Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day 2809: 2013 in pictures

I returned to my heart (NYC) in March

My sister came to visit in April (here we are at a Brewers game)

Danny's family took me to Disney World in June/after Step 1
Then I went to Canada/Banff/Lake Louise with my family

In July, my friend married her best friend in LA

In October, Danny and I explored buildings in Milwaukee

Also in October, my pal came to visit me and we explored corn mazes,
among other things like jazz concerts and pumpkin-carvings!

I was quite busy in October! I flew to California to hang out with
my cousin and his family, including his adorably grumpy son.

Also in October (I was not kidding about busy-ness), Danny, Alex
and I hung out at Disneyland and ate at Club 33 (yum!)

I worked in rural Wisconsin for my November family medicine rotation.

My parents and my friends' parents all got together for Thanksgiving weekend

My family and I went to Reno for Christmas (for the buffet, not the gambling)

Adios 2013!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 2807: Reflections on 2013

I have talked to several people about my struggle to decide between family medicine or urology and, it's actually been to most of you so, I won't bore you with any of the details. Instead, I will give you the highlights. Can I handle the five-year residency that urology entails? Do I want to be a surgeon? Will urology provide me with the work-life balance I need? Lots of questions, with not many answers. Hopefully I can find some in the next two months before I have to submit my schedule for next year.

Family things have calmed down a bit, but everything isn't "back to normal," whatever normal looks like. I think it will keep taking time, on everyone's part, to find some true peace. Gosh I sound so much more touchy-feely than I mean to. Anyway, my maternal grandmother (Ama) is coming back to the states in February 2014. managed to get some time off to fly back to California to see her so I am super pumped about that. This woman played a huge role in raising me, and I can't wait to see her.

I feel very grateful to have made it more than halfway through my medical schooling. The first two years were a challenge, to say the least. The breadth of knowledge expected of me month after month was exhausting. Preparing for Step 1 was one of the most stress-inducing times of my life. I learned a lot about myself during that period and I am taking that knowledge in to Step 2 CK and CS (my final two board exams in medical school to obtain my MD). The hospital, the clinics, interacting with patients is where I am most comfortable. I work well with others and I like talking to people (do not confuse this with my dislike of people. That is still the case.). I am finally where I need to be to succeed in this hell-hole (only half-kidding) that is med school.

I have a beautiful second family here in Milwaukee courtesy of Danny and his family. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a supportive partner and as supportive a family as his. I am sure that I would not have been able to handle the stress of medical school without his and his family's unending support. Now is the time to hashtag things like #lucky and #blessed.

OH MY GOSH. New calendar years make me so touchy-feely.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 2788: Can I Kick It?

I instruct you to be the obeyer
A rhythm recipe that you'll savor
Doesn't matter if you're minor or major
As promised, a second post in December! Praise be!

Yesterday, Day 2787, I met with the clerkship director of urology. He is an honest man, which is something I appreciate more than a good serving of fries. I went in with my transcript, my Step 1 score, my extracurriculars, and said "Do I have a shot?" (Actually, I wish I said that. I think I actually said "I wanted to meet with you to get an idea of what my chances are of doing urology" or something in that vein.)

He was not terribly impressed. But, he didn't shut me down either (like he has another classmate, per rumor on the street). I have worked (aka shadowed) him before and he seems (shocker) to remember me and (bigger shocker) like me. He said that he would have liked to see more As on my third year transcript (I have more Bs than As thus far (no more twirling Ariels since this post)), but said that if I could do well on my final three rotations (the big, important ones that I get tested on for my next board exams), I should be fine. "Fine" meaning he laid out what I need to do to be considered.
  1. Improve significantly on Step 2 CK.
  2. Get As in the rest of my rotations, including urology.
  3. Do urology research.
  4. Do more urology research.
  5. Do a sub-internship at my med school.
  6. Do an away rotation at a med school of my choosing.
  7. Do more urology research.
It's manageable because I say it is. I shan't let it overpower me. I shall learn to overcome. (I went to church with Danny this past Sunday for funsies, do you think it rubbed off on me at all? :P)

So, at this point, I am working towards applying to a residency in urology. Am I actually going to do urology? Who knows? Worse comes to worse, I realize I can't give up 5+ years of my life and I do all that work to do family medicine (something else I also (equally?) enjoy).

Here I am. Still ruminating. Still wondering if I can kick it. Constantly trying to be still.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Day 2787: Inspirations and Ruminations

My two lovely friends have coincidentally updated their blogs on the same day (today!) inspiring me to do the same. This post has been about two weeks in the making with about twelve solid minutes of writing, here she blows.

Last month/November was my family medicine rotation. I am not sure how much I have talked about my desire to pursue family medicine (it probably got lost in my effervescence about penises urology), but in case I haven't told you, family medicine is on my short-list of careers...right up there with urology.

I had the opportunity to do my rotation in the Northwoods of Wisconsin -- 3.5 hours away from Milwaukee, with only one Asian family in the town where I worked. Surprisingly, everyone was not impressed by my perfect American English or strange almond eyes. Not so surprisingly, everyone was very warm and welcoming. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed working in a small town (of 3,500 people!). I got to do so much. I did every pap smear and pelvic exam on my own. I diagnosed bacterial vaginosis, and treated it no less, on my own. I did my own obstetric prenatal exam. I sutured (7 beautiful sutures) a kid's thumb together. I froze off moles. I injected cortisone into an elderly man's knee. I did a lot. Way more than my classmates did here in Milwaukee.

