February 1, 2014 Volume 78, Number 2
A Day of Work in My Department Weilan Wu, M.D.
Yanqing Chen, M.D.

The day has passed so quickly, and I finally ensconced myself in a chair and turned to a new page of my diary. While writing down the date, many thoughts flooded into my mind. January 19, 2013. It is Saturday today. When the alarm clock rang at half past six, I quickly got out of my bed, for fear that a little hesitation would ruin my schedule. An ideal day should begin with a little yawn on my face, a cup of coffee in my hand and no traffic jams. I tucked into my breakfast, then hurried to the bus station.

In the blink of an eye, I arrived at the hospital. “Morning, honey. It is the weekend,” said the woman at the entrance of the operating room as she greeted me. “It makes no difference to me – I am an anesthesiologist,” I said with a smile. And I thought to myself, I don’t want to miss the morning conference. After suiting up, I took a deep breath and whispered, “It’s half past seven, a new day has begun, come on.”

Today I was in charge of O.R. 20. The equipment I needed was gathered in the right place, medicine had been checked, and the machines and monitors were in good condition. These checks had been done in a tense and orderly pace. Still, just when I finished, the clock struck eight. Stepping out of our respective rooms, my colleagues and I greeted each other, then moved toward the conference room.

There was already a crowd in the room when director Li warmed up by discussing the successful rescue of an anaphylactic shock case that had happened yesterday. Vice director Lei suggested that we should bear in mind that emergency airways might occur, especially when we relax our vigilance. “Now that everybody has arrived,” the head of our department, Professor Chen, announced, “Our conference shall begin with the report section.”

One of my colleagues shared the perioperative management of a patient who had received oral anticoagulants and underwent resection of a meningioma. Another of my colleagues talked about how to deal with a laparoscopic gallbladder surgery in a patient with sinus bradycardia. My voice was the next to break the silence – a case of an elderly patient who received lumbar spinal decompression and internal fixation. My presentation highlighted all of the key considerations and critical measures in the anesthesia management. Professor Chen then encouraged all the young staff to take an extensive interest in related topics, and then determined the following Saturday’s learning theme.

As soon as the morning session was over, we were scattered in our respective rooms again, busy with various preparations. All the procedures were going on as smoothly as usual. In O.R. 20, I was keeping an eye on the monitor, occasionally checking the anesthesia circuit and intravenous lines, regulating medications and recording all the vital signs.

The surgery was finished at noon. Afterward, my patient said he could not believe the surgery had been completed, until he noticed the gauze on his back. He thanked me, warmly. For him, the most important process has been completed. But for me, it was still too early to call an end to the day.

When remembering that we were going to have an exam that afternoon, I was reminded of the poetry of Pushkin: “If by life you were deceived … Merry days will come ...” I still believe this.

When all was settled, it was already dark outside. I looked through the window to the quiet street, and to the sky where only the glittering of a couple of stars sang among the clouds.

Then my cellphone rang. The text message read, “Congratulations for your good score on today’s quiz.” With a smile, I wrote down the last few lines in my diary.

Every day is different, for one can learn from different people. On the contrary, every day was the same, for one always had much work to do. Busy and tired, I have no time to bother on the trivial aspects of life. As a student, I am content with a life full of knowledge and challenge. I am grateful for the guidance received from all the members of my department. I am especially grateful for Professor Chen, my mentor. Thank you for pushing me so hard, otherwise I would not be making so much progress. I love my job, and I won’t regret being an anesthesiologist.

Weilan Wu, M.D. is an intern, Department of Anesthesiology, Fujian Provincial Hospital, Clinical Institute of Anesthesiology, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, Fujian, China.

Yanqing Chen, M.D. is a Director and Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Fujian Provincial Hospital, Clinical Institute of Anesthesiology, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, Fujian, China.