Friday, September 26, 2008

Evidently this is acceptable behavior.

Excellent news, readers. Until last night I wasn't exactly sure how I would pass this medicine shelf today. But thanks to the illustrious example of a potential vice-presidential nominee, now when I happen upon a question I can't answer I will just tell my course director I'll try to find specific examples and bring them to him later.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Today we had to meet in small groups with the chief of internal medicine whose office is literally larger than my apartment. He was very welcoming and gave us each a chance to relay our spiel to him about where we came from and why we chose medicine.

I told the chief of internal medicine that I kind of wanted to do something important sort of once and because I didn't know what else to do I wound up at medical school. And now that I'm here well, I don't really know what to go into since I hate science to my very core and I've found I don't like working with sick people, so that seems to limit my options and oh yeah, I want to have a family someday too. But I do know I'd like to do something that enables me to pay off my loans sooner rather than later by practicing as little clinically as humanly possible.

I said that, aloud, and did so far more inelegantly than I've typed it out just now.

To the chief of internal medicine.

To the chief of internal medicine at my very self-important school and perhaps actually important affiliated hospital.

It was kind of liberating to feel that bullet fire through my foot.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I think my nerdiness was sucked out along with my WILL TO LIVE

In the sixth grade our gym teacher made us warm-up before each class period. Presumably so we wouldn't wreck our lax little tendons overzealously chasing a kickball or while diving under the parachute or sustaining whatever injury doing whatever stupid thing I didn't want to participate in because sports were stupid and I'd rather be reading a book.

I was so worked up about the prospect of having to stand in front of thirty of my peers, charged with leading them in STRETCHING no less, that each day we had gym class I skipped out on cereal and Power Rangers early to go through a routine. I'd sit down in the living room and make a mental check-list of all the stretches I'd lead the group in were I called to do so.

I'd make sure not to do anything too hard like the splits or push-ups, largely because oh oh, I physically COULDN'T, and I'd try to formulate an order so that I wouldn't forget anything or be left standing there agape with no stretch to offer.

The final check of course was to make sure my pants didn't have any holes in the crotch as the black stretchy pants of yore were prone to developing. Sitting to lead a straddle stretch would be infinitely more mortifying than it already was if I unknowingly displayed a window to my undies.

I was never called on to lead gym stretch. I'm fairly confident the gym teacher only picked the pretty girls to lead the class or at least those who would willingly make eye contact at the time of choosing.

I don't know what happened to that neurotic little girl. The one who would check and double check and RE-double check and then plan and then plot and then maybe even ask their Dad for stretch recommendations, JUST IN CASE. I used to always be prepared... even for things that were rather inconsequential in the long run.

My marathon of a 12 week medicine rotation ends on Friday. And of course, it culminates in an exam covering oh, you know, all of internal medicine.

I don't feel prepared. I can't bring myself to study anymore. I think the nerd in me has finally, FINALLY burned out. And this time, I don't think it's so inconsequential. Blech.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's true.

"Patient X, I'm very sorry, but I'm going to have to pull this needle out and try for a different vein."

"You're a very bad nurse."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh, hi

Many varied things have held me back from blogging of late. Not least of which is the fact that as of July and the onset of my third year of medical school, my world has turned upside down and inside out. Sometimes very literally.

I now routinely place my finger into the anus of patients.  I have cracked ribs and mushed viscera in an effort to save my patient's life.  I have realized that more often than not, I'm paying $70,000 to perform the tasks of a glorified secretary. All of this in exchange for the promise of a career I've never been entirely sure I want.

The past few months have been surreal. From finishing my time in the classroom in April to taking The Boards in May to entering the hospital every single day as if I belong there... it's been a whirlwind.  I'm trying to figure out how to process it all.

It's been a long time since I've been engulfed in something completely and wholly unfamiliar. Nineteen years in a classroom will do that to you. But I'm experiencing something unique and, fine, I'll just say it: precious, and I think it warrants documentation. If for no one else but my future self.

My future, God help us all, physician self.

One of the things I'm learning is how quickly and abruptly one has to desensitize and compartmentalize in order to handle the day to day dealings of life and death.  I'm scared of becoming a robot.  Or worse, a Republican.

I'm scared that if I don't remind myself of who I was when I started all this that I'll lose sight of the trepidation and awe medicine usually deserves. We're dealing with human lives. There are people attached to these lab values and diagnoses.

Right now I think I'm closer to being a patient than a doctor and I'm hoping that keeping a log of the transformation from one to the other will enable a coexistance of both rather than a dissolution or sacrifice of the other.

I've been cautious in approaching the interweb with all of this beacuse oftentimes I want to come home and CAPS LOCK SENTENCES ON HOW ANNOYING THIS PATIENT WAS or HOW ANGRY THIS ATTENDING MADE ME or WHY ON EARTH DID I EVER THINK THIS WHOLE THING WAS A GOOD IDEA FOR CRYING OUT EFFING LOUD. Also, HIPPA. Also, my own privacy. Also, my free time should probably be geared towards oh I don't know, learning the practice of medicine.

So... we'll see. I'm here now. I've missed this.

Friday, September 5, 2008

So aghast I came back to blog it

While waiting for our noon medicine lecture:

Me to Female Classmate: "So yeah, I guess it's supposed to rain a lot tomorrow... Hannah's coming to town."

Female Classmate to Me: "Why is it Hannah? Why not Hank? Henry?"

Me to Female Classmate: "I used to know back when I wanted to be a Weather Woman.  I thought there was a reason they were either a boy or a girl name. Maybe it just alternates?"

Male Course Director to Us: "When I was a kid all of the hurricanes were named after women. That sure changed... when the seventies happened... and hey, that's why you're here."