Friday, June 22, 2012

Getting All My "Girly-girl" Urges Out Before Surgery

   Just finished my shelf exam for the psych rotation.  The good news: I'm all done (pretty sure I passed).  The bad news: I felt a lot of the questions were way out of left field, so I don't think I have any chance of honoring.  Oh well, at least I got good evaluations!  Psych was fun, and I learned a LOT about people, but I'm excited to have a break from crazy people.  
   Next up for me is surgery, which I'm excited for.  We get a week-long "summer break" before we start, so I am going camping on the beach in Oregon again (look out for a post on that later).  I am really excited because we had such a great time last year, and it will be a really nice mini-vacation.  Then, later next week BF's mom is in town from the East Coast, so I'm excited to meet her!  I wish we got a week off between all the rotations *sigh*.
   Anyway, I am interested to see what surgery is gonna be like.  I really have no idea what to expect, so I'm going in with an open mind.  Since scrubbing in will require short, un-polished nails, I took the psych rotation as my last chance to have girly nails.  And naturally, I had to take pics.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Does Anyone Know A Cat Whisperer? Or Maybe A Cat Exorcist?

   I usually like to minimize my cat-related posts to try and hide the fact that I'm actually a crazy cat lady, but Baby Z is getting out of hand, and I'm comin' to the edge.  I need help! She used to be my family's cat, but I agreed to adopt her when my family got sick of how mean she is and wanted to get rid of her. Anyway, she has been doing this thing for the past couple of years, and my patience is wearing thin. Starting at some ungodly hour in the morning, she loudly meows and cries for hours until I get up. I've tried EVERYTHING I can think of to stop it, and sometimes she'll stop for a day or so, but always goes back to it sooner or later. I've tried feeding her to shut her up, spraying her with water to punish her, petting her/trying to get her to lay with me, ignoring it, etc. None of these things work, and she always just continues to cry until I'm up and about. I thought this issue might stop once I started to wake up earlier for clerkships, but nope! Now she just starts up even earlier! Then, once I'm up and awake, her "work is done" so she takes a nap. It is infuriating.

   Does anyone have any experience with this, and/or any suggestions on what to do? I am this close to making her an "outside cat", but I'm worried about doing that because she's almost 11, obese and probably wouldn't last two days without getting hit by a car. Seriously, it feels like I have a crying baby, and I'm not even a parent yet - it's too early for me to have to deal with this!  I'm desperate - please give me any suggestions you may have!

Life is so tough being a cat
Folded in half, for maximum cat-compactibility

Monday, June 18, 2012

Emo Kitty Gets Blue Highlights

Oh, baby Z.  No wonder you hate me...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oh You Fancy, Huh?

   So far I am loving my new car. My only complaint was that it didn't have cup-holders, but then BF pointed out to me where they were (oops), so now I can't even complain about that! I know most people don't think Volvos are very cool, but I love mine. And I'm not gonna lie, I feel pretty cool driving it haha. I have leather seats and a SUNROOF! Coming from my '96 Chevy Blazer piece-of-poop, I feel like I'm driving PURE LUXURY. Anyway, for some reason my CD player won't play burned CDs (it might be too old), and I love Christina and all, but you can only listen to "Durrty" so many times before you get bored with it.  So I bought this fancy piece of equipment to fulfill my musical needs...

   Also, this is totally unrelated, but I wanted to share this with all my fellow foodies out there:

    Yep, I made it.  And yep, it probably took a few years off my lifespan.  Do I regret it?  Not for one second.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Well, I Guess I Can Only Go Up From Here - Outpatient Psych

   When we started our rotations in the hospital this year, we were all very anxious and scared.  I think one of the things I feared the most was potentially crying in front of my superiors.  I am a very sensitive, emotional person, so sometimes I just can't help the waterworks.  And once you get the tears flowing, they do not stop!  Well, my worst fear already came true, so at least I got that out of the way!

