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...

10 Things Vol. 6

Back to our regularly scheduled program, here is number 6 in the 10 Things series. Now that I have a whole, whopping 1 rotation under my belt I thought I’d share my top ten things I love about seeing patients. Sa far… Hearing and seeing the abnormal- in school we were taught to know what “mom” is. “Mom” is normal. You know everything about “mom”. “Mom” is the way the human body is supposed to be. When something is different with “mom” you immediately know something is wrong. Every exam I practiced on a classmate has been normal and not pathological, but seeing real patients means there is real pathology. I am actually hearing real atrial fibrillation and seeing enlarged adenoids, instead of just reading about it. Their stories- each patient has a complicated story of what got them to that point. Some visits are more simple than others, but no two cases of strep or heartburn are the same. You learn to listen for key words and subtle nuances that lead you to a diagnosis but it isn’t always cut and dry and though its frustrating, its much better than class 8-5. Kids- Pediatrics is still an option for me, but I don’t know if I could see kids all day everyday for the rest of my life. Still, whenever there’s a kid I get to go see, especially for a sick visit, I get really excited because they are so sad and vulnerable. They only want one thing- to feel better and its very gratifying that I get to have a small part in doing just that....

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...