Sunday, October 28, 2012
Friday, October 19, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
My current Musculoskeletal/Orthopedics float has me bouncing between hospitals and clinic locations between the North and South sides of Chicago. Today I drove through several neighborhoods that I had never spent much time in, and was pleased and saddened by some of what I saw. It is unsettling to think that people can be so negligent and destructive in neighborhoods that have absolutely beautiful greystones and historic buildings.
If you've never been to Chicago, outside of the Loop, or lived here (like me until this year) you might not know that this city (in the NORTH) is one of the most racially segregated places I have ever seen in my life--and I'm pretty well-traveled and from the South. The street grid system and a racially discriminate housing policy that wasn't ended until almost the 1960's (and has since been forgotten by many who criticize Southern racism) made it quite easy to cordon off people by race. Even today it can remind me of the Apartheid Bantustans in that literally entire neighborhoods are derelict and blighted (and black), yet all one has to do is cross the street and middle class wonder abounds. Frequently these dividing lines are major boulevards such as Western Avenue (which serves as a dividing line between multiple neighborhoods the entire breadth of the City of Chicago) or large parks such as Humboldt Park which conveniently divides the neighborhood of the same name into one side kitchy/krunchy white hippies and another of Puerto Ricans of mixed income. The far west of Humboldt Park is another few block of poor blacks that spills south and West into the even poorer (and quite frankly dangerous) neighborhoods of West Garfield Park and Austin. Not all black neighborhoods are poor and not all are dangerous. But a few definitely are. There are also VERY rough historically Irish neighborhoods.
Having said all that I continue to be amazed by the place I'm calling home.
Friday, October 5, 2012
As part of our surgery rotation we are requiered to attend clinic several times a week with different surgeons. Surgeons, in general, are a rather cantankerous bunch, with a quick temperament and not always the best people skills. I guess this makes sense considering most of the people they deal with are unconscious.
Yesterday I was working with Dr. Snarky Surgeon, and we had a morbidly obese patient referred in due to hernias. I spoke with the patient prior to the doctor, and it was obvious that this patient is very unhappy. Due to the patient's size, comorbidities, and the very low risk of the type of hernias she had, the doctor did not feel she was a good candidate for surgery. At this point the patient became very upset and visibly frustrated due to her situation. Though I agree with the doctor that most of her problems are not directly related to her hernia, but more likely related to her weight, I did not like the manner in which he lost his patience with her. In fact I felt very bad for the patient because I would not want to be spoken to in that manner. As such, I stayed back after the doctor and I tried to speak with her for a few moments. She discussed some of her problems in more detail, and it did indeed seem that she has some degree of depression. I can't say that I wouldn't feel the same way given similar circumstances. I listened to her for a few moments, and tried my best to reassure her that though at the moment surgery was not an option, that her primary could either give her some help with her frustrations and feelings of emptiness, and if he couldn't he could refer her to someone who could.
Patients like that are challening, saddening, and remind me of why I'm here. I hope I never forget that underneath medical problems are real people.