Well… I’m not even entirely sure how to talk about this… but yesterday and today I had the AWESOME, UNIQUE, INCREDIBLE, UNDENIABLY COOL, RIDICULOUSLY RIDICULOUS opportunity to volunteer at the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (SNGH) and… wow… I have always been told that shadowing is the best way to see where exactly you fit best… and that is so true! I have seen so many things in the last two days that I can barely remember it all to tell you about it!
For starters, Day 1 I spent with Dawn, a PT at SNGH, and the mother of a girl I teach horeseback riding lessons to. By far one of my favorite people! She has such an amazingly incredible heart for people and for helping upcoming medical personel find their niche. From day one when I asked if I could shadow anyone where she works, she was 100% on board and by golly, she did not disappoint. Working as a PT at Norfolk General is a very interesting life in a way that I never imagined it would be. When I DESTROYED my knee a couple years ago, I went to PT at a clinic near Auburn University and I expected this shadowing experience to be about the same. People would come to visit, do their PT, and leave. OH NO! Not at Norfolk General. We walked around from room to room LOVING on people, helping them stand, talking about how they were feeling, and just doing everything we could to help people get stronger THAT day. It was cool and I have such an admiration for PTs in hospitals, as their job is so incredibly influential in the lives of long-term patients who just want someone to care about them. Such a cool job… And then to top this day off, Dawn’s department had their monthly staff meeting while I was there, which in essence meant a TON of free food for me. NOT A BAD DEAL WHATSOEVER! I mean, they had sausage balls that were unbelievably incredible! They were SO SOFT!
And then Day 2…….. I left my room at 6:25 this morning (UGH!) and even though this was BRUTAL, I am SO GLAD I DID THIS! Today, I saw something that I will never forget. I arrived and was scheduled to shadow a Physicians Assistant (PA). Yes, I know that most people don’t really know what these are. Quick explanation, they are the right hand of doctors. If a doctor has too many patients, they essentially act as doctors and the doctor signs off on their PAs diagnoses. They can write prescription, assist in surgery, and pretty much do EVERYTHING. After today, I am locked in. I want to be a Physicians Assistant and I will get there. Somehow some way I will make this work. Why am I so convinced that this is where I want to go? Well. Today I got to watch a brain surgery…………. I could write “…”s all day. Yeah… a brain surgery. Ya know? Where someone has something wrong with their brain and a surgeon OPENS IT! I was expecting to walk in, do rounds with this PA, and that be my day. And it would have been enough to convince me that this is the job I want to pursue! But no… I am walking around with the PA, Jamie (she had a name) and one of the doctors she assists. And it’s tons of fun! She is awesome and the doctor is HILARIOUS and has absolutely no filter whatsoever! Great team! They were constantly bouncing jokes off each other. He would make fun of EVERYONE. Just to show his sense of humor, I’ll explain his favorite joke. Often, WHENEVER he has the opportunity, if someone else asks how a patient they worked on is doing, he will ALWAYS tell them the patient died……… Cruel but he REALLY enjoys telling them he’s kidding. WHAT?! And everyone loves him. So we finish rounds and all of a sudden the doctor looks at me and says, “So you coming into surgery?” I wish that I had a personal photography to record what my face looked like… HUH?! You want me to watch a surgery!? And the PA looked at him and asked point blank. “Is that okay? Don’t we need to ask someone?” His response, “The more people you ask, the more likely you are to get a no.” And with that I was now being allowed to watch this… OH! Forgot a very important detail! When I said doctor, what I meant to say was NEUROSURGEON! I WATCHED A NEUROSURGEON! I was completely scrubbed up in my green scrubs [which has actually been a DREAM of mine for years]. I wish I had a picture… OH I wish I had a picture. But I was in the full getup, with a breathing mask thing and with a hair net. It was LEGIT. And the operation was so calm and smooth… They put the patient under and the surgeon turned the tunes on! Then it went down! This man who has performed 1,000+ surgeries went to work with complete calm and finesse. I am privileged to have seen it. I don’t remember all the details but basically the patient fell and was experiencing some problems from having a TON of blood floating around the frontal lobe. The doctor simply removed the skull, drained the blood, and then put everything back. And throughout the WHOLE thing Jamie was standing right next to him. Sure, all she did was suction for pretty much the whole thirty minutes, but she was REALLY good at it. I wanted to be her SO BAD! Oh man… And then after the fact he took Jamie and I out to eat at the Dirty Buffalo, a restaurant in Norfolk. A day to definitely be remembered.
So that’s what I did today. I watched a guy remove someone’s skull and save a life. What a day…
One day I will do what I saw today. One day I will assist in a surgery like that. One day I will sit back after finishing school and doing all that stuff and remember my cousin Dalta, who always told me I should be a doctor. And then one day when I die, I’ll be able to go up to Heaven and tell her that she inspired me to do just that.