In the Fellows’ Office

Christine P. Shen, MD

When I'm in the fellows' office,
I'm at work and yet I am home
away from the clamor of the floors, no attending in sight.

I hang my coat on a rack of white, full of hidden pens and calipers,
and a yellow plastic stethoscope on the last peg,
a quick replacement for my misplaced Welch Allyn.

I look up at the monitor to watch my co-fellow getting #radialfirst
and pass by a model heart with its extracted aortic valve
anticipating return to its root.

On my desk lies the latest JACC promising the greatest
diagnostics on acute coronary syndromes,
waiting impatiently for me to decipher after my Epic inbox.

I cover it with my inpatient list
full of hand drawn boxes only a third checked thus far on my shift
and a telemetry strip from rounds – was that VT or SVT,
a teaching moment from a life passed –
next to a stent in a bottle,
a reminder that lives can be saved at last.

Another co-fellow joins me, lamenting on the room temperature
eternally at glacial numbers, especially during night call.

Her pager beeps, interrupting the conversation,
and we all need some propranolol
while listening intently with breaths held.

I show her the EKG,
asking her opinion without knowledge of the ending.

I start to dictate, and Dragon picks up the laughter and music
when I forget to turn it off.

I have to leave soon, the list is growing,
but at least for a little while I'm in safety
when I'm in the fellows' office.



Christine P. Shen, MD

This article was authored by Christine P. Shen, MD, a fellow at Scripps Clinic. Twitter: @iconsideritjoy

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