The most intense seven weeks of medical school
Victoria S S Wong can laugh now her surgical rotation is over
The attending doctor turned his well equipped head in my direction, shining his surgical headlight into my eyes. “What is the rate of recurrence of thyroid cancer in the contralateral lobe?” he asked. I looked down out of defence, out of deference, blinded by the 300 W beam of knowledge he was imparting to me. After weeks of squirming like an entomologist's newly pinned beetle, I was well versed in my answer: “I don't know.”
With the release of this phrase, well received when used appropriately and devastating when uttered to the wrong attending doctor, I eagerly awaited polished details of the management of thyroid cancer. “The rate of recurrence is …” he began emphatically. I breathed a sigh of relief. This doctor was an Instructor, the most benign and educationally rewarding of all surgical types.
I call my rotation a surgical stay because I ended up with a little