Don’t be first

“When we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off.” — Lt. Col Hal Moore (Mel Gibson), We Were Soldiers

Well, that’s not smart. Looks good up on the Silver Screen, but it’s not smart.

It’s my first full day back; the Funky Stomach hasn’t turned over once, and I feel (almost) normal. I’ve had to catch up on the mail and paperwork that I’ve neglected for the last few days. One of the things I haven’t been able to deal with until now is the annual paperwork for the government, so I’ve spent a lot of time doing that today. While it may seem intimidating, it is really a matter of organization. You need a large 3 ring binder to hold your financial records, the willingness to place them in the binder once you check for obvious errors, and access to a photocopier. My printer doubles as a photocopier (many of them do) and the cost is reasonable, so there is no excuse not to have one if you need it. Then when it’s time to fill out the forms, all your records are safe in one place, and in chronological order!

I also have those stackable file drawers by Rubbermaid that I store medical records in – one drawer for each hospital plus an extra for “stuff” that doesn’t easily fit a category…. really, it is all a matter of organization.

I thought that I would be too busy to post tonight until I saw this report from the Happy Hospitalist:  Surgeons do better when they “warm up” before operations! Apparently fifteen to twenty minutes of performing a simple simulated operation is enough to restore and improve their skills.

The study also included surgeons just coming off a long workday (in other words, a long period On Call) and even they showed improvement. But no amount of practice or Warm-Ups could restore them to 100% of the skill they had at the beginning of the shift. Even though you can refocus, sometimes the body and mind are just too tired.

This information can be used to your advantage: If you have a a scheduled procedure coming up, don’t be the first patient of the day. Be patient number 2 or number 3. With most surgeons, the percentage of improvement isn’t that much, but every little bit helps!

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