Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

   I can't believe I got my very first blog award!  And the One Lovely Blog Award is from one of my favorite bloggers, C, from Med School And The Rest Of It, whose blog I've been reading since I started med school.  Thanks, C! I love your blog!

   There are a ton of wonderful blogs out there, many of which have already gotten this award, so I'd like to pass along the award to:

  • Amanda @ Charming Wholesomeness: A brilliant, hilarious grad student in genetics who writes about feminism, good books, and cracks me up all the time.  
  • Laura @ Stethoscopes And Stories: A very insightful new third year med student who is going through all the same struggles as me.
  • Tanya @ Hemobloggin: A spunky fourth year med student who is going through the journey of applying for residency and giving me a glimpse of what lies ahead.

   Be sure to check out these other great blogs!  And thanks again, C!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Home Is Where The Heart Is

   It's official! I'm all moved in with BF.  The move wasn't too painful - I brought over a box here and there for the weeks leading up, so we didn't have too much to take care of on moving day.  Unfortunately, I still have lots of unpacking and organizing to do on top of studying for surgery, but we'll get there.  BF and I are still really excited about the whole thing, and I love living together so far!  Well, it's not much different than what we've been doing for the past months...

    Anyway, the kitties are getting along fabulously.  Baby Z has calmed down, and her "I'll-hiss-at-you-if-you-come-any-closer-radius" gets smaller and smaller every day.  In the end, I think they'll both grow to enjoy eachother's company, especially when BF and I are gone for long hours in the hospital.  

They like to sit in the doorways to block eachother's paths, just to mess with eachother

Hey look - everybody's happy!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

So This Is What People Meant When They Said Third Year Was Rough

   Let me start out by saying I am fully aware that many of my posts lately have been negative.  I hate to be so negative, so I'm going to end this post with positive thoughts, because really, you can always find something positive in everything - even though finding that positive thing doesn't necessarily improve one's piss-poor mood.
   Anyway, I mentioned in my last post that I was hating my surgery rotation so far.  I had previously said that I didn't want to post about it until after I recieved my grade, in case anyone happened to read it and it somehow affect my grade for the clerkship.  I've decided that I'll just talk about it now, but maybe in a more vague manner.  And like I said, I don't mean to be whiney or complainey, but I'm doing this more as a way of having something to look back to later on.  I want something I can refer to, when I forget the particulars of why I was so unhappy on this rotation, so that I know what things to watch out for when I'm deciding what specialty to go into or what sites to apply for residency. 

   First off, and this is not unique to surgery by any means, who you have to work with is SO crucial to everything.  Your co-worker's attitudes and styles set the tone for everything, so when you work with people who are passive aggressive, hate patients, don't want to be bothered by anyone, and are in a bad mood (because they are tired and overworked), it rubs off on the entire team.
   One thing that especially bothers me is some of the unprofessionalism I've witnessed from the more senior residents, who should be acting as role models for the interns and med students.  The way one of the senior residents talks about the patients behind their backs is appalling.  He casts judgement on all of them, doesn't care about their well-being whatsoever, and has even gone as far as calling them profanities.  Every time he opens his mouth, I find myself thinking, "Do you even LIKE patients?!"  I'm sure everyone has their periods of being frustrated by patients, but ultimately, isn't the reason most of us go into medicine is because we want to take care of people?  Or maybe that's just me.  Anyway, this guy just seems to despise patients and has absolutely no respect for most of them, so I don't really know what his deal is.
   Another thing I have a huge issue with, is how little respect many of the team members have for eachother.  They talk bad about one another behind eachother's backs, all the while in front of everyone else, making everyone in earshot feel extremely awkward.  Most of the time they are complaining about something that the other person has no idea they are even doing wrong.  It would be so much easier if they would just say to that person, directly, what they are doing wrong, and then they can just fix it!  And then everyone will be happy!  Some of the team members can't even show respect for the attending!  There is one girl, whose facial expressions allow you to read her thoughts like a book.  I've learned to watch her face during rounds (for pure entertainment on my part), because when other people are talking, including the attendings, she makes several expressions of disgust and contempt.  Maybe she doesn't realize how expressive she is, and has no idea that she is displaying her feelings for the whole team to see?

