Friday, December 25, 2015

Block 2, Week 9: God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen... yeah right.

I think everyone was very happy to see this week finally arrive. We had a short week at school, starting on Monday with a final exam in epidemiology. Then the remainder of the day was set aside for skills checkoffs. We had to demonstrate aspirating and injecting a knee or injecting a shoulder. So you go into a room alone with a disembodied knee (for me) or shoulder, and talk your way through the proper technique, while trying to demonstrate as well. I think I did OK. It's a really odd experience talking to a fake body part. There is a camera recording everything once you walk in the door, so I'm really glad I didn't trip. On Tuesday, we had OMM lecture and lab, and then we were FREE! Well, sorta.
See there's also the anatomy practical from a few weeks' back hanging over our heads. The majority of the class failed it miserably, and the instructors have been deciding what they were going to do. So instead of a nice restful Christmas break, we have a take-home practical to complete during the holiday. I'm grateful, actually. I was going to spend the break studying for anatomy anyway, because when we get back, we only have two weeks left in this block, and the last week will pretty much be finals. This will actually help me study for the anatomy final, so I'm glad to have that to focus my study. It kinda sucks that it's during Christmas break, though.
I guess this is what it's like for "REAL" doctors, right? It's not like I won't have patients needing me for the two weeks at the end of the year. Seems like people tend to need doctors MORE when the holidays arrive. So chalk it up as another "Welcome to med school and the reality for doctors everywhere" kind of experience. I doubt it will be the last.
I hope everyone is having a nice break, and you are able to celebrate with people you love. I'm so happy to have awesome family and friends that support me in this crazy adventure. There have been a lot of people who have taken up my slack, and I hope that one day I will be able to make it up to them. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Block 2, Week 8: Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me...

Magrathean Sperm Whale and a Bowl of Petunias for my 42nd birthday.
So I held off on blogging until today, because it's my BIRTHDAY! I wanted to have a fresh view on what it felt like to be in medical school ON my birthday. Since it is so late in the year, I have never had the experience of being at school on the same day as my birthday, so it's kinda cool that it happened during my first year of medical school. I used to be kind of jealous of people whose parents brought cupcakes to school to celebrate, so it was super fun getting so many Happy Birthday greetings on the day of. I'm sure that will wear off by next time around the sun. We had an exam (a FINAL!) this morning, and I have a skills assessment for either a knee aspiration/injection or a shoulder injection later on this afternoon. I also got to have lunch with my parents today, which was also a treat.
So the picture above is showing off the hilariously awesome gifts my HB gave me for my 42nd birthday. He also bought me a new desk and bookshelf to increase my studying aesthetic. Can you say spoiled rotten? That's me! If you fail to see the joke with the whale and the flowers, let me enlighten you. The book, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is one of my favorites. There are some silly plot points that include the fact that 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Also, there is a place where the whale and the petunias have a starring scene, and it is an absolute hoot. So my husband consulted with nerds to find out exactly what one buys a HGTTG fan on their 42nd birthday, and WHAMMO! Did I mention how absolutely blessed I am? *sigh*
We only have one more class day this week before we get out for Christmas break. I'm really looking forward to catching up on some sleep and completing an online anatomy practical and spending some time with my family. Wait. Sleep, yes, and family, yes. NOT looking forward to doing an anatomy assignment OVER THE HOLIDAYS! My feelings about that are pretty much just... resigned. But that's all I have to say about that.
I just wanted to wind this up by saying Merry Christmas to everyone who is following along on this crazy journey with me. I was looking at the number of page views on my humble little blog, and I was blown away. I hope you all have a lovely holiday, and that you are able to be surrounded with love and warmth and happiness. Of course, if you're with your family, there's probably some other stuff thrown in there too, but I hope it's MOSTLY happy. If you find that you're stuck in town alone and need to borrow some family, please let me know, I have PLENTY to go around! Seriously, though, don't spend the holidays alone, reach out to someone and make it a new tradition. I am happy to include any "orphans" in my Christmas celebration. AND I make a killer coconut pie. If I can remember how to turn the oven on...

Friday, December 11, 2015

Block 2, Week 7: Let me tell you a thing or two, mister

I just want to start today by clarifying that I'm not angry at anyone, and I do understand how someone could make the mistake of not understanding what is going on with me right now. Being in medical school is probably a mystery to a great portion of the population, but since I am completely baptized in it right now, it can make me feel incredulous when I experience the following conversation. But it happens ALL THE TIME, so I thought it would be a great time to educate the public on exactly what goes on in medical school. Pay attention, there will be a test. Here's how it goes:

"Hey, Val, I haven't seen you in ages, what are you up to nowadays?"
"Hey, it's so good to see you! I got accepted into medical school, and I'm in my first year."
"Oh, that's so exciting! You must be so proud! So are you going to be a nurse?"
Blink. Blink. Blink blink. "OH, you're serious."

Now before you nurses come beat me up for being a butt to nurses, simmer down now. Simmah. Down. Nah. I love nurses! My best friend is a nurse (Hey, Marian)! Wait, that sounds kinda, I dunno... Anyway, this post is not to undermine nurses or belittle their education or contribution to health care.

