Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Insert HUGE Sigh Of Relief Here

   Had my first day of L&D today.  Was a CRAAAAAAZY day.  And I loved every minute of it!  Again, teared up with joy while watching a vag delivery.  I am breathing a HUGE sigh of relief because I'm feeling those butterflies I haven't felt in so long, and I'm reminded why I went into medicine.  I LOVE OB/GYN!

    More later.  Have to sleep now.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Surgery Rotation Was Like Menopause

   We had our orientation for OB/Gyn today, and I'm already super excited!  I just love learning about all these things, so it makes it easier to study.  A few friends and I decided that our surgery rotation was just like menopause.  It caused us to have insomnia, irritability, and the pimping gave us sweating and hotflashes.

    Last night, I had some really weird nightmares.  BF thinks it's my delayed processing of being done with my surgery rotation.  First I dreamed that I was in a car accident, and that 30% of my body got burned.  In the dream, I had circumferential burns on my left leg, so I was all scared because I knew I needed an escharotomy STAT (nerd alert!).  Then that dream ended, and my second dream was a lot more disturbing.  I dreamed that I was in high school again, and that someone was trying to push me into a big boiling vat of chemicals to burn me alive (yeah, I don't know what's up with the burn theme...) and I was freaking out because I knew how bad chemical burns were.  Somehow, I escaped, but then the villain shot up the whole school and I had to hide.  Eventually, I survived, and my dream ended with people evacuating the school, several of them in stretchers from being shot.  It was pretty freaky.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vaginoplasty: The Difference Between Plastic Surgeons And OB/Gyns

   Just came across this article about how ACOG is concerned about the medical validity of vaginal and vulvar reconstructive procedures.  I think they are concerned for good reason!  Since when does someone's vulva have to fit a cookie cutter mold?!  One of the coolest parts of being a woman is how unique our girly parts are, or at least that's what I think.  Also, women are undergoing these procedures to "boost their self-esteem" or improve their sex life, however, one of the potential side effects of these reconstructive surgeries is loss of sensation, which seems a bit counterproductive.

   I think this issue demonstrates the difference between the way plastic surgeons and OB/Gyns think.  OB/Gyns are all about taking care of women, concerned about their well-being, and they accept the wonderful uniqueness to each and every person.  Plastic surgeons just see the potential to "fix" yet another non-existent "flaw", and make everyone look the same.  I know plastic surgeons do a lot of good work too, but there is a lot that they do that makes my nostrils flare.  If you wanna pull people's faces back so they look like snakes, and make women's breasts look like oranges sitting on their chest, that's one thing, but keep your hands off of women's va-jay jays, okay?

The End Of A More Difficult Chapter

    Now that surgery is over, I'm left with many lingering thoughts, some of which I'll discuss now, and others which I'll come back to at some other point. I'm feeling a bit burned out at this point, and like I mentioned before, I've never actually reconsidered going into medicine before this last two months. Ultimately, I think it's just a sign that surgery is not for me, and when I find what's right for me, I'll be re-inspired and reminded why I'm doing what I'm doing, or at least that's what I'm desperately hoping for.
     It's interesting because when I look back on my psych rotation, it, too, was emotionally hard on me at times, but for completely different reasons. On psych, the patient's stories were sad, and it got frustrating not being able to fix all the patient's problems, but connecting with the patients was a fun challenge. And as a med student, you were a valuable part of the team, and the team welcomed you and cared about your learning and well being. On surgery, most people don't give a shit about the med students, and instead of looking at med students as future fellow colleagues who are on their journey of training, they look at us like we're little idiots who aren't worth their time. On surgery, people have huge egos and mostly care about "knowing their shit" and looking good. They really don't care to spend any time with the patients, which might be the reason I feel so burned out. Spending time with patients is one thing that re-energizes me and gives me that "warm and fuzzy" feeling, and those feelings have been far and few in between on this rotation.  One day, when one of my fellow MS3s and I were tired of being in the OR, we decided to go up to our floor and do "social rounds" on all of the patients on our service.  We went around to each patient's room, just popped in to say "Hi, how are you doing?" and then went on our merry way.  One patient was feeling particularly down, because he had been in the hospital so long, so we sat down and chatted with him for a good 20 minutes.  It was really nice to give the patients some attention, because usually they don't get much after rounds are over.
    I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago when I was still bitter about my experience on trauma surgery, so now I'm feeling a little more optimistic about medicine after having an overall great experience on GI surgery.  Unfortunately, we just have this weekend to recharge before rotation 3, so I hope I can muster up the energy.  I start L&D for OB/Gyn this week, which I am really excited about.  I can't believe my time is finally here - time to really see if this is what I want.  I hope this is the rotation that re-inspires me.  I have a good feeling about this, so here we go!

