Getting Into the Groove
After a bustling first two days at the clinic, the last two days have been downright leisurely, nowhere near our 32 patient load on Tuesday. Luckily, the freezer is stocked with all sorts of yummy distractions, so yesterday we amused ourselves with "Fudgcicle 3:30" and today we had "Orange Pushup Noon". Hooray!
Yesterday the one big excitement came first thing in the morning, when a kid walked in with bloody mouth and a tooth in his hand. Teeth really are kind of like glaciers, or people - there's much more to be found under the surface if you look - the kid's whole tooth with the root was about an inch long! (If that doesn't seem like a lot to you, look at the first joint of your thumb, and imagine a tooth that big) The poor kid was freaking out, which meant that his mom and dad were freaking out, and although I was really interested to see how we were going to handle the situation, I have to confess that while standing in the room I suddenly felt myself getting lightheaded and nauseous... I almost had a vasovagal (fainted)! It brought back "fond" memories of my first forays into the operating room as a third-year med student, when I had to break scrub to make a quick escape on two occasions so as not to fall or vomit onto the patient. How embarrassing for someone who claims to love blood. Sigh. Luckily, we (and by we, I mean those who were not leaning against the bathroom sink in a cold sweat) were able to put his tooth back into its socket and send the family off for a visit to the dental surgeon (fyi - if a tooth falls out, the best way to save it is to soak it in milk or saliva until it can be reinstalled).
The other unusual case yesterday involved bear spray. As I mentioned previously, this is bear country. Hikers and other outdoor adventurists are therefore advised to carry along bear spray in the unlikely (but not impossible) event of a bear attack. Now, here's the important thing to know: bear spray is NOT like bug spray. To keep away bugs, you apply bug spray to yourself. However, bear spray is just a really really strong version of pepper spray, so you do NOT want to apply this to yourself - you want to apply it to the bear! Apparently, there are periodic cases of people coming into the clinic who did not understand this distinction... d'oh! Likewise, in these parts, bar brawls don't necessarily end in shootouts or stabbings; on Monday night, at a local Big Sky pub, there was one such brawl, and it ended when the inciting bozo sprayed a can of bear spray at his opponent. Ouch! Yesterday we saw the bartender, who had been trying to break up the fight when he walked into a cloud of the offensive stuff. Luckily, he was doing fine, much better than the time a few years ago when he was sleeping and his dog chewed off the top of the bear spray can lying next to him, unloading the whole thing right in his face...
Fortunately, I have yet to see a bear, though I did see a bighorn sheep having dinner by the side of the road on my way home yesterday. (not my picture - I couldn't get to my camera - but I promise this is what it looked like) Dr. Daniels let me borrow his bright orange mountain bike for the time being, so I tried biking the 4 mile uphill stretch to the clinic this morning. Part of the trip included a wooded trail along a creek, and even though it was close to the road, I was still a wee bit concerned that a bear might be lumbering across my path to catch a morning swim...I therefore followed the 'make noise to ward off bears' recommendation...so there I was, biking along a somewhat precarious mountain path about 25 feet from the edge of the road, singing "Louie, Louie" (the first song that came to mind) as loudly as my non-altitude-conditioned lungs would allow.