Not actually like Grey’s Anatomy

It occurs to me now that I never wrote about my obstetrics/gynecology (ob/gyn) rotation that happened in November and December of 2008, in a different borough of the Big City. The ob/gyn rotation is a 6-week rotation about… babies and vaginas. Um, basically. I did my rotation at a school-affiliated community hospital that is in a borough of the Big City, but feels like a world away.

Because it’s pretty far from home and the hours are long (6 AM to 6 PM, plus 6 24-hour calls), the department of ob/gyn rents out a nice apartment for the students. The apartment is about 6 blocks from the hospital, and it’s free housing for the rotation. The apartment is a 3 bedroom (well, 2 bedroom converted into a 3 bedroom), 1 bathroom place on the second floor of a house that was converted into apartments. During my rotation, there were 4 of us: 2 boys and 2 girls. I took pictures of the place to show my parents, who turned out to not even be interested. But here are pictures, anyway!

Our apartment is the one occupying the upper right 1/4 of the house.

This is the living room, which the front door opened into. Notice the tv hooked up to random illegal cable tv… courtesy of whichever medical students had been in the house prior to our arrival. On the wall, the white plastic thing with the blue border is a guide for cervical dilation. Someone had decided that that was what the house needed as its wall decorations, apparently.

Here’s the nearly-fully stocked kitchen. Med students from before our time have probably stocked it with random kitchen essentials like pots and pans and silverware (actually, I think the dinnerware and silverware were supplied by the ob/gyn director, from her own pocket). Interestingly, there was no cutting board and no soup ladles. But there were fondue forks. I mean, I guess that shows you other people’s priorities?

Here’s the bedroom that I had to share with A, who I was actually living with at the time, in our own apartment back in the Big City. We tossed a coin, and the winners got to have their own bedrooms. The boys were relieved because they didn’t really know each other that well, plus A and I have been roommates since first year. At least, this is what they tried to say to explain why it was a better idea that we share the room instead of them — I say that it sucks to share a room with anybody, no matter how long you’ve known them. We’re in our mid- to late-twenties, for crying out loud. The curtains on the left are my addition to the house. I think you can also guess which side of the room is mine.

Anyway, it was like living in The Real World house (but less fashionable and more utilitarian), or living in the Grey’s Anatomy house (but without the random hookups). Since one of us was usually on call, it meant that mornings consisted of 3 of the 4 of us rushing around trying to get ready. I won’t lie to you — neither A nor I are morning people, so we both would lie around waiting until the last possible moment to start getting ready for the day. (I mean, when your day starts at 5 AM, you want to delay it as much as possible.) Since A and I shared a room, the boys never knew if we had gotten up or if we had slept through our alarms. But, our room was in the hallway between the bathroom and the kitchen, so eventually the noise would wake me up and convince me that I did need to get up.

I found out a few weeks into the rotation just how much I’d been depending on the random morning noises from the boys as a barometer for when to get up. That morning, both boys were out of the house — J1 was still on call and J2 was driving in from Manhattan that morning. I nearly overslept (and A would have, too, because she was using me as a barometer of when she should get up) and had to run around more than usual just to get to work slightly late. When I told J1 that I hadn’t realized that I needed them banging pots and microwaving stuff and generally being loud in the kitchen to wake me up, he confessed that some mornings when he was getting concerned about the lateness of the hour, he would stomp a little louder in the hallways and even wiggle the doorknob of our room, to make extra noise. How cute is that? Too cute.

Living in a house with my classmates during the same rotation also led to some pretty fun movie/tv-like moments. We would cook dinner and talk about our day, while standing in the kitchen and wearing green scrubs. We would talk about how much we hated our lives and how cold we were while walking to work at 5:45 AM. There were some very minor living arrangement squabbles, but not that many, and not any that any of us cared about, since we were all just sleep-deprived and only bunking together for 6 weeks, anyway (and 1 of those weeks was Thanksgiving, which doesn’t count as a real work week). Watching Grey’s Anatomy in the house was hilarious, as well, because of how unrealistic it was. During one episode, Cristina and Derek sit in the kitchen on a weekday morning and have a conversation. They sit in the kitchen while the beautiful morning sun streams in through the kitchen window. Some other episode had Meredith’s alarm clock going off at 6 AM (I think it was supposed to mean it was very early to be awake). You guys. The life of a surgeon, especially one in late fall, does not involve sunshine. It does not involve leisurely breakfasts and conversations in the post-sunrise morning. It’s one of running around in the dark, eating on the run, and morning conversations consisting mostly of grunts and clipped sentences. Of all the things I’ve seen on Grey’s Anatomy (uh, treating Clostridium difficile with fecal transfer? Didelphic uterus?), this was the most inaccurate representation of surgery and surgeons, like, ever. I was offended.

All in all, I really liked my ob/gyn rotation. About two weeks into the rotation, I concluded that I totally had some sort of natural Baby Repellent, and babies simply didn’t like to be born while I was on call. I also despaired of ever getting to catch or deliver a baby. Fortunately, though, the Baby Repellent must have worn off, because I did end up catching a baby and delivering two. It was awesome. It was even awesomer when the mom of one of the babies thanked me for not dropping her baby. You’re welcome, lady. You’re welcome.