Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wake Me Up Before You Go, Go

In my younger years, when this song first came out, I sang the next line, "...don't leave me hanging on a lively yo-yo." Hee. What exactly a "lively" yo-yo is, I cannot describe. What can I say? I wasn't the champion lyric interpreter that I am today. This song got stuck in my brain because, you guessed it, someone woke me up before he went (went). Mr. Whoo had an early morning service commitment that required him to be up and out of the house before 5:30 am, and CindyLou took that as a clue that she needed to be awake, too. Telling a 3 year old that it's too early to be awake just doesn't fly when Daddy is already up, showered, and out of the house, so no sleeping in for me! I am soooo sleepy, but Mr. Whoo and CindyLou are napping, and the Bean is happily awake. No rest for the wicked! He and I are hanging out, watching Tivo'd Ameri.can Id.ol. (We are just at the end of the group sing, and....Jazz Hands! Hee. The Bean seems to favor Michael J.ohns, maybe he has an ear for this sort of thing?)

It has been a harrowing week. I have had a couple of really sick patients. One patient had HELLP with platelets dropping into the teens before she finally turned the corner. The other patient got a high spinal instead of an epidural (!) and we were *this close* to having to intubate her. Luckily, the worst of it was that she felt particularly crappy and was incredibly numb from the chest down for nearly 3 hours. Basically she labored right down to the perineum before she could feel too push. She had a happy, healthy baby, didn't feel a thing for another 2 hours, and, thankfully, has no residual effects from the misplaced anesthetic. Yikes. I feel like I have worried enough this week to sprout several gray hairs. It also seems like all of my March babies are preferring to be born in February instead! I am on call this weekend, so I am hoping the next couple of days are more low key.

I've been thinking of what my ideal practice would look like, as my contract is coming due in the next year. Something like a true group practice (shared OB patients, but individual GYN pts), with 4 or 5 docs, each with one 24 hour "labor deck" call during the week (which would include all labors/inductions/rounding for the entire group for that day, with no office duties), the day post call off, maybe doing surgery during your call day, and doing office the other days of the week, taking weekend call every 4-5 weekends. Sounds nice, but I am unsure if it exists in a workable form. We love just about everything about where we are now except for the call coverage (or lack thereof) and the office manager, of course. I am going to initiate some discussion now, so that we don't have to scramble at the end of the contract for a new place to go, should it come to that. Hopefully it won't, and we can work out an acceptable deal. On that note, Bean just filled his pants...during Paul.a's new video. Another sign of his ear for talent? I think, yes. Have a great week!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Good Day's Work

Some days this job is frustrating, irritating, exhausting, and difficult, other days this job is exhilirating, wondrous, amazing, and wholly satisfying. I was fortunate to have such great day in the not so distant past. It was edifying to feel as if I was doing exactly what it is that I was made to do. The morning started out like most others, rushed and sub-frantic, prepping kids for school, consolidating bottles and pump parts, and departing for work just not quite in the nick of time (ie. just enough to be about 5 minutes late). This day the gods were smiling upon me, and the operating room was behind by about 10 minutes as well, so my surgeries were not delayed due to my tardiness. It was also fortunate that the OR was running a bit behind, as I had a moment to check up on one of my patients that was admitted overnight for observation.

This young girl (YG), a long standing patient of mine, seems to carry the very weight of the world on her shoulders. She was pregnant with her fourth child, six years after her youngest child; a child that was very much wanted, as she had prolonged interval between pregnancies. The day we diagnosed her as pregnant she cried in dismay rather than joyful tears. YG, you see, has severe depression. The depression had been somewhat controlled by several medications that she had weaned in anticipation of the pregnancy, but now that the pregnancy had arrived, she feared the long road ahead without the medications that worked best for her symptoms. Of course we attempted a different, safer, regime to continue throughout her pregnancy, but it was not as effective. The pregnancy was long and fraught with many tearful visits, poor weight gain, and many fears, as her previous delivery had been by emergency cesarean, and she desperately wanted to VBAC. She also approached her due date with apprehension, as she had an induction of labor with all of her previous deliveries, and, while I explained that natural onset of labor would give her the best chance of a successful VBAC, she dreaded the unknown sensation of a spontaneous labor. This initiated no fewer than 14 triage visits in the the weeks leading up to her due date.

Fast forward to this morning, where she had been admitted for irregular contractions early in the morning. Before my surgery began, I checked her cervix, and it was 3 cm, a change from her office visit earlier that week, but not by much. Labor and delivery was full, and the nursing staff was a little short, so we continued to "expectantly manage" her, we felt, very early labor. The thing about VBACs in my hospital is that the OB must be on hospital campus during the duration of the labor, for saftey reasons. So she and I were there, both waiting.

