My Life as a Locum Tenens: Huntsville, TX

City Home Page:
Population: 41,592 (Wikipedia 2019)
Locum Assignment: Newborn Hospitalist (July 2020 – June 2021)
Food Recommendation: Top 10 Must Eat in Huntsville, Texas 
Local Attractions/Things To Do: Huntsville State Park, Sam Houston National Forest, Sam Houston Statue, Texas Prison Museum, Sam Houston Memorial Museum, H.E.A.R.T.S Veterans Museum of Texas, Antique Stores, Oakwood Cemetery, The Blue Lagoon

150 nights at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Huntsville, TexaS
over the last 12 months

In July of 2020, I was offered ONE 24-hour shift in Huntsville, Texas – it’s June and I’ve now been here a whole year! During that time, I have truly taken advantage of as much free time as I have, which has fortunately/unfortunately been a lot, and have sunken my teeth into anything and everything I could.

From the Huntsville State Park / Sam Houston National Forest, to the Oakwood Cemetery home to the grave of Sam Houston, to the scenic relaxing Elkins Lake, to the Farmers’ Markets (one at the West Hill Mall and one in the Downtown Square), to the Second Saturday Sip and Shop events, to the monthly concerts during the school year at Sipsy’s Coffee Shop, to Restaurant Week, to the Zonkeys at West Sandy Creek Winery… I’ve gotten to know the town. Despite COVID, there was still enough to do to stay busy.

From the waiter at my favorite El Salvadoran restaurant (Carbonero Rotisserie) knowing my order and asking how many yellow or green sauces I want this time, to the owner of a small new coffee shop (Sipsy’s) that gets my cold brew ready as he sees me parking, to Tara at her cajun food truck promising to save me some crawfish if i give her the heads up i’m stuck at the hospital, to John at Half Avenue Coffee who saw me on an event at the square excitedly and told his girlfriend and father who looks like Uncle Sy about how I used to be a ‘super regular’… I’ve gotten to know the people. I’ve walked into EVERY single antique shop and restaurant and spoken to the locals to understand where I am, what they do and grab a hold of the soul of this College Town. I’ve also become such a regular at the Hampton Inn that I swear I worked there for a little bit – helping the new trainees, doing some maintenance around the hospital and guiding customers one way or another!

I’ve learned a lot as a new attending. I will never forget the first c-section I was called to in the OR – the first time seeing an ‘oxygen box’ (some sort of awkward gigantic compressor). The first time seeing a scrub tech lay down a sterile towel. The first time setting up the warmer WITHOUT the assistance of all of the respiratory therapists and neonatal nurses I had become accustomed to as a resident. The first time I ran a mild resuscitation with one level 1 well-baby nurse that was not comfortable with sick babies, the moments contemplating if this was going to be an intubation or if I should hold off to keep mom and baby from being separated. I will never forget my two twin deliveries in a week, and trying to stand back and coordinate and lead two warmers mentally preparing for where I’d run if there was an issue and one was misbehaving. The half a dozen times I’d called the amazing life flight team in for back-up. Learning how to do a “California cut” – the eponym for circumcisions that’s characteristic and coined by another Californian, my OB-Wan. Racing up Sam Houston Ave. to a surprise delivery and prepping a new orientee with the potential for a train wreck at her very first neonatal resuscitation.

I am forever grateful that these crazy people put up with me for so long! I’m going to miss them so much!

***Huntsville Pictures in another post to follow***

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