I had the impression that anesthesiologists were different from other specialists in veterinary medicine because of the nature of their work. They are high strung when working because they need to closely monitor patients under anesthesia and promptly respond to any changes. However, during my anesthesia rotation, I discovered that even with their rigorous working attitude, sometimes they do have a fairly good sense of humor. The anesthesiologists that we work with tend to use lots of analogies when explaining things to students, which is really helpful and has allowed many of us to overcome our fear of anesthesia.
When we were doing morning rounds on modern gas inhalants, the anesthesiologist described solubility of the inhalant as the sociability of a person. Because we have professors on the anesthesia service that come from different countries, the Brazilian professor is like isoflurane, who always loves to spend time greeting everyone and is the social queen, hence the highest solubility and slowest inhalant to reach the brain. The German professor is less talkative and would choose the straight route to reach the goal right away, just like desflurane, which has the shortest induction and recovery time. The American professor is in between, just like sevoflurane.
I could not count the number of cartoons I’ve drawn during rounds in this rotation; they are so helpful for me to grasp many concepts. When we talked about hypoxia, which occurs at the tissue level, we used the idea of oxygen-vehicle-road-hand to illustrate the pathophysiology. Whenever there is not enough oxygen, problems with hemoglobin (e.g., methemoglobinemia), abnormalities of the blood (e.g., anemia) or an issue with the cell itself (e.g., cyanide toxicity), hypoxia occurs. With this analogy, we can easily remember causes of hypoxia and then treat it specifically.
Anesthesiologists are great specialists to work with and learn from!