People make fun of me for preferring comedies, action films, and fantasy novels on my down time. It's not that I don't appreciate Oscar nominated movies (yay, The Big Short) and best selling non fiction books, but sometimes I just need escape. Sometimes, there are nights I can't fall asleep or I jerk awake still thinking about a patient...
  1. The patient whose baby died in utero
    It's always the same. The nurse calls me because she can't find the baby's heart beat audibly. So, I come in with the ultrasound and hope I see fetal cardiac motion--a beating heart. Nothing. I watch for another 15 seconds. The patient is anxious and asking me if everything's ok. My stomach drops. I turn to her and I can see in her eyes she already knows.
  2. The patient dying from cancer
    I slept poorly on my Gyn Oncology rotations. There was the sweet grandmother with ovarian cancer who cried on the way to the OR, the pretty 25 year old with advanced cervical cancer, the Dr. Nguyen with stage IV Fallopian tube cancer...They all passed away before I graduated residency.
  3. The patient who was abused
    The patient with cancer who came to clinic with hand imprints around her neck, the shy housewife who I diagnosed with chlamydia and later admitted she and her daughters were being abused by her husband, the pregnant patient whose petulant boyfriend threw open the exam room door while she was still undressed and said she doesn't need privacy because she used to be a stripper...
  4. The patient in the ICU
    Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy, Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, Sepsis
  5. The patient who miscarried
    The emergency room nurse with poorly controlled diabetes and recurrent miscarriages, the IVF patient who traveled back and forth to Colorado for infertility treatment, the young lady who didn't realize she wanted to keep the pregnancy until it wasn't an option anymore...
  6. The therapist with postpartum depression who had been in denial
    She is a reminder that we are all human and it's okay to admit you need help.