I feel like the reason they ask if I'm going to be a nurse is because I'm a chick. And before you guys get all up in arms, let me just take you on a journey to my childhood where the boys were always doctors and the girls were always nurses. It's not that far away, let me assure you. I was buying a present for a certain little boy for Christmas who may or may not be my grandson, and I was choosing what I wanted to embroider on it. The choices included a teddy bear who was obviously male (and by obviously male, I mean in a cartoon way with or without eyelashes OBVIOUSLY) in a white coat with a stethoscope and it was called "doctor bear." The only female choice was a teddy bear who was obviously female in a pink nurse outfit called "nurse bear." Now we all know that it doesn't matter what your gender, you can be a doctor or a nurse or a garbage truck driver. But check your reaction when you hear someone say, "OH, he's a nurse." Uh-huh, see?

So since it's a matter of murk and clouds to some people, I'm going to break it down for you right here. Medical schools generally train doctors. There are some campuses out there that are medical schools and they also have other types of schools on the same campus, but they are separate schools for different programs. If you get into medical school, you will be spending four years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and when you graduate, people will call you doctor. Let's review. Medical school = doctors. Got it?
OK next part. Nursing schools train nurses. If you go to nursing school, there are different levels of nursing degrees that you can get, depending on how much time you want to be there. There are LPNs, RNs, BSNs, and so forth. You can go on and get to nurse practitioner if you want! But you'll still be a nurse. Sooooo nursing school = nurses. Still following?
OK here's the hard part. Remember I said there would be a test. If you need to go back and review, take a minute and go back. No trick questions. Ready? OK here we go.

1. If someone tells you that they were accepted into medical school, their temperature was 37C, ALP was 87 IU/L, blood glucose was 81 mg/dL, and CRP was .4 mg/L, what is the mechanism for glucose metabolism in the liver?
2. A patient presents in your office c/o muscle weakness in the upper and lower limbs, with a stocking-and-glove type distribution. He drinks 2 six-packs of beer every Saturday, and his left great toe is hanging by a thread of skin. He went to nursing school, so he tells you that he was treating at home with bacitracin and bandaids. Which type of glycogen storage disease does he have?

See? I told you no trick questions, and I never lie. So now that you know the difference between medical school and nursing school, tell all of your friends. No. Go tell them now. I'll wait.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Med School Recap Block 2 Week 6: Don't tell me. We're about to go over a HUGE waterfall.

1. Oh boy, guys. Floating into the weekend like this, yo. Let's just say this week has definitely got me "funned out," but guess what, the waterfall is LOOMING. This block has been a little bit more manageable (I refuse to say easier) so far in that we haven't had three tests a week. However, with anatomy lab and OMM lab, SDLs in pathology, and having to be ready for quizzes in pharmacology, the work load has NOT decreased a bit. But the next couple of weeks are loaded with all of the above PLUS standardized patients, clinical skills, a lab practical and four exams. They want me to know how to jab a needle into someone's knee and aspirate fluid, AND not pass out at the same time. Ummmmm...
2. Lots of movie clips today, folks. This is what it's like to be my friend. I often speak entirely in movie quotes, and only the best ear can catch them all.
3. Sometimes I get to talk to physicians about what I'm up to. Usually when I have a doctor's appointment, and the doctor is doing that conversational pretend-to-be-interested-in-your-life part. Then they find out I'm a medical student, and they always have advice. I appreciate the input I get from most of them. The doctor I saw the other day told me to take it one day at a time, and make sure I get everything done that day that needs to get done, but not to look too far into the future because it's too overwhelming. I can definitely say that if I start thinking too far ahead, I can't breathe. I do need to keep an eye to the next things coming up so I'm prepared, but if I start thinking too much about all the piles of things I have to accomplish before the end of this block, I get lightheaded. I really did appreciate the advice about making sure I get all the things I need to do today finished though. That way I don't get buried. Feeling behind AND overwhelmed does not work out too well.
4. One of the things that has been tough this week once again is dealing with life stuff on top of keeping up with school. Before school started, if something put me in a tailspin, I could climb into bed for a day and recover and then get back in the groove. This week has had some challenges that would normally put me under it. I don't have time to crawl under the covers and hide from the world. Medical school just goes on without you and then you have to run to catch up. So I'm hoping to manage to use this weekend to do some mental health support AND study for that OMM exam and practical coming on Tuesday.
5. I guess this is the halfway point for this block! Exciting right? I guess I should be excited. It just seems that there is way more ahead of me than behind me at this point. Maybe that second wind will hit me any time now. I'm suffering from sleep deprivation currently, and all I can think about is sleep. Maybe when I catch up, I'll remember to get excited.
6. I think I've mentioned this is the musculoskeletal block. We are learning about all things muscles and bones. Diseases, deformities, fractures, injuries, and all things that we might see wrong with someone's bones and muscles. This block has confirmed that I am not called to orthopedics, although it has been some fascinating stuff. OMM lab has been pretty cool, because we are learning to use our hands to diagnose and even treat certain nagging issues. A lot of my classmates have told me they are enjoying the lab, and at the same time they are terrified of trying to demonstrate some of this stuff at the practical. So this weekend will be full of more practice!
7. Well, I guess that's another week of med school in the bag. It's amazing to me that all these weeks add up eventually and then I'll be a doctor. I keep thinking there will be this point where I will suddenly feel like a real doctor. I'm sure it's not in the first few blocks. ;)