I was thinking back on all the funny moments of my medical school clerkships, and the one that always sticks out is this one girl I saw on Peds. She was like 16. She had a rash on her right flank and abdomen, with itching, that had been there for a week. There was one spot that was big, and there were smaller lesions that followed skin lines. For all you medical students, say it with me: pitryiasis rosea. Anyway, she lifted up her shirt to expose her side and I got a pretty good look at the Herald spot. However, her mother, in the interest of furthering medical knowledge, was unsatisfied with this level of exposure. Perhaps she was a surgeon in a previous life, but she was determined to have complete exposure. So, she walked over and yanked her shirt up past her breast and pulled her shorts down to her pubic bone. And to the mom's credit, I visualized the entire extent and distribution of this girl's rash, from base of right breast to right inguinal region, extending along the back as well. I imagine that I probably turned some odd shade of purple, muttered something, and left.
You know what the scary thing about being a doctor is? You'll be sipping a mocha, and the guy at the table next to you, he clutches his chest and falls to the floor. Someone yells out to call 911 and asks for help, that's you. And when you're sitting on the porch and you see some guy fall off his bike and smack his head on concrete, and he needs help, that's you. And when you see a car swerve off the road and flip a few times, you gotta pull over, because that person needs you.
There's a nice feeling of anonymity before all of this med school stuff. I could watch an ambulance drive by with its lights going and think to myself how glad I was that it had nothing to do with me. I could see an accident and think, I'd better let the professionals handle this. The only problem with that attitude is that in a few months, I'll be the professional. And it'll be 3AM and I'll get a page from a nurse telling me that Mr. D in 5142-2 had a 30 second run of V Tach. And I can't walk away. That's a scary thought.