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...

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...
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,...

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...

Bedtime Routines

This weekend was busy busy! I got a lot done. I painted my bookshelves for my study room and did a couple more DIY projects and finished up some loose ends. I’m still working on recapping my trip. I had some shopping to do today and it was as I was buying a large container of body wash that I realized…I will be using this body wash WHEN I’M IN MEDICAL SCHOOL. This will be the body wash I will use when I start medical school. 37 days until orientation begins. That is crazy stuff right there. I’m getting all my ducks in a row. I’ve been budgeting, I bought a backpack, throwing bunches of stuff away, etc. One thing I’ve been focusing on that I don’t usually do is taking extra care of myself. I usually don’t have a high maintenance beauty routine in the morning- I usually forego full-on make up and just use mascara. And other than being a night shower-er, I don’t have much of a night routine either. When I was little, I used to watch my mom get ready for bed. Sometimes I got bored so I climbed the bathroom door frame. I also specifically remember sitting on her bathroom counter, taking “shots” of water straight out of the second vanity faucet in a paper dixie cup with a Lion King print. Then, I’d jump off the counter and jump up and down and listen to the water slosh in my belly. My mom would take off her makeup, wash her face, remove the residual makeup again, apply six different night creams and then...