   One of the residents and I were seeing a new patient who had recently been hospitalized for psychotic symptoms.  She immediately "split" my resident and I, deciding she absolutely hated me (for no reason whatsoever), and while she didn't really seem to like my resident either, she at least tolerated the resident.  A lot of times with patients who exhibit personality disorders, the traits are subtle, and it takes a few appointments for the behaviors to come through.  This patient, however, was SCREAMING Cluster B traits.  She was extremely hostile, entitled, and shamelessly condescended me for the 15 minutes I attempted to interview her.  I hung in there for a while, holding my ground and remaining calm, but she absolutely refused to talk to me because I was "too young, so don't know anything about life, and don't have the qualifications to help her."  My resident realized that my attempts weren't going anywhere, so she jumped in and took over.  Even after that, throughout the appointment the patient continued to be blatantly rude: smacking on and spilling her sandwich everywhere, taking out her makeup and staring at herself in her little mirror mid-sentence, and answering her phone three times during the appointment to have full-on conversations.  She had absolutely no disregard for my resident or I as human beings, and even while watching the rest of the interview, I was extremely uncomfortable as she repeatedly shot dirty looks in my direction.  The entire time, I just kept thinking to myself, "Is this really happening?!"

   In psych, there is something we call "countertransference,"  which is basically the emotions that we feel as physicians towards our patients.  Well, my countertransference with this patient was anger and inferiority.  After the patient left, I took a deep breath, and I said, "Wow. That was extremely hard for me."  My resident asked, "What part was the hardest?"  And then I just burst into tears.  I cried, "She was just so mean to me!  She made me feel like nobody!"  At that point, I feel like I became "patient" and my resident became "shrink" for a quick second.  She said some things to make me feel better, reassuring me that I had done a really good job with such a difficult patient.  It made me feel a little better when she told me I would do well in psychiatry because I really "feel" for my patients and am super perceptive of things most people don't pick up on.  And when we returned to discussing the patient, she reminded me that if this patient's interactions were that bad in an hour-long interview, how bad must they be in the rest of her life?  How unstable and turmoiled must her relationships be if this is the way she treats people?  So at that point, my anger with the patient turned into sympathy.  Her personality disorder(s) is the cause of all of her stressors, but she doesn't even realize it!  But hopefully with therapy, she can gain insight and make changes for the better.

   I've had some highs and lows on outpatient psych.  Obviously, bursting into tears in front of the senior resident was a low, but I learned a lot from that patient encounter.  Also, this might be counterintuitive, but I actually feel more confident after that disaster-of-an-interview, because most patient encounters from here on out will not be anything near as bad as that one.  If I could handle that uncomfortableness and remain calm, I think I can do it in any other situation too.  Another low point was getting goosebumps as a patient described to me how he thought about peeling people's skin off, or how he would like to rip his ex-girlfriend's body in half.  There have been some high points too, though.  It only takes one patient to tell me, "You're gonna be a great doctor someday!" to get me back out of a funk.  When I told this sweet old lady that she would be seeing someone else at her next appointment, she told me, "You're so sweet.  I'm gonna miss you and I don't even know you!"  These moments make it all worthwhile.

   In some ways, outpatient psych is actually harder than inpatient.  Longer hours, more patients.  Patients are more "normal", so it's easier to relate/connect with them, which starts to take an emotional toll on you.  On inpatient psych, it's easy to feel disconnected from the patients, to watch them from a distance, so I often found myself curious, amused, and at times simply entertained.  On outpatient psych, I find myself feeling much less entertained - now the patient's stories are just plain sad.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blog Star: Hi I'm MS3

   Hi I'm MS3.  Welcome to my blog!  I am a third year medical student at a California school, and am currently on my psychiatry outpatient clerkship.  I grew up in Sacramento, went to UCLA for undergraduate, and I started blogging in December 2009 when I was accepted into medical school as a way to keep track of my journey in the field of medicine.  I'm interested in pursuing OB/Gyn (or possibly Anesthesia), but I'm definitely keeping an open mind.  If you are interested in knowing what life is like balancing medical school and sanity, then you'll like my blog.  Some of my favorite things to talk about are:


   A little bit about me: I am a cat-lover/feminist/macaroni and cheese connoisseur.  I love cooking, dancing, singing, and blogging! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Going Out With A Bang, Literally - The Life Of Yolanda

