Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Raining Grace

This post conforms to the blog rules.The other day I had my first day of the Family Medicine preceptorship. (Last semester I did an Internal Medicine preceptorship, and this semester I have Family Medicine. Same routine, same program: once a week for five weeks, I go into a physician's office and see patients and learn what I don't do well, and reinforce what I already do well.) It was awesome! But it didn't start out that way.

At TAC, it did rain once or twice a year for several days
in a row. It was so much fun.
It was pouring rain on the second day of a huge storm.

Granted, I love weather in general, and especially rain. I associate it with grace. (St. Scholastica and St. Therese are right!)

Yes, rain is plenty of fun if umbrellas and roofs are useful.
Not so fun otherwise. Exhibit A: Useless curb. Hatt
But having spent four years in a legitimate desert (with phenomenal artificial irrigation powers) I have forgotten how much it can rain at one time.

The curbs were useless. The little creek nearby was level with the sidewalk. No matter how acrobatically I tried to avoid the river flowing past my car, I knew I would still got a shoe full of precipitation.

All this when I'd like to make a good first impression by not walking in drenched and frizzled by heavenly moisture. So, on this day I was not so overawed by the grace of rain.

Whatever. I got in the car without dignity, my big poofy, soaking coat bunched awkwardly on the wet seat. I am so glad I have a truck! I drove through a small river as I got onto the main road. After I reached the highway, everything was very safe and I made my way to the hospital. In the lobby, I ran into another medical student: she was (as she always is) beautifully put together, with her white coat safely stored in a dry clean bag. Inwardly rolling my eyes at myself, I took off my ridiculous coat and rejoiced that my copy of Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints seemed unhurt. In fact, I seemed generally presentable: my white coat (although not transported via hanger and bag) was dry and clean, and my skirt looked like a skirt, not the mop that I feared.

It was very easy to find the practice, and once I was inside a nurse led me back to Dr. H's office. The space about the same size as Dr. F's and was also crowded with paperwork and evidence of a busy life, but what a difference in first impression! This one was tastefully furnished with a large dark L-desk and credenza. The chairs matched and were handsomely upholstered. A green marble and gold desk pen set took center stage. The doctor himself was a rotund, older gentleman in a pristine and pressed white coat. Were it not for the laptop, desktop, and Keurig, I would have thought I'd been transported to the 1950s.

Dr. H was very busy that day and (because he was a good preceptor), so was I. It was a great day in the life of a soon-to-be-third-year! I saw six patients and felt confident to ask questions and examine them, plus form a differential diagnosis. The learning curve was extremely steep and fun to ride. And I think I actually made a difference, even if very small.

I became very glad that I was just getting over a wretched cough. Apparently, the same thing is going around, so I was able to ask the right questions because I'd just had all the symptoms. And St. Joseph of Cupertino must have been interceding for me, because all the patients had things I knew about, like rheumatoid arthritis. I'm sure that won't always happen, but I was glad it happened on this first day of a new preceptorship.

Going from room to room, talking with people, asking the right questions, examining them, and taking notes is so awesome. I love it. And having someone (like Dr. H) place their confidence in you is a really big help toward having confidence yourself. I felt like a junior colleague, instead of like a student. I was late leaving, but I couldn't imagine a better afternoon. It makes me really look forward to third year!

I guess it was raining graces.

1 comment:

  1. I am starting to be jealous that I won't get to do this kind of preceptor stuff! At least there are free clinics...!

    also, St. Joseph of Cupertino is the man!! I just found out about him this year. So cool.