Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lest you think medical training is romantic.....

The medical student break room. Smells like stale cheese and unwashed carpet. And this is the nice hospital where the locker isn't the trunk of your car...

Sunday, April 19, 2009


After I was asked twice and nicely I have given in and joined twitter.
I hope this isn’t the death knell for the blog, although it has taken quite a hit since I communicate so much via facebook… Twitter is so much less commitment, and gratification so much more instant. Not that I need more instant gratification in my life. I just finished up OB/GYN and start Pediatrics… on Monday. I have been celebrating by, among other things, sitting in the sun and drinking margaritas and bowling three games and not breaking 100 in any game. Seriously, our president could give me some tips.
I am now officially 6 week from finishing my core clerkship rotations and half way through the 80 weeks of clinical clerkship that comprise the last two years of medical school. I am starting the long and somewhat onerous process of applying for the national residency match and I am gearing up to take my next round of medical licensing exams in August (This round costs $1000 to take the exam) Trying to write my personal statement, one of those grotesque sum up your life and sell yourself and prove that you will be the best resident since wonder woman ditched her lasso and invisible plain for a career in medicine all in 500 words or less, has drummed much of the desire to write clear out of me. And yet I persevere.

Life is busy and very good. Obstetric and Gynecology was what I had hoped all my clerkships would be like. I had attending preceptors who were dedicated to teaching and who taught without belittling. I had residents who took the time to teach and didn’t treat me like I was a burden. And the fact that I was upfront about the fact I did not want to go into OB/GYN did not diminish the residents and attendings respect for me or their willingness to teach. My roommate and friend Len did his pediatrics core where I am going and enjoyed it immensely.
I am definitely more comfortable with my exam skills and looking forward to the autonomy afforded to a fourth year medical student. It feels good, I feel like I am doing good, and I like what I see coming down the road for me professionally. Who could ask for more?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Where the patient right to know information ... (as in the patient's right to know what is in his or her record) is kept under lock and key...

Okay I had been dreading this one a bit, but the resident in charge was incredibly passionate about teaching which helped mitigate the fact that the residency director was overly formal and restrictive in his teaching. And there was lots of devestating pathology to be seen. Important things to learn. It is not the fluff core of third year some people make it out to be, but the hours were sure better than surgery!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happiness and Joy

Gentle Readers;

Have you heard? Happiness is contagious!
I admit to being a little surprised by some of the feedback on my recent posts. Surgery was intense. Medicine, not without it's bumps but much better. But I don't remember feeling like I was suffering. I was intensely frustrated in medicine by some of my classmates negativity. Luckily for me, I was befriend by a fourth year medical student who was interested in medicine and who had a work ethic. She told me about her experience in her third year medicine clerkship, and how frustrated she was by the negativity around her and how depressing she found it to be around negative people. So I started spending less time around the folks who weren't happy where they are and more time with people like my fourth year friend who were. When I first got to the hospital I felt comforted by being in a big group of student, now I have found my peace and my place on my own. I feel my personal and professional confidence growing. I know I am on the right career path. It is a good place to be.

My cardiology elective was fantastic. I worked with an attending who was devoted to teaching and encouraged his student to think. He taught rigorously without condescension. I rounded with students and residents who wanted to be there, and I can tell you it was much easier to be happy. And charged up. I have to say, I have an intellectual crush on cardiology right now. It is very cool.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

City Fun

In between thanksgiving in Bay Head with the Waterburys and my brother's graduation in Knoxville, I spent a throughly lovely day with Larissa in New York

Any day that includes playing with yarn in a cute little french patisserie in the Village is a good day.

The day actually started with quality time at the Great Jones Spa, where Larissa and I both let go of our stress in the jacuzzi, sauna and steam room as well as getting fabulous massages. We then wandered around Soho for a bit, and had a PITCHER of sangria and great tapas for lunch.

