Monday, September 27, 2010

Bunco Night

A year ago we moved into our new house. Same city, just managed to take advantage of the great real estate prices to make a nice upgrade. In our previous neighborhood, the neighbors were polite, but we had never really connected with anyone, and I was certainly never felt welcomed into the social circles of the SAHMs on the block. The new neighborhood has been completely different. Neighbors are friendly and there are several kids my son’s age. After, reading Anesthesioboist’s post on friendship, I have really tried to go out of way to make time to nurture these new friendships. So explains my joining of the monthly ladies Bunco club. Bunco is a fun but mindless game that makes an excellent excuse for gossiping socializing and alcohol refreshments. Hey what’s not to like about that?

I try my best to make it to Bunco, but often have to miss due to call or childcare obligations. Last month however I was all set to go. I was not on call and even made it home from work on time. I literally had my hand on the door knob to walk out when my pager went off. The number was labor and delivery, followed by those dreaded numbers…. 911. My stomach dropped, you know that feeling when rollercoaster hits the crest of its hill, multiply that times ten. I immediately got in my car, and called back on my way .

“What’s going on?” I asked the secretary who answers. Your partner’s in the OR doing a c-section, she said she needs you right away. Not good. My partner is extremely capable; if she’s calling in emergency help then things have taken a turn for the worse. I arrive in the OR in exactly 7 minutes. There is blood everywhere. It’s not clotting either. Definitely, a bad sign.

“What’s the story?”, I ask, as I enter the surgical field.

“Ruptured uterus from a VBAC” she says.

We work for an hour attempting to salvage her uterus, we fail, but we do save her life. Finally with patient stable, I leave and let my partner close. I change back into my skinny jeans and return to my car. I notice my hand shaking slightly as I start to turn the key, so I stop and take a few deep breaths.

As I pull into the neighborhood I notice there are still lots of cars at the Bunco party. So I go on in. Everyone is mingling and making small talk as they finish up. “Where were you?” they ask.

I open my mouth to answer, but in that moment a hundred different images flash through my mind. Finally I just smile and say, “It was a long day at the office.”


  1. holy crap. i know just what you mean. I'm an OB-GYN resident and sometimes there is just no way to communicate the sheer craziness of what we do and see. I think the lay person believes OB-GYN docs have the happiest job in the world - they deliver babies, right? One quickly figures out in residency that babies deliver themselves and that doctors are needed when moms or babies are very very sick.

  2. This is fantastic.

    I just signed out a placenta that was manually removed with more accompanying clot than I have ever seen. Glad I wasn't in that room.

    No wonder so many OB's retire to gyn early.

    Kudos to you, Rh+!

    Be careful of bunko. My group (this was years ago pre-kids) exploded over personality conflicts - I watched on the sidelines. It was absolutely insane. But fun while it lasted.

  3. Wow, what a good example of what *to* say in that sort of situation. I'll have to take that one with me as I start surgery residency next year.

  4. Yeah. Work as a topic at bunco rarely goes beyond "I been really busy." No one wants to hear about the 24 yo you lost to refractory cancer. Or the mom who never complains about side effects because she has a 10 by 12 pic of her 3 yo on her wall. It just doesn't mix well. That said, sometimes Bunco is just the thing to help compartmentalize. I tend to make my work my identity. Bunco reminds I am so much more.

  5. Hi Rh+

    Am curious as a future VBAC patient that will this prelude your group from doing VBACs in future?

    How many ruptures have you seen in your medical career?. What was the circumstances etc time from c section

  6. My goal for VBACs is to do everything I can to prevent the primary c-section in the first place so the patient and myself are not placed in the VBAC dilemma.

    I also try not to make emotional decisions, but instead focus on the evidence; so yes, we continue to do VBACs. For each individual patient I discuss with them their particular risks and benefits, and let them make an educated decision.

  7. So true. It's usually best to keep the hospital stories away from the non-med crowd -- lesson learned EARLY ON in med school. Usually a) non-med people don't see the humor in the same things drs do, b) things we think are "cool" sound horrifying to non-drs, and c) situations like you described would freak most non-mds out.


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