"Hours of boredom, moments of terror" What a load of bullshit. Anesthesia only seems boring to people who believe that if you are not constantly fiddling with instruments, you can't be doing anything meaningful. (do we know anybody like that?) Moments of terror? I guess that refers to the feeling of loss of control you might have when you realize that the problem at hand (i.e. airway) is something that you don't know a thing about, and so you have to rely on (and trust) the skill and competence of your colleague while you stand by and watch.
You know you are just "passing gas" when:
-you don't know the difference between an ACE inhibitor and an ARB.
-when somebody calls the ether screen the "blood brain barrier," you don't get it.
-you can't list the drugs that predispose to torsades in a patient with a long QTC (or you don't know your current patient's QTC!)
-you're not as comfortable with a flexible fiberscope as a direct laryngoscope.
-you don't know what "open lung concept" ventilation is.
-you don't look at the heart while coming off bypass.
-you cancel patients for "cardiac clearance" (Egads!)
-you didn't auscultate for undiagnosed aortic stenosis before you induced.
You're just "passing gas:"
-if you didn't set your alarms.
-if you don't know which nerve roots form the phrenic nerves.
-if you can't conduct a resuscitation "by the book" and you don't know when it's appropriate to "throw the book out"
-If you don't know that the most important member of the surgical team is... everybody, because if the $12/hour person in sterile processing doesn't get it right, the whole thing is a disaster...
-if you can't clearly articulate what differentiates you from a CRNA, and why it matters.
I could go on forever...feel free to chime in; I'll compile them all and re-post the complete list sometime...