Monday, October 26, 2009

Another world

Here I sit in front of the computer screen. It seems I must have been transported to this location on an alien space craft. I could swear I drove here in my Honda but it has been such a weird twenty four hours that now I am not sure. My shift began with a woman from another city dictating her care to the nurses. Carrying a preterm infant, she is here as a transfer patient for the maternal fetal medicine service. In addition to her problems with this pregnancy she is bipolar and moving into a full blown manic episode.

In the room next door, a patient is withdrawing from cocaine. She swears she hasn't had any cocaine in months but it some how got into her urine on the drug screen. She is in labor, probably due to the effect of the cocaine on her placenta. Her baby is doing alright and is full term, so my hope is she will be able to deliver vaginally.

Next, a call comes from the emergency room. A cashier from the local WalMart arrives short of breath. After a complete work up is preformed, the only abnormality which can be found is her hemoglobin of 2. Normal is 12. Even though she is not having her menstrual period and doesn't complain of heavy menstrual periods, it is decided this must be a gynecology problem.

So it goes, on to the woman with the abdominal wall abscess from poor hygiene, the parolee with pelvic inflammatory disease, and the teenager pregnant with her third baby. I have been doing this for several months now and yet, I still feel as if I am in a foreign country, if not on another planet. The people I see are not like the people I when I am elsewhere. The language I speak here is somehow different. This worries me. I am not sure I want to go back to my old life in private practice but I wonder when this will feel like a place that I belong.
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