Even though family medicine is a lot of chronic problems, and people not understanding why they are still obese/a diabetic/have high blood pressure when they don't make positive changes in their life, family medicine is just that. Getting to know a family. In my case, I got to know a 50-year-old daughter and her 80-year-old mother, but that's besides the point. I could reference Joe Blow's mom when Joe Blow came in a week after her for an acute problem. It was really exciting to feel like I knew patients, even though I was only there for three weeks.

It seems the ruminating so far is just expressing how much I enjoyed family medicine and remembering that while I am on my urology rotation. Can you believe it? By 2014, I will hopefully have figured out what the heck I am doing with my life.

I really have so much to tell you all! I think I will stop here and pre-write some stuff to post tomorrow so that I actually have more than blog post for the month of December.

I love you all dearly.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 2752: Good-bye Agong.

Almost one year to the day that my grandmother died, her husband followed her into eternal life. Look. I'm not a terribly religious person. But an attending I worked with this year was a devout Catholic and when his father passed, he had the remembrance card (or whatever it's called) from his memorial and that's what the card said. Entered life = birth date. Entered eternal life = date of death.

Like my grandmother's death, I feel fine. I don't have a lot of emotions about this for a number of reasons. I only saw him a handful of times. We spoke the same language, but I didn't get remotely proficient at Mandarin until he was much too old to converse (due to some health setbacks and general old age). I feel sad that I couldn't have developed a better relationship with him, but I feel sadder that my Dad has lost both his parents in one year. I don't care how old or how sick people become, in the end, these old sick people are your parents and losing parents is awful and gut-wrenching and sad. So incredibly sad.

To more candid times. The last time I saw my grandfather. 2011.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 2748: The end of RPM

Today was my last day on the anesthesiology service. I have a day scheduled at the pain clinic tomorrow, and then I am done with my RPM rotation. It's been quite a whirlwind of crazy early hours, procedures galore (intubations, IVs, masking), and meeting a bunch of really great people. My attending was a bit of a hard-ass but she taught me a lot and I think she liked me so I am hoping for positive evaluations from her and the residents I worked with.

I enjoyed my time on anesthesiology. Procedures galore, but no clinic time whatsoever. I enjoyed clinic from Ob/Gyn so I'm not sure if anesthesia is for me. What I did learn was that anesthesiologists don't just sit around and read magazines, they actually pay attention to vitals (blood pressure, oxygen saturation, end-tidal CO2, etc) to make sure the patient is actually asleep and very very unaware.

I move to rural Wisconsin this weekend for my family medicine rotation. I will be moving 3.5 hours north of Milwaukee to work in a town with a population of 3600 people. Different, much?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 2437: Broke Back Mountain

Meet my patient's spine. This teenager was born with scoliosis and it has gotten so bad that his spine now looks like this. You don't have to be in the medical field to recognize a spine gone awry. This kid actually had a hump (or mountain if you will) in the middle of his back from his malformed spine!

The body is amazing when it's created "correctly" and it is equally amazing (if not infinitely more shocking) when it is created "incorrectly."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 2436: Birthdays and funny stuff?

Happy birthday to my darling Nicki! (Kind of like that Prince song except Nikki is spelled 'ck' rather than 'kk' and by "kind of like" I mean not at all because that song is creepy-trashy.)

So, funny stuff? It has a question mark because after making the mistake of telling my Pathways (vague description in this post (wow! So long ago!)) advisor that I write a blog, he told me to send him the link. I told him it was pretty boring stuff, wouldn't you agree? I just update you on boring stuff. Med school = boring stuff. I'm not even my ever-so-funny self. Well, this is me attempting to be funny so that my advisor has something remotely entertaining to read (if he chooses to even read it. No pressure Mike. I'll only hate you forever if you don't. kloveyou). If I even choose to email him the link, that is.

Anyway, I am blogging to tell you all I am pretty much over anesthesiology. I have to wake up before sunrise to get to these lectures that I only somewhat learn from. Then, I stand around a lot and either get P.I.M.P.ed (Put In My Place questions that make me feel oh-so-valuable) or talked my ear off and I don't really learn much from either. Well, I learn from getting pimped but that's mainly because I am sweating half-a-bucket of sodium-chloride and am reminded at how dumb I am. GEEZ. Welcome to medicine, right?

I am slowly weaning myself off of surgery as a future career (and by surgery, I am referring to urology). As I am coming upon this realization through non-urology rotations, my pathways advisor told me that another doctor we work with has been "telling everyone" I want to do urology. Oh. Crap. Now, I not only have to impress the urology department during my December rotation (that was already on my To Do List), but now I actually have to... you know... impress them.

However, as a bonus, I get to figure out my life by 2014. I will have my family medicine rotation in November. Then urology in December. Then Jessica's life is figured out before 2014 is upon us. Yayyy! :\

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 2433: Weekends of fun

These past two weekends in October have been filled with guests and sightseeing and catching up and general merriment.

Nicki and her man came (back) to Milwaukee!

Corn maze shenanigans.

My first (gigantic!) Halloween pumpkin (EVER)

#TeamJess'Pumpkin -- can you tell what it is?

