So much more to give

I have a cold. No doubt from puttering around the ICU trying to learn something without getting too overwhelmed. I’m tired. I would have much rather slept in and spent a lazy Sunday in my jammies than wake up at 5:30 with my eyes crusted shut and a kleenex still up my nose from when I woke up and tried to extract mucus from my erythematous, swollen sinuses at 1 am. I walked around the hospital this morning seeing my patients, trying not to cough in their rooms-  feeling like I was sicker than most of them on the general medical floor. “Why don’t they all just go home so I can go home?” I thought. I’ve heard people refer to “compassion fatigue” in the medical field. Where you get so tired of feeling sorry for everyone and wishing you could help, that you pretty much stop feeling anything for anyone, no matter how sad their story. I feel like I was there this morning. I was selfish. I wanted to cough and blow my nose all over anything I could and then run home and sleep. I wanted hot tea and to watch You’ve Got Mail and I didn’t want to learn or see patients or offer any kind of sympathy to anyone. And then I watched a procedure on a young man dying of AIDS. He said he was scared multiple times before and during the procedure. I didn’t say much then and neither did anyone else. Honestly, I was too busy stifling my coughs so that I didn’t break sterile field. After though, I was watching...
Love in Medicine and Loving Medicine

Love in Medicine and Loving Medicine

Oops. Its accidentally been six months since I posted. I notoriously only post during or immediately following life transitions, usually on the nights I can’t sleep and mostly for journaling purposes. Since I don’t have the balls to post my 30 million word draft laying the facts out to these crunchy-granola-essential-oils-non-vaccinating moms and I don’t really have any real earth-shattering-career-in-medicine-advice for anyone, I will continue to just post my actual life for my own therapeutic benefit. Such is the case tonight, holed up in a hospital call room at 3 AM Tonight I’m up because I finally was able to sleep all day preparing for this night shift, but in general recently, I’ve been kept up at night for two very big Big BIG things coming up shockingly soon. 1) I’m getting married in 54 days 43 days. 2) I’m feeling self-induced pressure to pick a specialty. So that after 20-something years of school, I can finally decide what it is I’m going to be when I grow up. Numero Uno I feel like no one will be shocked to find out that I find wedding planning to be stressful. I’ve dreamt more than once that whoever does my nails right before the wedding, manages to stain my entire distal phalanges black with that soap they make you dip your fingers in. At times I feel like spending the money and doing this big show and party is something I could take or leave as long as I have Dru in the end. Like everything else I worry about, it will be here before we know it and I’ll...

I’m Back– Close Calls, Boards, and the Start of Third Year

My life looks very different now than what it did 5 weeks ago. And, 5 weeks before that, I was in another galaxy. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but these last couple months have been more of a startling transition than going from college and a summer off to matriculating the first year of medical school. I will say though, this transition has brought much more enjoyable changes. So let’s start back at the end of April/beginning of May during board exam preparations when I deleted every social media app and other time-sucking things from my life and moved in with my best med school friends; it simultaneously became a huge load off my back having awesome roommates and being in a more nurturing place at home, but then it got a whole lot more stressful because Macy and I needed to buckle down and study. Hard. This was 6 weeks before my big test, and classes were already over to give us time to study for boards on our own. (Before I go on, for all you non-medical people- passing this test is crucial to moving onto your “clinical” years of medical school and an absolute necessity for getting the big D.O. after my name. Residency programs look at this test score and assess your worthiness, and if getting into medical school isn’t hard enough, I daresay this was about 437 times harder than anything I had to do to get in.) Anyway, I took a practice test that the school required we take to make sure we were ready to take the exam and pass it. I was...

Functional Anxiety

Hopefully by now you have learned not to expect much in the way of blog posts during the school year. It’s a rough time and nearly all relationships, hobbies, and other activities suffer in the thick of it. I used to worry a lot about where the time went and fret over how little I had done in 3 hours or whatever. Now, I don’t have time for that. Anything that isn’t directly related to studying for my systems course- which right now is hematology- is immediately considered free time and I have promised myself to never regret how I spend my free time. If its free time and I want to sleep, I sleep. If I want to hold one of my babes, I try my hardest to get my sisters to let me hold them. Unfortunately sometimes OMM and DTP eat up my free time with their class requirement, and that is a quick way to get me really cranky. “Hell Week 2.0” I think is now over. I remember one distinct week in first year that just raked me over the coals. We had back-to-back tests, Anatomy and something else awful like Embryology or something. On top of that, I was sick. I’m sure there was more to it than that, but I have PTSD and can’t remember. This year’s worst week ever- just happened. I just had a lot going on; there were two tests and I had to do my first full history and physical on a standardized patient. This was all within 6 days but it didn’t fall on an exact calendar week...

Lion Scratches

When I was 15 my legs were itchy. I couldn’t sleep. I writhed in agony, with no rash or bumps or any other symptoms. I went to my pediatrician, urgent cares when I couldn’t stand it, and even the emergency room once. No one could figure it out. I had a whole cabinet full of lotions and creams to numb and soothe. Eventually I got a referral to a dermatologist with a 2 month wait before her next appointment. When I finally saw her, she told me about another over-the-counter lotion and sent me away to come back in 2 weeks. Still no relief. When I went back she found a few goosebump sized bumps on the back of my thigh and she squeezed them until I cried to see what would come out. The best she could figure was that it was some sort of keratosis. She prescribed Triamcinolone acetonide cream- basically what I now know to be the steroid cream of choice for itchy skin. She didn’t just give me the little toothpaste sized tube either. She gave me a 1 lb. tub with two refills on it. I was instructed to rub it all over my legs and butt at night and anytime after I showered. I followed the instructions; I got less itchy. And then it went away all together. I forgot all about the cream when I quit itching and then the itching would come back, so I used it again every night. The tubs of lotion lasted about six months and I used all of them, along with OTC CeraVe. With three tubs of...

Second Semester Classes

I’m a little over 2 months deep in my second semester of medical school. I have finished my cardiovascular block, and am now a week into neurology/neuroanatomy. Its a doozy, but it’s nothing compared to last semester. I got an email to talk about the classes I have, and I wanted to do it before Neuro gets too crazy, so here it is! The second semester of medical school: My school is in its second year of switching to systems-based learning and we officially start the systems in our second semester with cardiovascular. That basically means we go through every system in the body and cover everything that entails in about 6 weeks per system. We learn physiology, normal function, and review some anatomy, then we dive right into everything that can go wrong with it, what the symptoms are, the diagnostic tests you run, how to diagnose, and then finally the drugs to treat it. The only thing is that there are so many different things going on now that I get a little overwhelmed. In addition to our systems block (which is the heaviest part of our lecture hours each week), we have Clinical Problem Solving, Clinical Skills Class and Lab, OMM Class and Lab, Developing the Physician, and now a Neuroanatomy Lab each week. Clinical Problem Solving gives us a clinical case each week and is incorporated strongly into our systems courses. We learn to write SOAP notes and discuss diagnosis and treatment in small groups with a practicing physician. Easily my favorite time in class each week! Clinical Skills teaches us how to perform physical...