My first surgery was a hysterectomy on a 4 pound fibroid uterus, a little tricky, as it was quite enlarged, but extremely satisfying, and only 100 cc of blood loss! I saw YG walking the halls in between my cases, and hoped for cervical change, for both her sake and mine! My next case was a repeat cesarean section. It was truly a beautiful moment, as the baby was delivered, both mom and dad could see her lifted from the womb, they had chosen music to play in the OR, and they cried along with the perfect baby girl. Say what you will about cesarean deliveries (and this patient was offered VBAC, as well, but she declined emphatically, citing 72 hours of hard labor and little cervical dilation in the previous pregnancy) the birth was still beautiful, and it made me very happy to be a part of it. After the cesarean, I scurried up to check on YG, now contracting every 2-3 minutes, and dilated to 4-5 cm. She requested and recieved her epidural, water was broken and internal monitors were placed, and I went back down for the last case of the day, a short and sweet endometrial ablation.

After my third surgery, I grabbed a little lunch and retreated to the doctor's lounge to catch up some dictations, anticipating a somewhat long wait for YG's baby. I was surprised to get a text page, a mere hour later, that she was 6-7 cm and feeling pressure. I quickly wrapped up my dictations, and luckily so, as in the next 5 minutes I got the "get here now" page. I sprinted up the stairs and into the labor room to see that the "get here now" was a bit premature.

I was already gowned and gloved, so I settled in to help YG with her pushing. Something for which, I admit, I am not often present. It has always bothered me a bit when the nurses get a little yelly with their counting, all in the patient's faces and tell them to "get mad" to push their babies out. I just don't feel like "getting mad" and pushing out your baby jibe all that well. This labor nurse, despite the whole "get mad" business, was really very sweet and supportive, which YG needed most of all. I tried to get YG to listen to her body and let the pressure she was feeling guide the baby out.

After about 45 minutes of good pushing, the crown was visible, with thick, wavy hair, half-dollar size at the introitus, and I knew that this baby was going to be a very nice size. YG was starting to doubt herself, and I told her that her baby was going to be delivered at 3:45pm (in about 10 minutes). She laughed, a rare sound, and renewed her efforts. After a few more pushes, I eyeballed the nurse to get ready for a possible dystocia, and YG concentrated all of her energy to deliver her baby to the world. The head delivered oh-so slowly, I reduced the first nuchal cord on the perineum, felt the shoulders give a little catch which resolved with only McRobert's and a little bit of suprapubic pressure, and reduced the 2 additional nuchal cords as the baby's body was delivered up to his mothers waiting arms at precisely 3:45pm. She had an intact perineum and only a small right sided periurethral tear. Her largest baby prior had weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces; this young man was 8 pounds 11 ounces! YG was ecstatic, and back on her old medicine regime. She has a long road ahead, but she seems hopeful and empowered by the birth of her new son.

So a VBAC, a hysterectomy, a c-section, and an endometrial ablation, all before 4 pm. All in a good day's work, helping different women in different ways. This is what keeps me going through the less savory aspects of my job. Weird for me not to whine, for once, huh? Have a great week.

Monday, February 11, 2008


So much for posting 4 times a month. It's been almost a month since I had a minute to sit down, and, unfortunately, the only reason I have this minute is because the entire Whoo household has been stricken with a nasty little GI bug. It started out with the Bean. I picked him up from daycare on Thursday and he promptly annointed me with copious amounts of vomit. He continued puking for the next 24 hours. Poor little man, they just look at you after puking like "help me!" Mr. Whoo stayed home from work with him on Friday. I was on call for the weekend, and by Sunday the Bean seemed to be feeling fine. That's when CindyLou picked up puking, followed shortly by myself. She and I puked all last night, and now Mr. Whoo is starting to get the chills and nausea, and, we just got the call from the daycare that Bean picked up vomiting again this morning (odd after almost 2 days with no sickness!) We are a sad little family today. Just pitiful. CindyLou and I slept in, and have just ventured on to ginger ale and crackers. Hopefully we are turning the corner soon!

In work related news, I had this lofty goal of not having any inductions this month. (To be honest, that is my goal every month, but with just a handful of patients due, all relatively healthy with few risk factors, I felt I'd actually be able to accomplish it, for once!) Well, that came back and bit me big time, as of this morning I have 2 40+ week patients with severe oligo, and another 39 -weeker threatening pre-ecclampsia. All three are now on the books for induction, thankfully not today, since I'm most uncomfortable straying too far from my bathroom! Also in the works in the coming months, I have 2 sets of twins on the way. I keep waiting for the 3rd set to complete the trifecta. I have noticed a little more activity on the billing front with respect to OMFH. I have a meeting scheduled to go over financials, so I'm sure she's scrambling to set things right. My application for oral boards is looming due at the end of this month. I am scared to take these boards! Any good advice for review courses? I was thinking of trying to do one before I have to turn in my list, so someone can look it over.

Sorry so short, but feeling sick and looking at computer screens does not go well together! Thanks to all that have been checking in on me. I will try to be more present in the blogosphere in the coming weeks.

P.S. Hah! This is my 100th post. A post about puking, how un-monumentous!