I spent a day playing magician’s assistant yesterday. That’s how it felt anyhow.
Anaesthesia is not exactly known as the most exciting of specialties. In medical school we made jokes about students with lousy people skills making great anaesthetists… because, hey, the patient would be asleep.
If you are having poorly controlled pain, the anaesthetist can be your best friend. You’re a woman in labour for the 18th hour? You want an epidural? Call the anaesthetist. Never mind the fact that when you are at your most vulnerable because some cowboy is going to cut you open and whip out that appendix that’s been making you puke for the past two days, the last person you see before you go to sleep is that smiling anaesthetist.
I brushed up my seriously rusty venipuncture skills. I performed my first successful intubation. And my second. Not to mention my first RSI. Well, I was excited.
And I learned a lot about some serious drugs.
I was on the pediatric team where we were handed a flat baby. I was the medical student, there was also a very confident and clever and all round wonderful resident… who when she saw the flat baby, her mind went blank (mine was already blank). The anaesthetist saw we were in trouble and came to us, gently guiding our moves as we brought this baby back from the brink.
She said afterward, the anaesthetist is always who you want to be there in a crisis. Seeing them in action, I think that’s exactly right.
I had a great day. And then I got to deliver a baby. Whee!