Enjoying some jazz with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 2422: Psychological Trauma

Okay team. I probably got a high pass/B in Psych. Why, you ask? Because I bombed the Psych Shelf exam.

I don't remember if I have explained this to any of you, but a Shelf is an NBME exam. An NBME exam is the same company/people that wrote my USMLE Step 1/my first (of three) boards I have to take to get my MD.

Okay, definitions out of the way. After getting the lowest possible pass ever on that exam, I panicked. I emailed the rotation coordinator right away and asked her a) did I even pass the exam? b) if they could regrade the exam, because there is no way I could have done that badly. Well, the coordinator was very helpful and assuaged my fears, even if she didn't regrade my exam. The coordinator emailed me a few days later telling me she received my clinical grade and it was an honors/A. Go me. Unfortunately, because I got the lowest possible pass on that exam, my A will probably fall to a B. Poop.

Oh well. This just goes to show you that I really am an awful test-taker. And this isn't a Jess-trying-to-be-humble statement. It's more of matter-of-fact statement.

It also doesn't help that everyone (except me) says that the Psych Shelf is one of the most difficult Shelf exams. Mainly because what we're supposed to know for the exam (i.e., what drugs do you treat someone with generalized anxiety disorder?) are not how things are done clinically. So, even though my classmate told me outright to study all the drugs, I was all questioned out (I did between 400-500 questions in the span of 10 days) and thought I was prepared for the exam. Well. I should have reviewed all the drugs.

Oh well. Now I know. It's pretty clear sailing from here. No more Shelf exams until next semester. I am on RPM (resuscitative and perioperative medicine), which is an anesthesiology, trauma and emergency medicine rotation. I just had my oral trauma exam this morning and it seemed to go okay. ABCDE! Airway! Breathing! Circulation! Disability! Exposure!

Okay, enough shouting. Talk to you all soon. I have a very exciting October ahead, filled with lots of friends and family visits! Yahoo! :D

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 2417: Insanity

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This is how I feel today. My iPhone was apparently no where near ready to be updated to iOS 7. As a result. I lost EVERYTHING. Don't get me wrong. I am an IDIOT. I synced my computer (not a backup). But then it resynced and I lost the last sync with all my photos, texts, etc.

This post is going to look extremely random, no linear thought. I AM LOSING MY MIND. I have tried backing up my old iPhone from a Time Machine backup (which, for those of you that don't have a back, this all just sounds like gibberish). But my iTunes keeps losing it's mind and resyncing and basically screwing me over.

You know the most pitiful part? I don't think I care all that much about the lost texts or lost pictures (especially because I just backed up all my photos before I updated iOS). I lost all my Nike Training Club minutes! 2000+! I lost all the fun bonus workouts that come with said minutes. And you better believe my new schedule doesn't allow me to get those 2000+ minutes back quickly!

Okay. Done ranting and raving. Hopefully I won't have to bang my head against a wall repeatedly in the near future. Hopefully.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 2409: What a day.

Today, I interviewed applicants for my medical school. That was in the afternoon. While trying to come up with questions to ask and figure out how I wanted these interviews to go, I was feeling a bit blah about going in to my psych rotation that day. My attending was gone for a conference and I was basically following people around like a puppy for the past few days. However, while working with a bit of a terse, no-nonsense attending (who sassed me and made me feel like an idiot...on psych of all things), I had the opportunity to sit in on a family session...which everyone but the patient knew was going to be an intervention.

Have you ever seen that show, "Intervention"? I haven't. After telling people what I sat in (which I will tell you about in one precious moment), apparently, what I experienced was just like the show. So what happened? I was sitting in with a heroin addict and his family, and what transpired was this...each family member read this beautiful, touching, heartfelt letters to their addict family member. "This is to my younger sibling, who I built forts with as a child, not the monster called addiction who has taken my sibling from me." Things like this. And then more. All beautiful. All from the heart. All so personal. And all heartbreaking. All I could think was, what am I doing here??? I felt like I was intruding on something so important and life-altering and moving and..wow. What a way to end the week.

Then, I had to interview 4 applicants in the afternoon. I am a person, as you all know, ready to crush dreams and, surprisingly, I liked 3 out of the 4 applicants. I ended up accepting all 4 of them because my interviewing partner (an MD or PhD) was really wowed by this blah-applicant's academic credentials. To be honest, I wasn't all that impressed with this applicant as a person. I didn't think s/he would be a huge asset to the school. S/He could have gone anywhere and been perfectly plain at whatever school s/he went to, you know?

All in all, it was a pretty exciting day. Intervention, check. Fulfilling dreams, check. I can't say it enough but third year is 85 million times better than my first two years of med school.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 2407: Track Liaison

As I mentioned in this previous post, I was voted to be the liaison for my clinical track. All that means is, if there is any complaint or praise for a particular rotation, I will be the person to report it to the chair. The chair then contacts clerkship directors with the feedback.

Did I forget to mention I am also the chair? Whoops. It happened rather haphazardly but there it is. I'm the chair of something. (Ruh-roh Raggy, am I right? Me. In charge of something. Run for the hills, people.)

Anyway, our first meeting was brief (which everyone appreciated) and organized (so I was told). It took me about an hour or two to get all the comments together and forward them to clerkship directors. But now I am reeling in the aftermath of 8 emails. People want to meet with me. They want more explanations concerning the feedback. They want to, God forbid, talk.