  That said, there ARE some things I like about this rotation.  In fact, all the things I don't like about this rotation are mostly dependent on who I'm working with.  And I'm not really sure if that's unique to this particular department?  Obviously I can't generalize these personalities to ALL surgeons, so we'll see how my experience on GI surgery is.  I particularly like the short get-right-to-the-point rounds.  From what little time I've spent in the OR so far, I like it!  I really like seeing patients, whether it's waking them up at an ungodly hour to preround on them, or popping in to say hi during rounds, I really enjoy all the little interactions I have.  I especially love the crazy patients.  I find them to be an entertaining challenge.  Luckily, I think I will come across crazy patients in any field of medicine. 

   Finally, I'll leave you with one of my favorite patient encounters.  There is one patient who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, and is now severely disabled: physically and mentally.  He has a lot of trouble speaking, and most of the time, his words come out all mumbled and slurred.  Because he isn't really able to comunicate, a lot of the times on rounds the doctors would just ignore him and talk about him like he couldn't hear them.  Every morning I would go in to preround on him, and he began to be able to talk more and more.  One day, when I went to see him, he said, "yyyygghhh zzzhhhccckkin mmmeeaaaaan."  I had to have him repeat it several times, saying, "I really want to understand what you're saying, sir, but I can't!"  Finally, I was able to make out that he was saying, "You've been checking on me."  And I said "Ooohhhh... Yes! I have been checking on you every morning!"  He replied, "I appreciate it."     

    It's the little things that make me happy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The 5 Types of Trauma Patients

   I only have one more week of trauma surgery left, and I am counting down the days.  I haven't posted anything about my experiences yet, but that isn't because I don't have anything to say.  Rather, I have a LOT to say, but I'll feel a bit more comfortable saying it after I get my official surgery clerkship grade.  After all, this is a public blog and you never know who reads these things.
   Long story short: let's just say I am miserable on this rotation.  This is the first time EVER that I have doubted my decision to go into medicine.  I'm really hoping that GI surgery will be better.  If not, at least I have OB/Gyn next, which hopefully will be a pick-me-up!

   Anyway, something funny I noticed is that there are about 5 types of trauma patients.  99% of patients on our service fall into one of the following categories:

1) "Old man river" or frail old lady who trips over their cat/carpet/feet/etc

2) Intoxicated person riding their bike who gets hit by a car

3) Person in a car accident (often involves someone being intoxicated or running from the police)

4) Adrenaline-seeking young man who gets injured on his ATV/watersport jump/other dare-devil activity

5) Man with too much testosterone (and/or drugs/alcohol on board) who gets punched/shot/stabbed

*** We also saw about 4 people who got injured by a horse (some variation of getting kicked/stomped/thrown off) in the span of a week.  Who knew so many people ride horses around here?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Zoey, Meet Sif, Your New Little Brother...

   I'm still somewhere in moving limbo these days because we haven't found a replacement roommate for me yet.  Hopefully, that will get resolved soon.  Anyway, I've begun moving a few things here and there over to BF's place, and this weekend, I moved Zoey (my cat) over.  Zoey, aka Baby Z, is a 16-pound, outrageously fluffy, super sassy, 11-year-old ragdoll cat who used to be my family's pet.  She tends to be on the more irritable end of the mood spectrum, but she has her cute and cuddly moments too. 
Sif on the other side of the screen

    BF and I have been a little nervous about the two kitties meeting because I already knew Z hates other cats.  We started them out with a screen between them, just in case Z got violent.  Slowly, she has been getting used to Sif (Bf's cat).  She started out aggressive and angry, but a few days later, she is just annoyed by him.  Sif, on the other hand, is super adorable, and just wants to play.  He keeps following her around because he is curious about her, which pisses her off - and it's HILARIOUS.  

Staredown across the screen
Zoey - hissing at Sif

   She'll come around.  She's already made some pretty good progress.  Pretty soon they'll be besties!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thoughts On The Totem Pole Of Authority In Medicine

   As in most fields, there is a distinct rank of authority in medicine, and at the very bottom of the totem pole, is the med student.  You could argue that pre-meds are the very bottom of the totem pole, but they have more of an observational role, so they don't really count in that sense.

   As third year medical students in the hospital, it is quite obvious that we are the "nobodies" of the team, especially early on in the year, when we don't know much about how the hospital works, or the politics of the team, or even how to do simple tasks.  Trust me, I'm totally fine with the pecking order.  I know my place!  But something that I find a little frustrating is how the more senior members of the team don't help you out in the least, they just stare as you awkwardly flounder.  I'm not asking for anyone to hold my hand, but it'd be nice if they could just think back to what it was like to be a medical student, not knowing anything, and be a little more direct with how things are supposed to run.  Seriously though - MS3's are not mind readers!  If we were, we wouldn't have gone into medicine, we'd be sipping champagne and laughing on our yaughts we bought with all our lottery/stock-market-won riches.

