Saturday, June 26, 2010

More Six Word Summaries

A while ago I wrote six word summaries of some of my favorite people in life.  Go read them!!  Now I've decided to write similar summaries for some of my medical school rotations:

1st Year
Try drinking from a fire hydrant.

2nd Year
Weekends off, Wednesdays off-  still behind.

Working hard for the money.  Wait.
Paying tuition to work this hard.
Constantly alternating between sad and boring. 

Strep, strep, strep, strep, asthma, strep.

Beautifully magical for them- not me.

Surgery Sub-I
Doubts about future career: officially gone.

Thoracic Surgery
"I quit smoking"  "When?" "This morning" 
 (We see mostly lung cancer surgery, EVERYONE 'quits' the morning of their first appointment with the surgeon. Fail.  Doesn't count til you've quit for more than 3 hours)

4th Year
Daily relaxing; big picture freaking out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unanswered Questions

  • When I'm running and someone else is running toward me, I always think about opening my arms and running at them like a dramatic movie hug.  What would they do?  Would they hug me?
  • One of my patients is a priest.   Does seeing a priest daily for one week help balance only going to church about three times during the rest of the year?
  • How often are you supposed to flip a mattress?  I flipped mine for the first time in 3 years yesterday; and I've got a suspicion that I was supposed to be doing it more often.
Answers welcomed!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things My Dad Gave Me- (My Early Father's Day Post)

The more I grow up, the more like my Dad I become.  So in honor of Father's Day, and in lieu of giving him something (I'm poor),  I'm posting a list of things that my Dad has given me.
  • My unfounded intolerance of staying in bed past 10am; even if there's nothing in particular that I need to get up for.  Even 10am is probably a stretch for him- I don't know if I've ever seen him sleep past 8:30am.
  • My His Mustang.
  • The desire to never ever stop learning new things.  He turned 50 and the decided to become an airplane pilot.  And he DID. 
  • A deeply ingrained, fool-proof diet plan: "Stop going in the kitchen".
  • The ridiculous complusion to turn off the car radio whenever anyone in the car starts talking.  I know that I can hear them over the radio.  I know that I don't need to turn it off.  And yet my finger punches that button before I even have a chance to object.  This is one of those things that my Dad did when I was younger that would annoy me to no end (it was always during my favorite song!).  And now I can't stop.  And it annoys other people to no end.
  • A comprehensive knowledge of every John Mellencamp and Paul Simon song every written.
  • The COMPLETELY ridiculous compulsion to read the owner's manual to anything that I buy.  Maybe this came from my incessant "Dad- I can't figure out how to_____ my______!! Will you do it?" and his stock answer, "Did you read the owner's manual?!"  Most recently, I read the owner's "manual" for a $6 wristwatch; which was about 3 sentences long.  But you'll be jealous of me when daylight saving's rolls around and I reset my watch in 2 seconds flat.  Sometimes I even read Danny's owner's manuals.  I'll admit that I get a rush out of making him think I'm a super genius when his PlayStation acts up and I "instinctively" know how to do a hard re-boot.
  • A basic enough understanding of computer lingo to make people think that I'm smart.  Just yesterday, I wow-ed someone by knowing what VOIP stood for (although, my Mom actually deserves credit for that one).
  • My PhotoShop skills.  He's a lot better than me.  Here's my favorite project from him, from when half of the family went to Hawaii but he wanted to have a family picture of the whole family.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!!
 I know its 4 days early- but I was feeling sentimental on my run today, and I wanted to write the post before I forgot all of the nice things that I came up with.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What General Surgeons Do

I'll admit it- I didn't know what a "general surgeon" did until I was well into my 3rd year of medical school.  I knew that a "surgeon general" put scary warnings on cigarettes packages; but a "general surgeon"?  I was lost.  So here is my general overview of general surgery.  Generally.

The following people who do surgery DID NOT go through general surgery training: neurosurgeons, orthopedic (bone) surgeons, ENT (ear nose and throat) surgeons, urologists, gynecologsts. They go straight from medical school into their residency specialty; though most of them will still spend a few random months on general surgery rotations as part of their training.