I'm just being a melodramaphobe. It's nice to feel like I'm helping and contributing and other related words. I just didn't realize it actually took time out of my already-super-not-busy-life ;)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 2405: My first grade of the year!

Okay. It's time for some honesty here Team Jess. Today, I received my first grade of my third year. And. It was good. So good, that I didn't even know what the letter meant when I received it (because apparently that's how little I do well in med school haha).

Background: My med school doesn't give As, Bs, or Cs. It gives Honors, High Pass, Pass. (So the same thing essentially.)

This is what I saw this afternoon:

What does this mean? Honors! High pass! THEY BOTH START WITH H!!! (Wheels turn in my brain. Wheels still turning. ...still turning (I am actually this slow people)) I THINK THIS IS AN HONORS!!! (back flip, forward flip, and now I am suddenly Ariel from Little Mermaid twirling through the ocean)

Then, four hours later, while texting a classmate, he informed me that they actually break down the grade for us. And, all you, my pretties, have to know is that I was on the low end of honors but I am pretty sure an honors is still an honors! Suckers!

In addition, we also got feedback. Here was mine:
Jessica was very self directed and was an obvious leader among her classmates. She always made herself available to see patients, participate in deliveries and surgeries. She demonstrated an increase in her knowledge base throughout the clerkship. She sought feedback and, importantly, listened to the feedback. Her questions reflected good insight into the topics at hand.

Very pleasant, enthusiastic, hard working smart student.
Look here Team Jess. I like myself. I think I'm pretty a-okay. Would I call myself a leader? Uh, no. I just ask questions that no one else wants to ask, because for lack of a better way to describe it, I don't really care how it reflects on me. Which makes me sound all James-Dean-too-cool-for-school, but all it really means is I don't care if I look dumb. My Dad told me this when I was in high school and it has always stuck with me. "Don't ever feel afraid to ask questions. How else are you going to learn things?" So. Here I am. On my clinical rotations, asking (probably dumb) questions, but how else am I going to learn? Apparently asking (dumb) questions is a pro on the clerkships.

Starting off the year strong! It's nice to know that what I was doing was (kind of/essentially) working. I have been so freaked out this past month because, at this point, I have gone through two clerkships and, until today, received zero grades. I could be passing or I could be honoring and not know it! I need to be getting honors, people! Luckily this fear has led me to study way more for my current psych clerkship (whose exam I heard is very nitpicky so I will be all ready in two weeks for those pesky details) and hopefully will motivate me to do well in all my future clerkships.

I have more stuff to blog about so look for it in the near future! Until then, friends ...yay me! ;)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 2402: Lunch with my attending

Things that are fantastic:
  • Having your attending take you out to lunch to thank you for your work and just shoot the sh!t
  • Talking about things you find interesting (race relations, racism in the US, international medical students/doctors, different cultures)
  • Feeling like you've learned more about other people (colleagues and superiors alike)
I had a really rewarding lunch with my child psychiatry attending and child psychiatry fellow today. We ate crappy Chinese food, which put me in to a food coma later that day, but we got to talk about a lot of interesting things (see bullet points above).

I don't know if I've said it yet but I am really enjoying my clinical years of learning thus far. It's been wonderful to interact with different people everyday. It's been gratifying to feel like I am actually learning something, little by little, day by day. And, it's really splendid to feel like you have helped (and not hindered) your superiors.

A win for child psychiatry.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 2401: On psychosis

While on the phone with a dear pal of mine today, I had an interesting thought on psychiatry. Well, two interesting thoughts.

1) I may not want to do psychiatry, but seeing it has pushed me more toward a possible career in family medicine.

2) Psychosis is one of the most rewarding ailments to treat in psychiatry. I currently have two psychotic patients on my child/adolescent psych service. One is purely psychotic, which doesn't bode well for her future as an adult. She sees things that aren't there, hears voices that no one else hears and is quite paranoid. My second patient had something resembling a first-psychotic break. It may have been substance-induced, but boy was it a doozy of a psychotic episode. Hearing things. Seeing things. "Flipping out," as the patient put it. BUT. When you give these psychotic patients the proper dose of the proper medicine, it is amazing to see how quickly these patients improve. Kid #1 is showing very slow improvement each day, but improvement nonetheless. Kid #2 is looking really good and will most likely go on to lead a fairly normal life.

Psychiatry isn't all mumbo-jumbo and talking about feelings. It's a pretty fine art to differentiate between depression or a medical condition causing depression (like hypothyroidism) and other things of that nature. Psychiatry isn't for me, but it has been an interesting rotation to be a part of.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 2400: On child psychiatry

As if learning embryology and going through my ob/gyn rotation wasn't enough, my two-week stint on child psychiatry is showing me that making normal humans is tough noogies. On top being freaked out your baby will be deformed or mentally underdeveloped or any number of things that can happen in utero, you have to hope and pray that your baby is normal, whatever that means. I have seen kids as young as 4 on my in-patient floor and kids of varying ages in day treatment. I have teenagers on my in-patient floor who have strong suicidal thoughts, straight up psychosis (audio and visual hallucinations) and a lot of aggression and ADHD.

Seeing these kids...I'm happy to know they are getting help but it's a little intense to see a 7-year-old on 4 medications! Honestly, seeing these kids freaks me out about having children. I want some (probably, eventually) but the fact you have to try to keep them sane and normal for their entire lives is a little overwhelming, wouldn't you agree?