   I will say that there are some interns, residents and attendings who do remember what it was like to be a medical student.  They give you little hints and nudges, and those few moments they donate of their precious time help us out tremendously.  However, I have met several residents who obviously have absolutely no recollection of what being an MS3 is like.  They just assume you know what they know at their current state of training, and look at you like an idiot when you ask them how to do things - all the while being annoyed that you exist.

   I'll admit, it's easy to fall into this trap.  I'm thinking of a time I was shadowing as an MS1.  That day, there happened to be an undergrad shadowing too.  I think I was annoyed because I knew the attention of the attending wouldn't be solely on me that day.  I mean, was this undergrad even smart enough to get into med school?  Anyway, I found myself getting irritated with the undergrad throughout the day, especially because I kinda got stuck baby-sitting her.  Later, I thought back to my experiences as an undergrad, and how nobody in the hospital cared you existed.  I remember how surprised I was when I realized what a difference it made in the way people treated you when you moved from being a pre-med to being a medical student.  In retrospect, I feel terribly guilty for being irritable towards the undergrad.  Afterall, that was me just a few years before!  I hope that when I move on to residency, I learn from my previous mistake, and from the mistake I see a lot of residents making.  I hope that I am the helpful, enthusiastic resident, who the med students go to for things that come up.  Yeah, it takes more effort to be that resident, but the med students will be so much better for it.  And isn't that what training to be a doctor is all about?  Providing more compassionate and competent future doctors?!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Small Move, One Huge Step

   As promised in an earlier post, I have an announcement.  I am moving in with BF!  It's happening a bit suddenly, but it's something we had both been thinking about on our own for a while.  And then when we were in Oregon camping, watching the sunset on the beach, we said, "Why not now?!"

   We figured this would be as good a time as ever, since we both hadn't yet signed our leases for the next year.  It's not exactly an ideal time in terms of rotations, but really, when is there a good time for anything?  Also, we told my roommate she could have a few months to find a replacement if she needed.

   I've never even considered living with a significant other before, so this is a pretty big step for me.  This time is different though.  We already "live together" for all intents and purposes, we just switch back and forth between our houses every night.  The only time we spend apart is while we are at work.  We take turns cooking for each other every night, and even help each other with chores, so I think it will work out very nicely.  I'm very excited to be taking this next step in our relationship.  I wouldn't have even considered moving in together if I didn't see this going somewhere long term.

    I'll miss my cute little house and my roommate, but I'm excited for this new adventure!  More stories to come!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day #1 of Surgery

   Today was the orientation for my surgery clerkship, and while getting introduced to the OR was exciting, I learned two very important lessons:

1.  I don't know anything

2. Get comfortable with looking like an idiot

  Tomorrow is my first real day, and I start on trauma surgery.  I have to report at 5:45am, and that's only because I don't have any patients yet.  From now on, I'll be reporting at about 5am everyday, six days a week.  Here we go!

I Wonder What An IUD Looks Like On MRI

   One of the surprise perks of being a leader for my school's chapter of MSFC was getting a free one-year membership to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.  And what's so great about being a member of ARHP is that you get to read the medical journal Contraception online FO FREE!  Let me just get one thing straight really quickly - I hate reading medical journals.  They are super dry, overly-detailed, and they just pile up and take up space in my room (*cough* JAMA *cough*).  But I love reading Contraception.  Maybe this is a hint that I am meant to go into OB/Gyn, the fact that I actually enjoy reading about it over and over.
   Anyway, I just got a letter asking if I want to renew my membership.  It costs $50 for students, but if I pay that, I think I actually get a PRINT copy of the journal... Tempting.  Very tempting.  I'm honestly considering renewing for $50.  Especially considering I will be saving a lot of money pretty soon... (more to come on that)
Hey, look - it's MY brain! (Also, notice how lumpy my skull is...)
    I saw this article, about the MRI safety of intrauterine devices.  Just a few weeks ago, I got an MRI as a control subject for some psychiatry study on campus.  I didn't get paid or anything, but I got to look at my brain FO FREE, so I said, "hey why not?!"  (Btw are you beginning to see a theme here about me loving things 'FO FREE'?)  So yeah, I got a kick out of it because it was completely relevant to me and my beloved Mirena, but just one week too late!

   I probably will end up coughing up 50 bucks... if only to amuse myself like this again.