The following people who do surgery DID go through general surgery training (5 years) and THEN did a "fellowship" (extra 1-3 years after residency to further specialize) in a more specific field:  colorectal surgeons, cardiac surgeons, thoracic (lung) surgeons, bariatric (gastric bypass) surgeons, plastic surgeons, pediatric surgeons, vascular surgeons, trauma surgeons, hepatobiliary surgeons, oncologic surgeons, breast surgery.... the list goes on.

So what does that leave to the "general surgeons" (people who complete general surgery residency and do not go on to do a fellowship)?  Lots of hernia repairs, appedectomies, removing gallbladders, biopsies of everything, exicisions of skin cancers,  intestine surgery, thyroid surgery... and that list goes on too.

As if that isn't confusing enough,  general surgeons really are trained to do almost everything that those fellowship surgeons can do.  The fellowship surgeons just have extra training; and only do surgeries within their smaller field.  For example, if you live in Garden City, Kansas- a general surgeon is probably doing a bariatric surgery, followed by a colon cancer surgery, then running over to do a trauma surgery, and wrapping up her day with a pediatric appedicitis surgery.  But if you live in New York City- there is a highly trained and very specfic surgeron who wants to fill her whole day with bariatric surgery; and another who wants to do all cancer surgery; and another who only wants to do do trauma stuff; ad a pediatric surgeon who shuns everyone over 18 years old.

I still think its confusing.  The first "oncologic surgeon" that I met must've thought I was a jerk.  I kept asking him what kind of surgeries he did; and to every thing that he said I would reply- "But general surgeons do that!!"  So the way that I think about it is that general surgeons can do everything*; and going on to a fellowship just allows you to do a certain thing more often.

*General surgeons can't really do EVERYTHING.  Cardiac and thoracic surgery, for example, are RAREY done by someone who hasn't done a fellowship.  But pretty much everything else that I listed can be done by someone who has 'just' done general surgery residency.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Patient Puked On My Residents Face

I don't know how much more I can add to the title.  It pretty much sums up what happened. 

I supposed I could add that it wasn't just vomit; it was FECULENT vomit.  "Feculent" means that it was puke that had been sitting in the patient's stomach/bowels for so long that it was actually turning into poop while it was sitting there.

I suppose I could also add that I induced the patient's projectile vomit while putting in an NG tube (see my last post for a description of how pleasant that is).  Poor resident.   He was just trying to give me a hand with it, and he got a face full of poop puke.

I suppose I could also add that I was in the initial path of vomit- but I happened to reach over to grab a syringe right when the patient puked.  I don't think the resident even had time to react.  Poor resident.

Isn't my life glamorous?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Patient Has Nightmares About Me

There was a patient who needed an NG (nasogastric tube).  Putting it in involves shoving a tube down someone's nose until it gets to their stomach.  Patients don't like it, obviously.  So I put in the NG tube, and the patient immeditaly grabbed it an ripped it out.  So we tried again.  And she ripped it out again.  Repeat FIVE TIMES. Finally, she decided that she would rather continue to have uncontrollable vomiting than have the tube in their stomach. Fine.

Fast forward 2 weeks- the patient is still in the hospital.  I was talking with one of the med students who was taking care of her now- and he mentioned, "Her biggest issue right now is actually this terrible recurrent nightmare that she keeps having", "Really, what nightmare?",  "I guess its a recurrent nightmare about the girl who put in her NG tube 5 times."  That's right- I have officially traumatized a patient to the point of causing recurrent nightmares.  I toyed with the idea of creepily walking by her room holding an NG tube.  But I'm not that mean; and I think I've terroized her enough.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Memorial Day = Beach Day

PS- I starting to believe what my sister says- crooked pictures are automatically artistic

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


It's 2pm. I'm about to start an 8hr case. I've been carb-loading all morning (no joke), and I've prophylactically emptied my bladder 4 times.  Time to rock.