All in all, I have learned a decent amount. I am getting bombarded daily with psych meds, which is good to refresh what I learned last year in pharmacology. Apparently, you can use clonidine (which is typically used to treat hypertension) to treat hyperactivity and impulsivity in kids with ADHD. Huh. Whodda thunk?

I really am going to try to post more regularly. I have more time to write, but I'm actually living life a little and socializing so that has taken away some of my motivation and drive to post. My posts are so boring most of the time anyway. But I digress. Here's hoping there are more posts! With pictures at some point too!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 2385: On to the next one.

Neurology has come and gone. The rotation here is...not the best. You round forever. From 8:30am until whenever all the patients are covered. I was very lucky to have attendings that were excellent teachers and very eager to do so. Nevertheless, the rounding was long, the time on my feet was long, and the amount of neurology I learned didn't nearly correlate to the amount of time I was on my feet. But. It's over. I learned a lot about stroke, which is near and dear to my heart given that my grandfather died of a stroke when I was six years old.

My neuro exam today was fine. Aren't all my exams fine? I have decided I am an exceptionally average test-taker so I am sure I scored average-ly on this exam. On to the next one, as the post title suggests!

What is my next rotation? Psych. I, not so jokingly, hope I get attacked on this rotation. I do not foresee my career heading towards psychiatry, so, like my past two rotations, I hope to get as much out of this month as possible. And that means getting all the crazies in front of me!

Let's see if I blog again before this month ends. Who knew it was easier to blog about studying and books than actual clinical learning?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 2370: With clinical learning comes less blog posts...


Okay, so this is going to be short and sweet. My Ob/Gyn rotation ended on Saturday, with my final 24-hour-call shift. It was nice to end it with the second-year resident I did my first call with.

Let's see...I have my Shelf exam (basically a test given by the same company/organization that created my Step 1/boards exam) tomorrow morning. Then, my classmates and I (whom I love and adore; I realize now how lucky we seven were to really like each other and get along!) are heading out to Lake Michigan to hang out on one of our classmate's dad's 30-foot fishing boat!

Memories from Ob/Gyn:
  • I delivered a heroin baby in late July. The mother used heroin and cocaine throughout the pregnancy and her beautiful baby girl was delivered in our hospital. (Un?)Fortunately, the mother left her baby in the hospital and our hospital social workers got involved to get that sweet baby girl the home she deserves.
  • My first c-section was for twins! At 26 weeks! (14 weeks before term, eep!) The mom was super sweet and those babies are slowly but surely getting bigger and better every day.
  • I actually really enjoyed working with most of the Ob/Gyn residents. You hear the horror stories about these residents being b!tches and it was nice to see that that is just a fallacy. Or at least wasn't true on my rotation.
  • I think surgery really bores me. I don't feel the desperate need to cut as other more surgery-friendly people do. I really enjoy procedures -- suturing, etc -- and maybe I like laparoscopy but I haven't seen enough laparoscopic procedures to know. I think this lack of love for surgery may slowly, but surely, close my urology door. We'll see though.
So, Shelf tomorrow then Neuro/Psych rotation on Wednesday. The learning never ends!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 2341: So much to talk about!

Hi hi,

I know. I know. It's been 16 days. With a life outside of school (sort of), you would think I would blog more, but there's actually very little time in the day once I get out of the hospital (again, sort of). Okay. Here are updates in my favorite form, bullets.
  • I am on Ob/Gyn for 4 more weeks. I am on gynecology for the first three, and obstetrics for the last three. I have seen a few surgeries and many many return obstetrics patients in clinic. Also. I took call (call = 24 hour shift, 7am-7am) the first night ever (July 3rd) and I delivered a baby. NBD (no big deal). Except it was a giant deal. To answer everyone's burning questions...1) No, I didn't drop it. 2) No, the mom didn't poop on me.
  • Boards scores are out. I passed! I got a lower score than I would have preferred, but it was probably the score I deserved. There are so many things I would do over about that exam, but I passed and I am just fine for family med and on the low (low) side for urology. Everything happens as it happens so whatever I will be, will be whatever I will be. (There was a lot of repetition in that, hope it made sense!)
Huh. I guess I didn't have that much to talk about, haha. I thought I did. Oh well. I should post pictures again soon, hey? These text posts are bo-ring.

Okay, if/when exciting things happen, I will let you all know!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 2325: Reflecting on orientation

Aren't you all so lucky? Three posts in three days!

Anyhoo, orientation ended yesterday and, to be honest, good riddance. It was a bit tedious and from speaking with M4s, it is essentially useless on the wards (medical-speak for hospitals). Nevertheless, it was nice to see my classmates before we are all unleashed onto our respective rotations. We won't be seeing each other for a long time, unless we (aka I) make the active effort to see each other. I will. I want to have friends (again).