BF and I had a BBQ to celebrate being done with 1/3 of our third year!

    ***Also, I did some much-needed retail therapy today and bought some new professional dresses and blouses.  :)  Hey... I deserved it after making it through 8 weeks of surgery, right?!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Third Year Of Med School Is Such A Rollercoaster

   ... So hold on tight, but enjoy the loop-de-loops (even if they make you nauseated at times)!

   Today was my last day of GI surgery (the second half of my surgery rotation), and it was the perfect last day.  The patient I picked up this morning was super cheery and was motivated to change his life for the better, which set the tone for a light-hearted rest of the day.  We had M&M today, which was just as dramatic as ever, however, I've learned to really appreciate the theatrics of the whole affair.  When an attending from one department asked about the management of a particular cancer, one of the surg-onc attendings answered, "Yeah, we haven't done that for years.  We also started writing with ballpoint pens instead of quills..."  At first, I used to be really bothered by how the surgeons would always humiliate eachother every week at M&M, but then I realized most of them thrive on that shit, so I learned to appreciate the humor in it.
   My fellow MS3s and I were going to try to study for our shelf on Friday, but we were sitting in the cafeteria, so throughout the day, everyone from our team kept sitting down to chat with us while they ate.  It is so nice to have such a strong team dynamic that everyone actually wants to sit with eachother to eat.  We spent hours today just shooting the shit with our attendings and chief resident about figuring out what you want in life, career choices in medicine, and the behind the scenes of what life is like as a surgeon.  It was such a positive note to end the rotation on.
   Since it was our last day, all day the whole team kept telling us how good of a job we did, and how much they were going to miss us.  At first, I couldn't really figure out why they liked us so much, because I don't feel like we made that big of a contribution.  But then I thought more about it, and I think the contribution we made to the team was by having fun, enjoying the whole process, and laughing about everything throughout the entire rotation.  The NP asked us, "Do you guys take happy pills or something?!"  I think a lot of times people in surgery are so serious because of the intensity of the specialty and the critical nature of a lot of the patients, so I think our team appreciated our bubbly, high-spirited attitudes every day.  We had several of them tell us they hadn't laughed that hard in a long time.
    I'm really glad to be ending this rotation on such a good feeling.  This second half was drastically different from the first, and it had everything to do with the team.  It makes such a huge difference when the leaders of your team actually acknowledge your existence and care about your learning/well-being.

   That's all for now.  More thoughts on my surgery rotation later... probably after I take the shelf.  I gotta study!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Baby Z and Sif - Besties Fo Life

   I should be studying for my surgery shelf exam on Friday, however, I have decided that updating the world about my cats is more important at the moment.  I just hope I pass the stupid thing - after all, I hear it's not even surgical, but more of a test on medicine.  I haven't had my medicine rotation yet, so I'm screwed no matter what! Yay!

    Anyway, enough about that.  As you all know, Zoey and Sif got off to a bit of a rocky start, but they have come a long way, and now they are more like besties.  Well, "besties" may or may not be a stretch, but they are getting along really well.  Z has stopped hissing at S for the most part, and they enjoy laying in the same room as eachother.  They even play with eachother by chasing eachother across the house and swatting at eachother's faces.  It's hilarious.  This week, they progressed to rubbing eachother's faces together occasionally, and Sif started biting Zoey's ears/neck, and she'll tolerate it for about 30 seconds, and then she hits him... 

Rubbing faces - geeze, will you guys get a room already?!

King of the throne

Friday, August 17, 2012

Feminist Dilemma In The Hospital

    The other day I was checking in on one of my patients, a pleasant old man whom I enjoy chatting with every morning.  I had been following him for a few days, and on this particular day, when I was doing his physical exam, and my male intern happened to be in the room with me, I told him I had to check his belly, and the patient said, "Sure, do whatever you have to do! You're the nurse! And he's the doctor!"

    Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened to me, and it will definitely not be the last.  I wasn't angry at him at all, because he honestly didn't mean anything malicious by it.  He just assumed that I was the nurse because I am a woman, even though I was wearing the exact same green scrubs and white coat that my intern was, and the nurses in our hospital wear blue.  It's fine though, a lot of patients don't even notice the subtle clues about who's who in the hospital.  I mean, how would they know?!  And I can't really blame them.  Each patient probably have between 10-30 different healthcare workers coming in and out of their rooms every day, many of whom don't even introduce themselves, so no wonder they can't keep track of everyone.

    I realize that this stereotype of women being nurses and men being doctors isn't going to change any time soon, so I have learned not to get upset with patients making honest mistakes.  However, when this happened the other day I found myself in a dilemma of whether or not I should set the patient straight.  Should I just keep my mouth shut, and let him go on thinking I was a nurse?  Does it really matter if he knows my "title"?  Or should I speak up, and let him know that I am actually almost a doctor?

   I decided that there was nothing wrong with telling him that I was actually a medical student, who will become a doctor in the near future.  Of course, there was no reason for me to be confrontational, because he didn't do anything wrong, so with a smile on my face, I said very matter-of-factly, "Oh, actually I'm a medical student.  I'm training to be a doctor!"  He replied, "Oh! Well, you've got to get your training somehow!"  And everyone was happy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Much Needed Golden Weekend

   Today concludes the 6th week (of 8 weeks total) of my surgery rotation.  I think the one word that best sums up how I feel is "tired".  I'm excited because this is my first "golden weekend" (aka having BOTH Saturday and Sunday off) that I've had in over six weeks.  I have been pulling 12-16 hour days 6 days a week, so I've sorta been living under a rock.  I can't wait to see my family and friends this weekend while I have the chance!

    Two weeks ago I switched over to GI surgery, which is a million times better than trauma surgery was.  My team is awesome: super laid-back, approachable, like to teach, etc.  They are pretty intense at times, and even may yell at you, but they aren't mean about it, and you can tell they care.  And at least they acknowledge us med students... which is more than I can say for my previous team.

   I've been also been liking this half better because we have been getting much more OR time.  It gets a little repetitive scrubbing in on lap cholies, roux-en-y gastric bypasses and hernia repairs all the time, but still cool.  I've also been able to get a better look at anesthesiology too, which is pretty cool.  I like how much physiology it involves, and how it has moments of "routine" and other moments of "sheer terror/panic".

   Anyway, I've been ready for this rotation to be over since the first week, but I only have one and a half weeks left, I'm in the final stretch, and I am ready!  I can't wait to start OB/Gyn next.  Finally, I;m gonna be doing something I'm passionate about.  I hope surgery hasn't exhausted all my energy... This post isn't meant to be a complain-y post, but more of a reminder to myself later why I'm not interested in surgery as a career.  And I've also realized after six weeks straight of 70-80 hour weeks, that lifestyle is important to me, so I should keep that in mind when considering specialties.  When I only have 2-3 hours to myself each day between the time I get home and the time I need to go to bed, to get a whopping 6 hours of sleep, I am not a refreshed and happy person.  I guess it's probably something you get used to.  Does it ever get any better?  Should I kiss any life I had outside of medicine goodbye?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another Year Older, A Teeny Bit Wiser?

   It's my birthday tomorrow, and I was sure that being on my surgery rotation meant that I would just have to forget about having any sort of festive celebration this year.  I was completely surprised, however, when my friends/BF pulled through and made it absolutely amazing.  Two of my sorority friends from LA showed up at my door, which completely caught me off guard.  I didn't even know they were in town!  Then, later I went to dinner at a BBQ restaurant which has my favorite mac and cheese, and all my friends showed up!  What an awesome surprise :) and BF put it all together with my friends.  I'm so lucky to have such an amazing BF and friends!

  I really wasn't expecting anything to happen this year, which is fine, but this was just so fun.  Watch this video my friends took of my surprise to see how shocked I was: