I bought a stethoscope today.
I had lost my last one a few weeks ago and have been borrowing one in the hopes that old stethoscope would magically reappear. Magic rarely happens in the hospital in the dead of winter.
Stethoscopes come in very few colors. Black, navy, and maroon are the only colors I see around the hospital and the maroon is a rarity in the sea of black and navy. In medical school, I almost bought a black one but thought it too conservative. So in my wild and crazy ways, I bought a navy blue one; the maroon was just too reckless. For I was going to be a female doctor and I felt a need to fit in with the throngs of black and navy as well as I could.
When I started medical school, I didn’t want to be known as a girl. I’d rather be a solid medical student and in my mind, solid medical students weren’t girly. During medical school, I dated and married quietly. Skirts made an occasional rare appearance in my wardrobe but besides the numerous scrub sets I mostly wore pants with a conservative button up shirt. I didn't gigle, I most certainly didn't lean over in short little tops, and I couldn't be bothered with make up. My little navy stethoscope blended in well with the other serious students.
Then a few things started to change. I got pregnant my third year of medical school. I threw up a few times on rounds, didn’t fit my scrubs very well anymore, and had to change my rotations so as to be within ten minutes of the hospital at all times (placenta previa). After the baby, I’d disappear from the wards now and again to breast pump…something black and navy stethoscope don’t usually do.
This year, my intern year, I thought I could work at becoming a better navy stethoscope. However, the color and I are just not working out. Beautiful Baby Girl gets sick now and then and Hubby and I split the days we take off with her and I’ve missed four days already. The only other intern with a child, a black stethoscope with a stay at home wife, has never stayed home with his sick baby. Skirts and dresses are actually faster to put on in the morning when you only have ten minutes to get out the door because you played with Beautiful Baby Girl for too long. My inpatient exam scores were better than 93% of all residents, not just interns, all residents, but yet I occasionally come to work with a little handprint of oatmeal on my pants. And now I’ll have a new stethoscope, not black, not navy, and not even maroon.
I’m sure I’ll be called ‘nurse’ more often now. I’m sure I’ll get a few funny looks but somehow it felt right.
I bought a stethoscope today. A pink stethoscope.