Friday, March 31, 2017

Block 7 Week 10 and 11: We made it!

And here we are once again, at the end of a block. You guys know how it goes by now. Nail-biting, nerves, anxiety, RELIEF! The last two weeks have been non-stop studying and testing and waiting for grades, but it's OVER! But there is something different about this block. It's the end. We have covered all the lectures and now it's time to move on to dedicated board study. So for the next few months, it will be boards non-stop. Eat, sleep, study, repeat. I'm excited about it, but I'm also a little nervous. I can't believe two years of medical school are almost over, and at the end of July, I (hopefully) start my clinical rotations. Must. Pass. Boards. I can't say it went really fast, but at the same time, it seems like it should have taken longer to get here. I'm pretty excited.

I have one week between me and the dreaded Block 8, and you can bet I'm going to live it up. Well if living it up means sitting on my duff doing a bunch of nothing. You guys know how I feel about nothing. Ahhhhhhh. It's lovely. HB was out of town last week (in Hawaii, don't get me started), and I actually got a lot of cleaning and stuff done. I like to pace around my house and clean up instead of study because I'm complicated like that. So I don't have a huge list of housework that I need to get done really. We are throwing around some ideas about going camping or hiking or something. I kinda hope we manage to do something. I miss hanging out with my kids and HB, and I'd like to spend some time with them before boards prep gets super-serious. But I also don't want to plan a bunch of plans that will feel a whole lot like something other than nothing. Because ahhhhhh. Nothing.

Anyway, I don't have much else to report currently. I have an empty mind (haha nothing new) that is shrinking from responsibility. So I'm going to get back to doing my nothings. Have a nice break guys!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Block 7 Week 9: If it makes you happy...

I guess it's no secret that I've been in the dumps in a serious way for the last few weeks. I don't want to do anything that remotely looks like studying or learning. I just want to curl up in bed and watch Grimm episodes and eat carbs. Some of this has to do with impending board exams, and the rest is probably separation anxiety because the HB has been out of town SO VERY MUCH lately. He's going to freaking HAWAII the week before block break WITHOUT ME. Yes, salty, that's me. 

So today I thought I'd write a post about things that make me happy, because there are quite a few things on that list.
First, when I'm all bummed and my friends come over and play cards and make me laugh. Last night, Mikey and Ezra and Dottie came over and we ate twizzlers and starburst and oreos and ice cream and played cards until LATE. We laughed and goofed off, and it was AWESOME. Sometimes your study buddies turn into family, and that's pretty nifty.

Next, CHEESE! You guys, I love cheese so very much. It's good all by itself, or on a cracker, or melted and smothering a tortilla chip. Cheese is a friend that has NEVER disappointed. I feel like food is going to star in a major way on this list.

Fat babies. OMG guys. My grandsons are so adorable, and the little one is all chubby and squishy and he loves cuddling. The older one is easily placated with cheese (just like his Bubbie), and he says the most hilarious things. I wish I had been able to relax and have fun with my littles like I do with my grandies. But I was too worried about being the perfect mother and I had no chill.

HIKING! I have never been an outside person. Mainly because I was fat and out of shape. I'm still kinda fat and out of shape, but not as much as before. I discovered that I REALLY don't like going to the gym and working out on a machine with a bunch of other hamster people. I like to be outside. We have this awesome park that has lots of great hiking trails (and biking apparently; I discovered this when I was almost mowed down by a couple of eager bikers), and I would go there EVERY DAY if weather allowed. However, our weather has been iffy here lately, so I haven't been as often as I'd like.  But this is definitely on my list of happy things.

PEEPS (See I TOLD you there's lots of food)! Easter is my favorite time of year, mostly because of peeps. I like to open the package and put it up out of sight of my kids until they get stale and then eat them. Yeah, I know, pretty sick, right? They are so yummy! It seems like everyone has deep opinions about Peeps. I'm definitely in the LOVE department.


My HB. I have a major league crush on that dude. I've loved him since I was 11 years old, and I ain't stopping now. Or ever. He is stuck with me FOR LIFE. Poor guy. He doesn't seem to mind though; I guess I'm pretty charming or something. Or maybe he's hanging on until I'm a doctor so he can be my Trophy Husband. We're both OK with that.


SO we had our standardized patient last Tuesday, and that was INTERESTING. You'd think by now I wouldn't get all in a dither about this since I've done it every block since the first one. But I get so dang nervous! Another dumb thing I did was get a gel manicure on the Friday before. So I have these fake nails that I'm not used to, and I'm expected to type my notes on the encounter in nine minutes when I can't even spell my name with these durn things on!

I went back today to review my note, and it's a mess! Typos galore! I think a toddler might have done a better job. I seriously hope that I pass. Yes, it's that bad. But I feel like my patient experience went well. I hope the grader agrees.

Well, I guess that's it for this week. Two more weeks in block 7!!! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Block 7 Week 8: I just want to wrap up in a blanket on my couch and play video games

So there's this motivational speaker guy that I follow on Facebook. He's really awesome. He was born without any arms or legs, and he travels around and speaks and writes books and is generally a great dude. I see his posts and they are all like, don't let your problems slow you down, turn them into stepping stones or some kinda flowery language like that. Most of the time, I'm all like, yeah dude, let's get it! But not today. Today, I want to go home and get under the covers and pretend like I don't have SP tomorrow.