In spite of my ennui (thank you thesaurus.com for providing me with a new SAT word to add to my vocabulary!), I have a few pearls to share from my time at orientation.
  1. I made the mistake of speaking up to inform a physician that my school does, in fact, have a student professionalism committee. He then asked me, in front of the entire auditorium, to tell us more about it. I don't mind speaking publicly, but I wasn't expecting it and I have a cold sore (thanks stress from Canada!) and I felt like everyone was staring at it when I was speaking (from my seat, not even from the front!). The physician thanked me and that was that...so I thought. Dr. T came up to me after his presentation and introduced himself to me personally. He asked if I would speak with one of the deans (who deals primarily with the curriculum) about the student professionalism committee and, basically, talk until he talked back haha. Overall, I am happy with how everything went down (despite how many eyes got to pore over my god-awful cold sore) because meeting more up-and-ups is my best shot at getting into urology at this point.
  2. I was re-certified in CPR, which is great because I'm sure someone will actually expect me to know what I'm doing, haha.
  3. I got my pager! Hello junior medical student status in the hospital! Goodbye life!
Just for everyone's knowledge, so that you may text me any icky questions you may have, my first service is gynecology for the next three weeks. Then obstetrics where I get the joy of having surgical hours -- goodbye my precious sleep, how I will miss thee.

Can you believe it? In just two days, I will be in the hospital! Actually expected to know something and possibly take care of people! That's unnecessarily frightening!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 2324: Banff

This is essentially a continuation of my previous post.

After Disney World, I returned to Milwaukee on a Sunday, only to leave on Wednesday (at 5:20am) for Calgary, Alberta, Canada! If any of you followed the news in the past two weeks, you will know that Alberta had floods and there were states of emergencies called throughout the province. My family and I arrived safely in Calgary (and then drove to Banff National Park) on Wednesday June 19, only to have flooding begin that night. We were then stuck in Banff for the duration of our trip. This was our itinerary. See our new itinerary in red.
  • Wednesday: Arrive in Calgary. Drive to Banff. We successfully completed this.
  • Thursday: Explore Banff, head to Lake Louise. Stay in Lake Louise. We had already checked out of our hotel when we were told all the highways out of Banff were closed. So, like many other visitors, we scrambled to find a hotel to sleep that night. We found one, luckily. We explored Banff more thoroughly. It has a small, cute, shop-filled downtown that spans about six blocks. As you can imagine, my sister and I were done with downtown by that evening, haha.
  • Friday: Drive on to Jasper and explore the Ice Fields. Sleep in Jasper. Another day in Banff. Our hotel has a fitness center, complete with an indoor track, so, what else was I going to do? I ran 50 laps on that tiny little track, which amounted to 5km or 3.2ish miles. Not bad, since I hadn't run in at least a week. The sun came out at 5pm and you better believe the family and I booked it to Lake Louise. It was truly a sight to see. Apparently, when you actually have sun, it doesn't set until 9:45pm! Crazy!
  • Saturday: Explore whatever we wanted (Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff). Return to the Calgary area. We found out that a bus was leaving Banff for Calgary. It was taking the long route (aka the only highways that were open and available to us), making a normally 75-mile journey in to a 475-mile journey. It was a 10+ hour bus ride, but we made it to Calgary!
  • Sunday: Hang out in Calgary until our late-afternoon/evening flights to the states. Downtown Calgary was closed indefinitely due to flooding. A lot of the city and the surrounding cities/towns were closed due to flooding and/or states of emergencies. So, we ended up staying in our hotel until it was time to check-in. Then, we all parted rather abruptly since we were all on separate flights (in separate terminals).
All in all, it was great to see my sister and have some bonding time with her. As you can imagine, the trip was an adventure to say the least. If anything, it reminded my mother and I what a bearer of disaster I am. Don't believe me? 1994: earthquake in Northridge, CA. 1998: typhoon in Taiwan. 2003: blackout while visiting colleges in New York/the East Coast. 2013: flooding in Alberta. I am just missing a hurricane and tornado. Don't worry, I have a lot more life to live to get those babies on my list. (No tsunamis for me, thank you.)

Pictures below:

Our first day in Banff. Should have foreseen the impending doom.

Met this chum at a yummy Canadian restaurant called Earl's.

A Canadian sheriff informing us that all highways out of Banff are closed.

The view from our new/second hotel in Banff.

Blue skies! Honestly. I can't imagine how even more beautiful
Banff would have been if it had been sunny on our trip.

The Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise

Lake Louise

A black bear seen on our 10+ hour drive to Banff.

Followed by a family of mountain goats! So adorable!

The rain and flooding was so bad that mudslides, rockslides,
and rising rivers caused part of this bridge to collapse.

Can you see how high the water is?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 2323: I'm back!

Hello everyone!

Firstly, thank you all for being so patient, supportive and wonderful about this time away from the blog. I'm sure you were all itching for a post, and here it is. In all it's glory.

What I'm sure you are all wondering, if we haven't already spoken/texted/communicated, is that the exam was fine. It felt a lot like the question bank I had been doing, and in that regard, that was nice. There was familiarity. Otherwise, it sounds like whether you barely scrape by with a pass or get a rockstar-score, everyone feels like the exam was a complete sh!t-show, pardon my French. So. My exam score comes back in the next few weeks and I will let you know how it pans out for me. (Depending on the score I get, if it's competitive enough, I will still pursue urology. If it isn't very strong, I will enter family medicine and be 100% happy and confident in that decision.)

Anyway, enough snoozefest boards stuff. I am positive you are all bored out of your mind of my "I'm so stressed" "boo hoo Jess" blah blah blah. Me too.

