Friday, August 10, 2007

Journal Club and More Time in the OR

Both of the journal club articles we discussed today were about genetics. When I first saw that last night, I did not feel terribly gung-ho about reading them, especially since one of them was about 17 pages long! But they both turned out to be pretty interesting after all. One article looked at several dozen genes that had been published in the literature as risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These authors did a much larger study on those genes, and they were not able to find that ANY of the genes increased people's risk of getting cardiovascular disease. The really long article considered genetic risk factors for several different diseases using a technique where they could look at the entire genome and not just certain genes. Interestingly, they found that certain loci on the genome were present more often in people with certain diseases, and that these loci don't necessarily correspond to genes! One of the things you learn pretty early on in a molecular bio class is how most of the human genome is "junk" DNA that doesn't code for anything. But obviously we ought to be more careful about writing it off as being useless. Just because we don't understand what it does doesn't mean that it must not do anything.

The resident I'm working with this summer paged me in the morning and told me to contact him if I wanted to come work in the OR with him after class. Luckily I had a pair of scrubs with me, so I went to the OR after lunch. It was kind of a comedy of errors. First I went to the cardiac ORs, because that's where we usually meet. But he was over in the general ORs, which are in a different building. So I went over there to the floor he told me, and he wasn't there. I ran into two other members of our research team and started working with them instead. In the meantime, the resident and I were sending one another a flurry of pages.

Him: Where are you? Come to the second floor OR.

Me: I'm already here on the second floor! I'm helping Allen and Seth (two other team members) collect data.

Him: I don't see you here anywhere.

Me: I'm with Allen's post-op patient in Bay 7.

Him: I can't find you. I'm starting to get worried.

Me: Allen and I walked around all of the bays and we didn't see you. I'm confused.

Finally, the resident showed up to where I was, and it turned out that he had told me the wrong OR. Evidently, there are two second floor ORs in this building. On the bright side, I am now very proficient with using the CCF intranet paging system. It's pretty cool. You can page people by phone from anywhere, but if you're on campus, you can also page them by intranet. I like that better, because then you can type an actual message to them like the resident and I were doing, and they'll get the message on their pager instead of just your phone number. I also have finally memorized both of my pager numbers. (Yes, I have not one, but TWO pagers, because I got a second one just for this summer.) Every time you send a page, you are supposed to put your name and beeper number at the end to make it easier for the recipient to get back to you. So now I have typed my own pager number enough times that I remember it without having to look it up.

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