I know I write this blog and I'm always like, hey, I'm so blessed to be here, and things get hard, but you just have to work hard and you'll get there. And most of the time I feel like that. But today. UGH. Blame it on Daylight Saving Time (if I ever get a straight answer on who thought it was a good idea to start a Monday an hour in the hole, Imma dig him up and kick him right in the butt), or Monday, or the fact that we are starting week 9, or any number of bummer things that are going on. It's just that this is a hard place to be. I don't want to study or practice for my standardized patient for tomorrow.

The thing that a lot of medical students will tell you about this undertaking is that you have to pass on a lot of fun things that the rest of the world gets to do while you are becoming a doctor. And most of the time you can tell yourself that it will all be worth it when you are living the dream. But I read an article this morning that pretty much just dumped a truckload of sand on that idea. This is the article: Sleep Deprived Docs Disclose Hospital Horrors. To sum up, the ACGME (that's who is in charge of medical education in residency after graduation from medical school) approved a return to 28-hour shifts for doctors in residency. The article discusses some anecdotes of doctors' experiences after a long call period. It is scary and horrifying.

See, as a medical student, there are some things about our education that are kind of a drag. Like sometimes an instructor of a particular class might not be presenting the most up-to-date clinically-oriented information, and we get frustrated. Or maybe I did bad on an exam, and it makes me feel like I'm not working hard enough. The rigors of the first two years sometimes wear you down and you just feel in the dumps. But you tell yourself, hey, we are so close to clinicals, and getting closer to graduation, then residency, and then being a "real doctor!" However, it's really hard to look forward to the next step when it looks like what these interns are experiencing in that article.

It doesn't make sense to me that anyone thinks it is a good idea to have a sleep-deprived intern practicing medicine. If truck drivers don't get enough sleep, they cause 60-car pileups on the freeway.  If a physician doesn't get enough sleep, the attending smacks him on the butt and sends him into the ER to work up the next patient. What does a 60-car pileup look like in an ER? Or in the NICU? I don't think I want to know. I certainly don't want to be the intern responsible for a bad patient outcome simply because I fell asleep while I was supposed to be working up a head injury.

I'm really sorry for the bummer blog post today. I have to remind myself that this path I'm on is a calling for me, and I'm not promised that it will be fun and rosy when it's all done. All I know is this is what I'm supposed to be doing. It would be a lot easier if I was sure that spending all this time becoming led to something better than what the doctors in that article have experienced. It would make it a lot easier to give up being with my family and blanket-wrapped video game times. And not all days are like this for sure. It's just today kinda sucks.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Block 7 Week 7: My Motivational Playlist

I started getting the idea for this blog post this week, and I wanted to make sure before I dive in that everyone who reads this doesn't misunderstand me. While I might whinge and moan about how difficult medical school is, I do not want anyone to think that I am ungrateful for this opportunity. I talk to a lot of people who are smart and qualified who have not been accepted into medical school. These are people who probably look a lot better than I do on paper and in interviews. So I do not want to give the impression that I am not content with where I am. The other side of that coin is that I want to be real. A lot of people live their lives thinking that at some point in the future, they will find "happy." If I weigh a certain amount, if I get into this school, if I drive this car, and if I can wing my eyeliner just right, I will exist in this place called happy. I won't lie, there is a special satisfaction that comes with getting that eyeliner winged perfectly.

But at the end of the night after wowing the public, ya gotta wash that stuff off, right? Otherwise you wake up in the morning looking like an SVU victim found in an alley.
So that kind of happiness is temporary -- but that's another blog post for another time. Having said all that, let's go.

Some days I can't find the motivation to get in the car and do the same thing all over again. When school first started, this was not a problem. I'd get up at 6am, take a shower, get dressed in my snazzy new business casual attire, and hit the road like:

Fast forward to block 7, and it's more like:

ESPECIALLY on test days. I have spent the better part of two years (which isn't really a long time, is it?) getting up, getting dressed, and going to class. We sit in the same chair next to the same people and listen to other people talk about (and show gross pictures) of disease processes and sometimes even some normal stuff. A few days a week, we come in and take exams. It gets monotonous. Becoming a doctor pretty much sucks up all the hours in a day, and that stretches into weeks, and months, and years. I think I understand why a lot of doctors get salty about their patients consulting Dr. Google after spending so much time learning the ins and outs of the human body so that we can treat them properly. 

So what do you do to keep your head on? Well, it takes some extra work and time (which are things that aren't plentiful), but it can be done. One of the things that helps me is music. I LOVE music, and I have some pretty varied tastes in that area. I have a Spotify subscription, so I like to make playlists. I have a playlist for just about everything. I organize them according to artist sometimes, and then I have some that are specific to situations. Then I have my starred playlist, which is huge and always growing. It's just songs that I've come across that I like. Most of the time I just set that one to shuffle, and I'm good. HB teases me that I don't have any music from this decade on that playlist, and he's pretty close to right. So then I have this one playlist, and it changes a lot because I find new stuff to stick in there and I get tired of some of the older ones. It's called I Don't Want To. I think it was originally called Monday, but the new descriptor is more fitting, because it doesn't just happen on Mondays. I think every song that gets to be on this playlist so far has been an upbeat tempo that just gets you moving, but also has lyrics that motivate me. "Don't Bring That Trouble" by Needtobreathe has been on there for a while, and I don't see it getting retired any time soon. "Unstoppable" by Sia is a new addition. I don't want to put down a complete list here of songs, because I think it's a good idea to find your theme songs to populate your Motivational Playlist. 

So sometimes when you're feeling rather like this:

Don't do this:

Make a playlist, and walk into class like this:

No, it won't change the monotony of medical school or make you a better student, but it might just help you get through another day of I Don't Want To. And eventually you will cross those off your list and get to better days.