   Recently, Yolanda came down with a terminal illness. In case you don't know who Yolanda is, she is my car - a '96 maroon Chevy blazer which I've had since high school. My car has always had issues in hot weather. The engine just can't seem to handle the heat, and if you turn on the AC, forget about it! Anyway, all of a sudden I started having more trouble than usual accelerating. I would press on the gas and the RPMs would go up, but I wouldn't go any faster. Let me tell you THAT was fun getting on the freeway. Anyway, I drove around like that all week, knowing it wasn't gonna be much longer before the end. It turns out I blew my transmission, which is an extremely expensive fix. Considering I spent over $1000 on routine maintenance, new brakes and new tires in the last year, I had an important choice to make. Do I keep sinking money into a dying cause, or do I pay a little more and start fresh?

   Ultimately, I decided to start fresh. Especially after I broke down halfway to my sister's high school graduation...  I feel like this is pretty common knowledge, but just in case you don't know, shopping for used cars is NOT FUN. Apparently because the economy is so bad, people are turning to buying used cars more often, so the demand is higher. Because of that, there was not a lot of selection and the prices were high! Especially for the most reliable, like Honda and Toyota. I eventually decided to take my changes on buying from a private seller to get more for my money.
Yolanda flatlining on me

   Meet Hans, my 2002 C70 Volvo. I know I know, Hans is a German name and Volvo is a Swedish car. I don't care! It just fits! Anyway, I'm super happy with it and definitely feel like I got a good deal for what I paid.  There's just something I really like about Volvos and everyone always laughs at me when I tell them it's my dream car.  I love my "new" car, but I can't wait to eventually get a NEW car.  *sigh* someday.....

   So now I have a car again, but I still need to figure out what to do with Yolanda.  I hope I can get at least some money for that car even though it needs a transmission.  Maybe I'll sell it on Craigslist?  

 Also, I bought my car from a young 20-something, skinny Turkish dude.  He was a pretty "typical" guy, you know, masculine and stuff.  Anyway, he left one of his CDs in the CD player (which to me means it's a free CD) and I can't stop laughing about which one it is.  It's Christina Aguilara - Stripped.  You know the one with "Durrty" on it?! HAHAHA awesome.  Guess you never know what people are into.  

Kids Are Like Little Crazy People

   It's been a while since I blogged, but it's actually because I've had so much going on that I just haven't had time.  I've had a lot going on though, so look out for a bunch of posts coming up!  Anyway, I had a realization today, so thought I'd blog about it since everything else I want to blog about is going to take too long.  I was talking with one of the residents on outpatient psych today who has a new baby and toddler.  We were talking about kids, and about how there really is no "right" time to have them as a physician-in-training, and how it's do-able in med school/residency - people just make it work.

   In case you don't know me very well, having kids someday is something I was completely opposed to until the last couple of years.  In the last couple of years I have been considering it, finally starting to see the appeal.  Anyway, she was telling me some super cute stories about her kids, and it dawned on me: kids are like mini-crazy people! The things they say and do, and the crazy imaginations they have, they are like innocent, tiny, psychotic people!  And I learned REAL quick on inpatient psych how much I love crazy people.  So maybe I really will enjoy having children of my own someday!  :)  I just thought it was a funny way of looking at kids, and it pushes me more in the direction of wanting to have some of my own someday (in the far future... lol).

  On another note, BF has been working nights for OB/Gyn and I've had some long days on outpatient psych, so I haven't seen him since Wed, and I won't get to see him until Saturday afternoon.  And then I only get to see him for like an hour between sleeping and his next shift.  It might not seem like a big deal, but when you see each other at least every single night, it's different.  I miss him :/ ... Luckily it's not permanent.  But how do people do it?  How the heck do people manage to keep relationships and marriages going during residency?  I guess it's just something that you get used to and adjust accordingly?  I guess if you have a relationship that can make it through residency, you can probably make it through just about anything!

    I'm excited because BF is coming to my family's house for Thanksgiving, and I am going to his family's house in Connecticut for Christmas.  It's kind of a big deal for me because I have never spent Christmas away from my parents/sister!  I think it will be fun though! Apparently, they have lobster... so I like them already.