follow-ups and sometimes not really having a clear grasp of what the plan is or will be. And yes, that happens on most rotations at times, but as you learn, it happens less and less. It just seems that hopping to this rotation, it is currently happening more and more.
It all comes with time and experience and reading. But until then, it also comes with a lot of, “I’ll look that up” or “I need to talk to my staff doctor about this” and, of course, the “I don’t know.” Oh, and a lot of changes to my “assessment and plans,” which make me cringe a little.
That is the thing with medicine, the more you learn, the more you learn you don’t know. This is yet again another area where I clearly don’t know a lot… At least I figured out that much.