I feel like I generally actually do a really great job with kids – but somehow seniors only see me at my worst moments.
Case in point: This morning I was on pulmonology consults, seeing a baby in the PICU. Baby was lying face down and I wanted to listen to her heart, so I gently turned baby face up….
… and oh my god, guys – this is not a thing you should do in the PICU. She immediately thrashed all 4 of her tiny limbs and got herself enmeshed in ALL OF HER WIRES which between the 12 lead EKG, the IVF, the pulse ox, and good god I don’t know what else – this baby was slowly strangulating every extremity and neck on her body.
Basically, my physical exam was only good enough to verify that she did, indeed, have only 4 extremities enmeshed in cords, and 1 neck that was flirting with her EKG leads.
So I sat her up and quickly started the process of untangling every wire which she seemed dead-set on ending her tiny life with (as she HOWLED) and the PICU senior actually came in the room cause the baby was crying so hard.
The PICU senior looked at me.
“Hi,” I said helpfully.
“Ah, good… okay… glad pulm is here,” he said. “Um.”.
“So… the baby’s only 9 months old. Please don’t sit her up like that. She’ll fall and bang her head on the side of the crib.”
Apparently I had done such a good job untangling all her wires, right in the nick of time, that it now looked like I had just sat her up for the physical exam just, you know, for funsies.
“Right,” I said, clearly expressing this complicated concept “Yeah. No, you’re right. Sorry.”
I laid her back down. She glared at the world at large.
“Cool,” said the senior. He left the room slowly, backwards.
The baby waited patiently for him to leave. Then she immediately flipped onto her stomach and enmeshed every extremity and neck on her body in wires again.
10 minutes later, I ripped off my contact/droplet precautions and met the primary team in the hall.
“Um,” I said to the nurse, with all the brilliant dexterity of the best of interns. “So… I think I untangled her wires. But she’s kind of thrashing around and maybe you want to check? I’m not sure? She’s really upset.”
The attending stared at me. I had probably interrupted him.
“Cause I don’t want to undo all your hard work or anything,” I helpfully added.
The senior was pretending to be extremely interested in the nurses milling about across the hall.
The nurse sighed. “Okay,” she said.
“Great….” I said, walking backwards.