Sid Meier's Hospital

So I'm on Plastic Surgery this month. Excuse me, Plastic & RECONSTRUCTIVE Surgery. Though I think it's fair to say the department here earns that title as they do a fair bit of reconstruction amongst the stripperplasties and wrinkles-be-gonesies. It's strange being back on an academic surgical service after a break of over 3 months, but refreshing at the same time as the duties of the medical student on said services of academia (list updating, prerounding, hastily presenting, obscure pimping) are warm and familiar to me. Like a well worn sweatshirt or something. But the hours still suck.

We had a really interesting person on the census the past while - the whole package, interesting medical case and interesting personality. The guy was tackled by a buddy of his and broke a rib. Being the regular dust-on-the-boots American that he is, he didn't come to the ED but rather was just going to deal with the pain. Problem was, he was a nice guy, and since bad things only happen to nice guys, the rib pierced his pleura and soon enough he was in the hospital whether he liked it or not with a rip roaring empyema. One lobectomy, a lat flap, and a couple chest tubes later, he found himself parked on the floor slowly biding his time until he was given the blessings of the great doctors to go home. The healing was slow and he was nearing 2 months on service when I rotated on.

Of course he felt well enough, and rather than bore himself with watching his chest tube output, every day when we rolled through the room in the clusterfuck that is surgery rounds, he would be clicking away on his laptop, engrossed in a computer game. Now despite my rugged and masculine exterior, I am quite the computer nerd. Growing up in the glory days of DOS, I spent many an hour of my youth tinkering away at the computer keyboard with classics such as X-Wing, Doom, and Mechwarrior. Like like many things of youth, these hobbies have slowly been eroded away by the responsibilities of growing up. So on rounds we were much more focused on said chest tubes than what was on the computer screen.

Finally, after a few days on service, the chief resident glances up from the patient's incision and asks "Are you playing Civilization???"

The junior looks up from the chart to add "Hey, I love Civilization."

Intern: "What version? I haven't played 5 yet."

From my n=1 experience, I can now say that all medical students and residents have played Civilization. I'm not sure what that says about our demographic, but the computer nerd in me grinned internally.

Sure enough, this past weekend we were rounding with the attending on call, and our fearless world leader slash conquerer was getting ready to be discharged home. We roll into the room and there he is, clicking away at his laptop like always. He's excited to go home. We make small talk. Finally, the attending was bent over glancing at the site of the last chest tube, when she comments "Is that Civilization? I love that game!"

Somewhere, Sid Meier is smiling.