Disney World was a ton of fun! Danny had come to the conclusion after Day 1 (of 4) that this was going to be a very different trip to Disney. Normally, he puts the pedal to the metal and wears himself out from a 12+ hour day, every day. With his parents getting older, and me having an "oh yeah sure, whatever you want" attitude, I think he realized that he wasn't going to hit everything he wanted and he was okay with that. We still had an awesome, fun, hot-and-humid time! Danny's parents were unbelievably generous on this trip. Not only did they pay for my flight and lodging, they paid for my food and even bought me some stuff (a rash guard and new swimsuit, both on sale!) just because they wanted to. I was incredibly humbled by their kindness.

Don't think I forgot how lame text blog posts are. Here are some pictorial manifestations of Disney!

I painted these Donald Duck nails the day of our flight.

The iconic Disney castle.

I painted these shirts for us!

I couldn't leave Danny's parents in the customized-shirts cold!

Our first Splash Mountain picture.

The rebel spy!

Our second Splash Mountain picture. The photo attendant
actually laughed when he saw it. Probably because my face of
sheer terror (all acted, by the way) was amusing as hell.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 2291: A good reminder


This is the shortest update to tell you I am alive (barely) and I had to see my CCT patient today. Long story (or rather, nonexistent story) short, the doctor to whom I presented my case to said to both the patient and myself that I was "a wonderful doctor." He even took the time out to ask me about myself (where I went to undergrad, what specialty I'm interested in), which was really heartening.

Okay. Off to (re)learn more and stuff this brain full!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 2279: The end. Wow.

Hey there team.

I am proud to tell you all I have completed my second year of medical school. Can you believe it?! It doesn't have nearly all the fanfare that last year's completion did, but that's probably because this year wasn't as much of a struggle as last year. I learned a lot about myself, personally and academically, in my first year of medical school and I think I was able to use that to my benefit this year. Pathology and microbiology and pharmacology have all come and gone and I'm still standing. Way to go, me.

With that, I leave you with some pictures from my last day of relaxation before it's boardsboardsboardsboardsboardsboardsboardsboards.

Danny treated me to a yummy Sobelman's burger
and "bloody masterpiece" for my M2 year coming to an end!

A butterfly in the Puelicher Butterfly Wing at the
Milwaukee Public Museum (free on Mondays for residents!)

An awesome wall of African art/woodwork at the MPM.

Having crazy beetle adventures with Danny at MPM

I have a lot of great things planned post-boards -- Danny and his family are so kind and wonderful and they are taking me to Disney World! I feel like after taking the most important exam of my life, it really will feel like the Super Bowl so you better believe I will walk out of that testing center saying "I'm going to Disney World!"

 Animated Gif on Giphy

After Disney, my family and I will be going to Canada! Banff National Park to be exact. My Mom has always wanted to go and I think it'll be a great time to bond with my mother and sister.

And then I come back for orientation in late June and rotations begin July 1st! This is really happening people. I'm finally going to be in the clinic, where I belong! I can't wait!

I'll talk to you all in June or July!

All my x's and o's!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Day 2270: Sick, dying, and thank you

Hey all,

The quickest post to tell you I am sick. For the third time this year! Apparently it's true, when you are stressed out, you get sick much faster. I am never ever sick. And now I am on icky-feeling-number-three for the year 2013.

I am dying of stress. Not my sickness. My whatever-this-is involves a lot of clogged noses and nose-blowing and somewhat phlegm-y feeling throat. My cumulative final for pathology is on May 9th (!!!) and then my final exam of microbiology is on May 13th. Luckily micro is not cumulative, but still. I'm not terribly stressed about either exam, so much as busy going over the material (the previous seven blocks of path) and learning the new stuff (dermatology, breast, thyroid, etc). The true stress comes from the fact that my board exams are a little more than 5 or 6 weeks away! I'm still on the fence about moving my test date up, but everyone and their mother's brother's niece's dog says that I will either burn out by my current test date (June 17th) or stress myself out so much in that time (aka Jessica will become bald like Homer Simpson -- with three lone strands of hair left), so we'll see.

How sad is my life? I am straight-up excited for finals to be over, not because I have finished another somewhat-hellish year and am heading in to the hospital (!!), but rather my excitement is due to the fact that I can finally dedicate my desired 10-12 hours a day of solely boards studying. Very sad Jessica. Pitiful actually.

Thank you all for your texts and care packages (BEL-C)! I feel so lucky to have people who love and care about me so much. Especially when I have essentially turned my back on everyone to get through the last 5 weeks of pure hell. Thank you. From the bottom of my cold, dead heart. My heart will beat again soon and I will be the friend each of you so deserve.

There might be radio silence until then so I wanted to end it on a positive note. Honestly and truly. Thank you all.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 2260: Ups and Downs

My weekend with my sister was glorious -- exactly what I needed, family time. However, the entire time my sister was here, I was stressed out beyond belief; thinking about all the things I should be or could be studying. Nevertheless, we had a helluva time and I love my sister to the moon and back. There are pictures below of our outings. What you don't see is a ton of eating my sister I did -- Cafe Centraal with Danny's family, a yumtastic breakfast/brunch at Danny's parents' home, Milwaukee Public Market -- the whole shebang.

My sister and I at a Brewers game!

My sister and I at Miller Brewery, getting ready for a tour!