Larissa proved to be an adept subway pathfinder, always pointing me patiently in the right direction after we emerged and not mocking me at all when I unerringly insisted time and again that we set off in the wrong direction. I will admit to feeling extra cool when someone asked me for directions in Soho.. obviously mistaking me for a city dweller. I am just that cool. Luckily Larissa was again able to point the stranger in the right direction... making her super cool. But we already knew that.. She is seen here dealing with a stray animal cracker that was found in her pocket while waiting for a downtown train. The threat posed by said animal cracker has indeed been neutralized.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


This actually is a pretty good depiction of what surgery was like for me....
Scutt Monkey Surgery

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Q & A

Q: So why so long no post...?
A: Medical school blah blah blah b;ah busy blah blah blah.... The truth is I have been tired. My summer finally caught up with me. The stress of moving here, Shade last month and her passing, my Mom's health, the totallled car, and the long surgery hours all took their tool long distance. I am at the hospital less hours, and the hours there are happier. But I have needed to process a fair amount I couldn't afford to process in June july and August. When I say process I mean sleep 8 hours a night, watch Chuck, Fringe, Pushing Daisies, Life on Mars, True Blood, The Daily Show and Sara Conner Chronicles. I also have been spending a fair amount of time with my crochet hook and blogging on Ravelry. Just so we are clear.

Q: Weren't you going to write about your surgery experience?
A: Yup. So many things to write.. And there needs to be a separate log entry for any prospective SGU student or current SGU student who happens across this blog......
But if there was a pivotal moment for surgery it was the moment I sat down with Sara and a bunch of the residents for lunch and I realized I was missing something. I walked away with her and found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and that the man I like to think of as Mr. Surgeon Man was going to be the one to do her surgery. Now Mr. Surgeon man in many ways embodies all that I disliked surgery. He believes it seems that the take down is the best teaching method. It makes him happy to see a student/intern/ senior resident run ragged by a line of questioning he has provided until the person in question has forgotten everything he or she ever knew... including their own name. He finds their discomfort amusing it seems or at the very least it makes him smile.

In this I am better than you are surgical culture, I took comfort from learning from and scrubbing with the trail blazer, a female breast surgeon who at 70 had and continued to have a remarkable career. She was open, revealing, a generous teacher, and took more care in her surgeries to prevent post operative pain than anyone I had scrubbed with. When I asked Sara why she wasn't getting her surgery from the trail blazer her answer was simple: the trail blazer didn't take her insurance and required significant cash upfront.

One of the nicest surgeons I scrubbed with spent his days doing gastric bypass surgery, a specialty I had considered money grubbing. Patients who have these surgeries gain a significantly reduced mortality, one of the highest I have ever seen for any procedure. There were layers beyond layers. Personally it was a excruciatingly hard summer. My Mom's health delicate, Shade taking her last bow, my car getting totaled. And the East Coast just isn't my country.. isn't home. But every surgery I scrubbed in on was an undeniable privilege, every body whether relatively healthy or full of pathology was a marvel. I wish I had been more present for the experience. I wish I had more to bring with me. It is was not and is not my home, but it was an incredible experience.

Q: So how do you like medicine?
A: Medicine is home, and I feel more at home in the hospital where I am doing my medicine clerkship. It is an inner city hospital. There are a lot of people with multiple pathologies, a lot of people who really need good care. Everyday there is a new puzzle to solve, and there is time for me to solve it. And as a student I get lots of time with patients, to get to know them and their stories. Medicine may be home but I am not sure New Jersey is, but I would be sorely tempted if I was to be offered a residency at the hospital I did my internal medicine clerkship at.

Q: If New Jersey isn't home what is it? Where is home then? What is wrong with New Jersey?
A: That is a very good question. I most often refer to New Mexico as home but don't see myself moving there. I used to say home is where my dog is but I am now pet free. California feels like home in a way but it has been a couple of decades since I lived there. There is nothing wrong with New Jersey per say, it's just that living here reminds me that I am a westerner at heart.... less concerned with certain elements of style, more concerned with tree hugging, latte drinking, organic food, alternative art forms, and crocheting cozies for the revolution.

Q: Wait, aren't you almost done with medicine. If you liked it so much why not write more?
A: I am in fact done with medicine as of last week and I start a two week cardiology elective today. I hope in fact to write more about where I am and where I am going, but I realized that I needed to post this long simmering Q & A before I started another rotation...

Q: So can we expect more regular post from now on?
A: I will try, but I have been seduced by both facebook and ravelry.. so no guarantees.