Updated: Nov 25, 2020
For the second half of the rotation I was in Pineville, Lousiana which is about a 4 hour drive north of New Orleans. Pineville is a town of about 45,000, the Huey P. Long hospital is a fully functional small country hospital that I would say holds maybe 50-60 beds. There is an ER, three operating rooms, MRI, CT, a psych ward that is on full lock down, and of course a labor and delivery. The hospital itself is a sight to be seen, the design is something out of some classic American novel about the birth of medicine. At the front of the building there is about a 100ft concave surface with strange carvings of olive branches and other bizarre things. But the best part is the front door, two heavy solid brass swinging doors. Every time I walked through theses doors I was reminded of this old FM radio I used to have that had big heavy dials, and even though I knew it was old when I turned those dials I was given the feeling that there was no way it was going to break, and it was made with the utmost durability. So it was nice to walk through these doors and have the feeling that at least when it was built, quality meant something.
The hospital was full of little quirks that were pretty hilarious. For example, The OB clinic where we saw patients was nothing more then a tucked away hallway with four tiny exam rooms that used sliding shutters for doors. In these rooms the call system, I kid you not, was a cow bell tied to the wall with a big read sign that read “ring for help”. The nurse claims that no one has ever rang them. There was also a trailer out back that we had lectures and conferences in. But the thing I found most strange about the trailer was that when you walked in the wood moldings gave the impression that you were entering some kind of weird medical hunting lodge, and it had this old smell like it was straight out of grandpa’s basement. What disturbed me was when I put together that these things meant that this trailer had probably been here for quite a long time. I typically associate trailers with a temporary solution to something, but this was clearly a permanent attachment to this hospital.
I went up to Pineville with three other girls. Don’t ask how I keep getting stuck with girls in every imaginable living situation possible, but I do. We all stayed in this dorm/storage/computer help desk/old motel like building that was about 50 feet from the hospital on the same grounds. We each got our own room which was a very nice size, but the quality of a very cheap motel room. My shower for example, after disinfecting it because of the random pubic hairs and other colorful substances in it had a very steady drip for the entire duration of my stay. The room was also freezing at night as there was no heat in this building and it got pretty chilly. So the combination of a leaky shower created this wet cold cave like environment in my room that was far from pleasant. This prompted me to go home the first weekend just for the sake of getting extra blankets, what they supplied us with was nothing more than a thick sheet.
Most of our day were spent in various clinics. We had GYN clinic twice a week that was all day, and I must have done 100 pelvic exams. A lot of our clientele came from the local women’s prison. We had OB clinic twice a week as well that was less busy. The other days we did various GYN surgeries like endometrial ablations, and hysterectomies, etc. But we didn’t do too many surgeries. What turned out to be really cool about it is that all of the other departments, surgery, radiology, whatever were very willing to teach med students and let them tag along and do stuff. They are not used to taking on med students as people really only come up there for OB/GYN, so it’s a great opportunity to do things. For example, one of the girls I was with that is interested in surgery got to do an entire non-OB/GYN surgery herself just because she asked, and the surgeon stood over her shoulder giving commands. I walked in half way through and I scrubbed in and helped cut sutures and simple mindless med student related surgical tasks like that. The best part was at the end when the surgeon says “ok, you got it” as she’s closing up and walks out. Once the head nurse realized this she had a little hissy fit and said that there needed to be a doctor scrubbed in, and the med students can not be the only ones operating. It was pretty funny looking back at it.
There wasn’t much to do for fun up there. There was a TCBY that we became obsessed with, most of the days were spent studying. There was a wal-mart about 15 min away that was the big local hit, and I heard this rumor that on Friday nights at midnight it was “date night”. Upon further inquiry, it turns out that “date night” at wal-mart was when people go grocery shopping with little ribbons affixed to their grocery cart to signify that they are single.
My most memorable experience at Pineville was when I got to delivery my first and probably only baby. I was the only one that month that got to deliver a baby, so my classmates were kind of jealous. It couldn’t have been a more simple case. This lady had 4 previous vaginal deliveries so the path was fairly well traveled. The resident went over all the hand motions with me to guide the baby through the vaginal canal. I was terrified I would do something wrong or twist the baby the wrong way. Of course when it came time the baby came out so fast that I'm not actually sure I did anything at all. My biggest concern was of course that I was going to drop it. This concern was not alleviated when I caught it. It was slimy and wiggling so I quickly held it with both arms like a football, as soon as the cord was cut I passed it off to the nurse as quick as I could. I asked my resident later what would have happened if I dropped it and he said very seriously “well there is a cord, it would catch it”. I still don't know if he was joking.
One day I was studying at this local bookstore. In the “fiction and literature” section there was a wide variety of urban African American erotica, which I guess was very popular material out there. I later found out that our attending was a published author in the genre. I was in there studying at this little table one day when a nice old lady sat across from me, she looked like a sweet little grandma that could have started doing needle point right there, but instead she started reading from a very thick book entitled “Handbook of Military Firearms”, which just kind of summed up the whole area.