Yesterday, Tuesday, was a sh!t-show. I was at school from 8:30am to 11pm, with probably an hour max of relaxation/hanging out on the internet/whatever, and I was so stressed about boards and finals and life that I cried twice (from sheer stress and panic) and called Danny to tell him I probably wouldn't be able to go on vacation with his family this summer (because I was so stressed out about boards). And then, to top it all off, I lost this earring that I just bought for my sister and I as a fun little sister-studs-thing. Sigh. What a bunch of crappy things at once, hey?

Today, I gave a little presentation at our class meeting regarding professional attire. It was (surprisingly) well received by students and staff and, if you have any interest in watching, I included the video below. If you have anything to say about the video, please comment below! I'd love to hear what you thought (good and bad).

All in all, it was a really nice start to the day given how craptastic yesterday (Tuesday) was. Oh. I also got my new iPad 4 (it's for clinic, not for fun...but I'll be using it for fun :P). My iPad 2 will be given to my parents/family in Taiwan so they can FaceTime.

As you can see, it's been a very up-and-down week. Off to study pathology (and everything else, sigh). See ya later alligator!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Day 2255: Extracurriculars galore

As Danny pointed out, apparently, I manage to do things without realizing I'm doing them. What I mean is. I am stressed. Beyond belief. This exam is so incredibly important and all I want is to load my brain up to the matrix and upload all the information I need to annihilate this exam. Instead, I am building my coffee addiction to avoid napping so that I can push through and learn.

Anyway, what was the point of this post? As you can see, I'm losing my mind. Oh yes. So, I ran for three positions on Student Assembly/school stuff and won two! Wowza, I know. I didn't think I would win, much less have people congratulate me (either in person or via text/email). The positions I will be holding next year are: Admissions Committee Representative (for my class) and track liaison. Admissions Committee is talking about and discussing admissions stuff with deans and whatnot. Track liaison is representing the sixteen other people in my rotations track to discuss any issues we have (with clerkship directors, residents, too many hours, etc) with deans.

I'm also doing a clinical continuity thing I told you all about in this post. So, I will be the primary caregiver of a patient with long-term medical issues. I'll be meeting my patient tomorrow morning for the first time.

I think that's it? I'm still going to do the politics/WMS thing for continuity's sake. And maybe the resolutions will be more interesting next year. And, I will most likely be interviewing med school applicants next year. Anything else? No. Oh yes. I will be doing some urology research next year to boost my urology application for the year after that. Oh. And I was on a committee this year to review student organizations to make sure they were following the guidelines to actually be an organization.

Dear sweet baby Jesus. Typing out what I'm doing makes me a) seem like I do more than I really do and b) is actually exhausting to think about.

My brain hurts.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 2254: Madison, practice boards and life

Hello everyone!

I am taking a little break from my sleepless life to tell you about said sleeplessness, ha.

My only picture of the Capitol.

This past weekend, I was in Madison for the Wisconsin Medical Society. And I have to tell you. Politics leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. During the "ref comms" (reference committees), I was surprised to see that physicians didn't use facts or experiences to determine why they, personally, disagreed with certain resolutions but it actually came down to "I don't want to do this, so I won't." I wasn't terribly passionate about anything (when am I passionate about anything that isn't enhancing my wardrobe?) but there was one resolution I cared about -- death with dignity. A female ENT (ear, nose, throat) physician has been trying for years to get a physician-assisted suicide resolution, similar to the one in Oregon, passed here in Wisconsin. I don't get what the fuss is about. Physicians are concerned about the possible avenues this could lead to (depressed people asking for fatal doses of drugs, etc) but I feel that since we never asked to be brought in to this world, the least we could provide ourselves is a way to leave it. And if it could be a little less painful and dramatic than a handful of whatever pills you can find or, worse, a gun to the head, I think we as physicians should be able to provide people with terminal, fatal illnesses that option. Do any of you have opinions you would like to share on death with dignity/physician-assisted suicide? Disagreements are welcome!

There was a Pokemon convention below our medical one.
Obviously I enjoyed this one wayyyy more.

Okay. Politics done. Yesterday, Wednesday April 17th, I took a four-hour practice Step 1/boards exam. It was fine. We don't get our scores for a few weeks so it's hard to gauge how it was. Some of the questions were more direct than I have seen (which is good), but it was still a lot of "dammit. I have seen this before and have narrowed down the choices but still don't know which one is right!" So, we'll see. I am shooting for passing (180) but at least a 200. (The national average is 225 and I will be getting a 240 to be able to coast into urology.)

Life. I went to a SF Giants versus Milwaukee Brewers game last night with some classmates to unwind from the four-hour exam. The Giants lost at the bottom of the 9th and everyone around me was surprisingly gracious about their loss. They were pumped the Brewers won, of course, but they did say "Sorry about your Giants" which was nice. They meaning everyone except Danny haha.

Let's go Giants!

Homemade Giants fan (my scarf made me way too hot so I made
it in to a turban, haha).

Our view from the field. Brewers player Aoki on the bottom left,
and Giants player Pence on the bottom right.

Consolation fries and custard at Kopp's after the game.

My sister comes to visit tomorrow/Friday! I couldn't be more excited to see family. I love my sister to pieces of death and GAH! Can't wait! She is, of course, the best sister on the planet and said "you know you have to study while I'm there right?" What a thoughtful one she is!

Okay, I'm going to listen to a few more boards-prep lectures and then shadow a urologist (my last time this year before finals/boards/rotations!). Then, more boards-prep and then I have to head to DSW to buy a pair of shoes for Sandy's wedding in July! So much to do!