Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 2204: Autopsies, keys and paperwork

Hello everyone.

Monday morning I was called at 7:10am to view an autopsy at the Milwaukee Medical Examiner's office. Of course, of course, I was a complete wreck that morning. I didn't have my school things packed. I didn't have a lunch prepared. I had no idea what I was going to wear (what? A girl has to plan for the cold!). I finally get out the door at 7:52am (I have to be there at 8:15am) only to have to run back in to the apartment for something. Well, in all of my hustle and bustle, I forgot my respirator! Luckily they only sort-of berated me and let me stay to watch the autopsy.

Well, the autopsy was fantastic. There were four cases (a slow Monday). One possible homicide and three "regular" deaths. The one ("regular" death) we watched was of a fellow who died in his bath tub. The autopsy was crazy! It took me an entire semester to chop up (pardon the crassness) a cadaver. These docs did it in 45 minutes or less. And the precision with which they do everything, impressive. What this autopsy showed me was that people have no idea what is going on in their bodies. My bath tub guy had diabetes so his kidneys had shrunk to about half their normal size. He also had a brain tumor! And clear signs of fat/plaques in his arteries! As a classmate of mine put it, how are these people still alive?

Additionally, the doctor/pathologist/medical examiner was high-larious. This is for all my friends/readers in the know. When describing the tools medical examiners use...
...these are the best tools to have. Since we're at the far end of the surgical universe, it feels a little bit like "Firefly" and we have to make do.
How great is that? :)

Here's the kicker to my insane week thus far. In my tizzy of running back and forth from my apartment on Monday, I misplaced my house key! Thank goodness the snow storm hit yesterday (oh, did I forget to tell you there was a snow storm? It's about...10? inches. I'm not sure.) and she went home early instead of socializing with her best friend. I could have been stuck at school until midnight! Luckily I found my key this morning, rather happenstancely. It was in the scrubs I wore to the autopsy. I checked them just in case and my key fell out of the pocket on to my hardwood floor. Clank!

Anyway, my clinical exam and reasoning (CER) class has really been pulling it's punches. Lots of required attendance and prep work and fake/standardized interviews and paperwork! We never have paperwork! I had to make a differential diagnosis sheet and write up the case. I'm not complaining because it was difficult. I'm complaining because I could be studying for next Wednesday's microbiology exam.

Sigh. Such is my life. Stress study stress study. Rinse. Repeat.

Until next time!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 2200: Promised pictures

A snapshot of 2013 so far...

This was February 7th, just two weeks ago!

I glitterized some loafers I had.



...of studying.

Alex sent me the sweetest care package! (1 of 2 apparently!)

I needed a big change so I made Danny cut off all my hair.

To which I now look like this.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 2198: Exam results & urology shadowing

Hey there.

Psych on Tuesday was somewhat of a complete hydrogen bomb of badness. I went in, made a bunch of educated guesses, and when my score popped up after the exam, I swear to you, I had to hold in a yelp of disbelief. I have no idea where I went so wrong. ...let me back up. I only studied the 7 lectures of psych on Monday since I had more important things to study for (neuro pathology on Wednesday). So, my grade is completely justified. However, that score stressed me out beyond belief. It also pissed me off to no end. Therefore, I used those two emotions to study my butt off for neuro-path the next day.

The next day, Wednesday, 9 am, neuro-path. For those of you that have memories like elephants, neuroscience was a subject I took last spring semester (aka this time last year). I failed my first exam. It was pretty debilitating and it was probably the umpteenth time my sister/mother heard me bawl on the phone about my apparent lack of intelligence and self-defeating doubt concerning my place in medical school. Well, I got my act extremely together that semester and ended neuroscience with a solid pass. Back to pathology, that test was a mind-swirl. I was between 2-3 answers (out of 5) on about 15 questions. I thought it out, wrote a bunch of stuff out and made educated guesses. Since we all saw how well that turned out on psych the previous day, you can imagine my stress levels going through the roof. Well, I got a 92 on that exam.

I should be cheering. Instead, I am blogging, trying to figure out why I can't revel in that obvious win. Did psych really screw with my mind that bad that I can't even believe in my abilities? I have been so screwed up the past few weeks. Family life is stressful. (Apparently both of my parents think all I do is nothing but have tons of fun, and they chastize me for it. If only I could physically demonstrate and properly verbalize the amount I study/my stress levels to them. Then maybe they would leave me the hell alone, or I don't know, believe in me.) My sister is the only sane one left. I am constantly, overwhelmingly stressed out by the prospect of boards every waking second. I have a lot on my mind all the time and I have a lot of negative energy and bad ju-ju I need to let go of. I want to do urology so bad. I have never wanted anything more in my entire life.

Speaking of urology, I shadowed the residency director here at school after my exam and it was jaw-droppingly amazing. He created a new bladder. Ta-da! The patient had bladder cancer so the cancer doc took out the bladder, and the urology doc created a new one from the small intestine. Then he inserted the ureters and urethra and ta-da, a new bladder was born. It felt a lot of sewing/seamstress-ing which we all know I do a lot of. It was so freaking cool. I nearly fell off my step-stool at how much fun it was, and I was only watching. Can you tell I am in love with this specialty? (I know, I know, I owe you all a "why urology?" post. Coming soon. I promise/hope.)

Hopefully this post compensates for my utter lack of posting in February thus far. I keep promising pictures, but I truly promise that my next post will be pictures. There is nothing I hate more than broken promises.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 2191: S.A.D.

S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am convinced that I have this. On cloudy days, I lose my mind. I fall asleep at my desk, usually with my mouth wide open and the hint of drool making it's way out of my mouth. I can't focus. I get in to this really crappy funk that forces me to be mad at everyone close to me, Danny, my closest friend(s) at school, the whole universe basically.

I made the decision today that I must not stay at home on days like this. I will go to school and flourish under the fluorescent lights because I do not have time like this to kill. My take-home micro quiz is tomorrow and I plan on being well-rested tomorrow and infinitely more prepared for whatever comes my way (autopsy, micro, pathology, whatever).

It's been a really off week in my personal life. I need these next few days to reinvigorate myself in every possible way -- academically, personally, physically, mentally.

Day 2191: A few updates

Okay, it's official people. I love people's junk (aka genitalia). I think urology is really for me. What I'm loving about it is the interesting cases, the (surgical) procedures and the fact that all the doctors I have met in the urology program here at my med school (from residents to attendings) are all truly fantastic people.

What else? My new microbiology course is awful. The professors are terrible and dry, the material is all letters and numbers. IL-2, IL-17, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma, etc etc. I remember seeing some of these words, if one can call them that, a million years ago when I did neurosurgery research back at Stanford. This class is going to be a huge pain in my ass. However, the silver lining to this dark dark cloud is that there is no cumulative final! Let us all praise Jesus and jump for joy!

Oh. I guess I should wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. I don't really like the sentiment of this day, for a number of reasons, but I do believe it is important to express love and gratitude to all six of my readers because it means you care enough about me to take time out of your day to read about the boring annals of med school. So, thank you for your time, your love and your friendship.

I have my psychiatry (of which, I have never been to one lecture this block nor have I looked at the lectures) and pathology next week. A micro quiz this Friday/tomorrow. A possible extra-credit autopsy for pathology tomorrow (they will call us at 7:30am to let us know we have to show up at the Medical Examiner's office by 8:15am). Fun fun fun.