Not for a Lack of Trying and Summer Plans

There are so many issues I want to talk about. Things I’m passionate about. In medicine and in life. Vaccines, mental illness and mood disorders, nutrition and exercise, pregnancy and childbirth, medical school admissions, preventative medicine, geriatrics, malpractice, thoughts on caring physicians, managing chronic illness, and of course this era of mistrusting our physicians and reliance on the internet. Big things are coming and happening and the future of medicine. I simply do not have the time to research and delve into these big issues and write the well-written pieces I know I can write while being true to my studies. The hard truth is, being the best physician I can in the future be means I need to give my all to the cardiovascular system right now. It means I can’t dive into those side issues I care so much about just yet because I need to know paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, bread and butter pericarditis, and Kerley B lines. I haven’t even had the spare thought-processing energy to figure out exactly where I stand on so many of these things. I sift through these thoughts in spare moments- spending time on my runs and in the shower deep in thought. When I’m done, I have a lot of little half-ideas and nothing really hashed out. Still, I write all my ideas in a note on my iPhone and save them for later. “Summer,” I promise myself. I’ll get down and dirty with these ideas this summer. It’s coming. Also in the summer, a myriad of opportunities have come about since being in medical school- and I’ve been really...

The Truth About Anatomy Lab

Before reading this post, please take time to review my disclaimer here. If I had to pick a theme to encompass this semester thus far, the theme would be time. What time is it? What time do we have to be there? ? When can we stop studyingHow much time left on the exam? How long have we been studying? Where has the time gone? How much time is that meeting? Time, time, time. There’s never enough of it, but I’m always ready for whatever-it-is to be over. Speaking of which, I have neither the time to write this, nor the amount of sleep I require, but I think I need to say it. Simply because it bothers me so much, I feel like I have brought up the fact of having no time to reflect at least a couple times on this blog. Where it bothers me most though, is anatomy. I don’t have the time to be bothered though. We were told to be grateful for the gifts of these donors’ bodies. We were told strict rules of how we would show that respect. (No cell phones in the lab, no pictures, be courteous, be mature, don’t take body parts, etc.) Some of us have even had cadaver labs before. Let me say this though, having now done both. Medical school cadaver lab anatomy is nothing like undergraduate cadaver lab anatomy. Do I feel more prepared having taken undergrad anatomy? Maybe I was more prepared on the first day of school, for words like “inferior” and “malleolus” to pop up. Maybe. I may remember some superficial muscles...

Empathy vs. Sympathy

I saw this video a long time ago and I remember showing it to my roommate and we just sat silently after watching it. I’m glad I was able to find it again. Its quick and easy to understand but she covers some deep things in it that I mull over in my head quite often. I always get chills when she says “I know what its like down here and you’re not alone.” If only I was just able to convey that to people that I want to help. Its harder than it sounds. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw&w=560&h=315] My relevant story for today isn’t really any thing compared to the pain and suffering some people go through, but I’m going to tell it anyway because it is what has got me to some realizations about helping people pain- both physically as a future physician, and emotionally with family and friends. I had a bad sunburn recently. Mostly on my back. It was about two days old and I went running enough to soak my back and my shirt in sweat. It started itching in spots on my way home. Then it started burning. Then I took a warm shower. Then I got out and put some moisturizer on it. Through each of these steps it started burning worse, getting itchy all over. I’m not sure if I was done for from the moment I sweated salty chemicals onto raw skin or if I just kept making it worse, but by this time I was in a fit of excruciating pain and compulsive itching. Rolling on the floor, crying for my...

The-Burnout,-Doubt-Everything,-Find-Resolve-Again Cycle

Pre-meds take heart. I ache for you. I really do. I know how it is. I know you doubt your decision to become a doctor or PA constantly. I know that it comes at the worst times too. Right before a test. I used to sit in the student union with my science classmates, staring at our textbooks. We watched the sun go down from the same spot almost every night. We ordered dinner in there; sipped coffee; ate entirely too many sour straws. We pretended to know how to explain the problems’ solutions to each other. We tried index cards, quizzing each other, making up games, and repeating the answers over and over. We tried writing it out multiple times and diagramming it, any creative way to make it easier on ourselves to learn. During this ritual, one or all of us would end up with eyes glazed over, elbow resting on the book, face in hand. Or worse-  head down resting on the book staring off into the void. Jenna would catch my eye and say “What?” as in “What are you thinking?” and I’d spout off our usual joke about wishing the information would just enter my brain through osmosis as I was laying on it. Then- and stay with me here because our overloaded minds rarely make  sense. “I just…. I can’t… I mean… [sigh]. This is just really hard and I hate it and I’m tired and I can’t… I mean…. ugh… WHY? Natural progression dictates the others around you join in on the moaning. Such begins a big discussion of every cruel assignment,...

Worry

I worry about big things, like about the future. I worry about small things, like about not finishing all the summer reading I wanted. I worried when I was 9 and had no legitimate concerns. I worry now when every decision feels so pertinent. I worry about serious things like the environment. I worry about stupid things like having white teeth. I worry about my family. I worry for their health and happiness. I worry about about their worries. I worry about their sadness. I worry about their foot fungus. I worry about their flaky patches of skin. I worry about their backs, their diets, their sore throats. I worry about my sisters. I worry about depression returning, looming in the sky like a big thunderhead that just passed over us. I worry about my nieces. I worry for them because its so hard to be a girl. I worry because its so hard to grow up and grow up right. I worry because things go wrong. I worry for them because there are hurts I can’t hide from them. I worry that they will see my worry because I want them to know how blessed they are and I’m worried my worry will make them think otherwise. I worry about them when I start medical school. I worry that they’ll think I won’t have time for them. I worry about my friends. I worry that I’ll disappoint them. I worry that they won’t get everything they want for their lives. I worry about the hurt they will have to endure if they don’t. I worry about love. I...

My Personal Statement

Caution: Post with heavy reading! Since I have a lot of friends that just finished their junior year and are applying to medical school, I thought I would share my personal statement. If you’ve been applying then you already know the basic guidelines they give you and some of the more google-able tips you can find on what to put in it- and what not to. For example: About a page in length. Highlight your good qualities. Duh. Say what makes you unique. Things like that. But, the thing is. In all my searching, people rarely share them. I mean yeah, you can find a couple of examples, but I’m pretty sure they’re professionally written so as to be unrealistically bad, or “ideal scenario” good. Is mine perfect?  No. Is it real? Yes. So here it is. The personal statement of a real, imperfect student that really really really wants to be a doctor. I didn’t have all the right connections, I didn’t have the perfect grades, I didn’t have a stellar internship working for the dean of the medical school. I’m an average student that worked my butt off, and never felt like I was going to get in. And now I did. I wrote it myself, but like I said here, many many people proofread it for me. Just to have people read it and tell you different points of view on how it comes across is valuable, I think. You should see how many drafts of it that I have on my computer. It’s a little ridiculous.   “Dear Admissions Committee, As I begin medical school,...