Second Verse, Same as the First

I have started my second year of medical school. I’m actually two and a half weeks in. I’m still in the classroom, but since only years 1 and 2 are done on campus, it gives all of us MS-2’s this false sense of being “top dogs”. We’ve been showing the first years around all summer, and now we can pop backs so we think we are some hot stuff. Then the dream stops and we wake up to the nightmare reality every morning that we still actually only know very little and boards loom on the horizon like that scene in Apollo 13 where the astronauts are all walking toward the space ship dramatically. Will we all just burst into flames and never make it there?! Will we get halfway to the moon and then freeze to death?! Will we make it home to our lives and loved ones triumphantly?! NOBODY KNOWS! Sometimes I don’t feel like walking forward towards that spaceship. It seems like too great of a risk. Studying for the MCAT depleted my gumption reserves. It gave me mono and walking pneumonia and insomnia and anxiety and the sweats and nightmares. I always felt like crap, just completely run down for that 6 weeks or so I studied; only surviving by way of coffee and sonic drinks. Now that such conditions are normal for me as a medical student, I wonder how preparing for my tortuous first round of boards will plague me. Okay, think happy thoughts! That test is not til next June and I am loving school for the most part. The transition back...

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...

First Year of Medical School is Over

and it has been for about a month now. To be honest, I’ve been relaxing without any guilt of not studying, not worrying about extracurriculars, boosting my application, or even getting ready for next year like I was constantly worried about last summer when I was prepping to enter first year. It’s a good feeling. I’ve had time to reflect and reevaluate myself and recognize all the changes that have occurred. Two weeks ago, I helped with some recruiting events for the medical school where some of my class travelled Oklahoma and taught high schoolers about some of the things you get to learn in medical school. Over and over, my classmates talked about how much we had learned in our first year. Listening to my classmates explain things in such a way that high schoolers understood, gave me a lot of pride in watching the fruits of our labors these last nine months come to life. We have successfully integrated anatomy, foundational biological sciences, and now the physiology of the systems we are going through sequentially; we are able to articulate these concepts into something high schoolers can understand. I’ve heard it said several times now that medicine involves a lot of teaching and at first I dreaded that thought. Rarely am I able to explain things in a fluid way such that my audience understands my thought process and the little tricks in my mind that help me learn. However, once I was put in front of these students just barely encroaching into the path that is Premed, I felt like for the first time I was...

Catching up and Slowing Down

The blogging was slow throughout my neuroanatomy block. It was easily the roughest time since first semester when my class took our foundational science courses along with anatomy. Now the year is winding down. We are in our psychiatry block, or as we like to call it- “Psych-cation”. This is my last full week as a first year medical student. I had high expectations for this year. Nothing went as expected, but that’s not to say it wasn’t one of the greatest things I have ever been a part of. It continues to be my desire to wake up and learn and do medicine. I also continue to struggle each and every day to work my hardest, dig deep, and put my best forward. Some days are easier than others. I struggle to this day with the discipline to study for a full evening with no distractions. Time management- and the guilt that goes along with making tough choices- will always be tough for me. Whenever I choose to run and meal prep, I feel guilty for not studying. If given the the chance to watch my niece for an evening or be with my family, it is always my first inclination to pick them, and then spend my time with them rushing through it or worse, resenting them for pulling me away from studying. Yet, the same is true on the rare occasion I decide to continue studying- I start to get down on myself for being the studious, uncaring robot I never wanted to be and cursing my choice of medicine for making me betray my family....

Motivation

I don’t have anything important to say. No advice or devastating or devastatingly exciting news. Only this. If I had a nickel for every time I needed a medical school pep talk and a deep sigh with my mom, my classmates, my doctor mentor or anyone that will listen- I could fly my piggy bank and I to Hawaii. This medical school thing is hard, but It. Is. Flying. By. And summer is on the...
The Chinese Dragon

The Chinese Dragon

In cross country, there is a hill we referred to affectionately as THE CHINESE DRAGON (all rights reserved, just kidding.)   Much like the Chinese Dragon traditional in the Chinese New Year parade, this hill is long and ssssslooooooowwww. It. Is. Rough. From my house, the closest entrance to the running trail involves running down the Chinese dragon. Which means on the way back, I must run up it. The jolt of each foot strike makes my quadriceps quiver, absorbing the shock. I can feel the power they hold in reserve. Goosebumps come up from my feet, until even my arm hair is standing on end. Like most runners, I get a lot of power on the uphill from the pelvis. I feel my hip flexors and glutes engage. They’re the engine here forcing leg after leg after leg as if I were pedaling a bike on the easiest gear. No effort, my legs practically fall to their target one after the other. My arms pump involuntarily. But suddenly, I feel nothing. No pain. No emotion. I don’t even hear my breaths anymore reminding me of the strain I’m under. There is simply the pavement in front of me. While at the beginning of the hill, there was that thought in my mind “you can stop if you need to”- stopping is no longer an option here. I am powerful and invincible. If a wall were to suddenly appear in front of me, I would plow right through it. While so many things escape my grasp and I fall short- this, right now; this, for such a short time- this,...

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...

My Blog Interview is Up!

This is my face when I find out my blog is published on a well-known website after a long day at school! Just wanted to let you guys know that my interview with accepted.com is up! I had a lot of fun answering their questions. Go check it out!...

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...

10 Things Vol. 5

10 Things to Think About When Selecting a Medical School Some of you lucky premeds that are applying this year may have multiple acceptances by now, or will have them by the summer. I just wanted to share some things that you should consider when picking which one you ultimately go to. Having gone through the first semester, some things matter more than you think! 1) The city its in! It’s true, you’ll spend a great deal indoors and won’t have the most interaction with the whole city, but even more than what there is to do there- the city matters for demographics too. The city’s population can largely determine what your school puts an emphasis on. My school is largely geared toward preparing us for primary care because of the needs of the region. For me, this was a good thing. So check that out before you pick! 2) Touring the school. You should get a tour of the school with your interview of course, but I also went to a couple recruitment events and those visits were valuable in my considerations too. What is the environment like? Is it bustling and busy in the school? Are the lecture halls comfortable? You can tell a lot about what the school emphasizes by what kind of environment they foster. 3) What the students are like. Do you get along with the students that are there? What do they emphasize about the school when you interact with them? Think about whats important to you, and ask them about the school’s best and worst attributes. They should give you an honest answer....