Somehow my four week long away rotation has turned into seven weeks away. Which means the suitcase that I'm packing right now better have some crazy meta-physics-like-space-time-continuum-warping-space-saving-capacity; because I've still got a lot of stuff to cram in!!
I'm leaving in a few days for family vacation, then flying straight from there to my away rotation. At the end of that, I was supposed to return to my apartment and life- but the medical student who is subletting my room here needs to stay an extra week. So for some extra cash, I'm giving up my bedroom and crashing at my wonderfully generous boyfriend's place for that week. Right when that student leaves and I would return to my aparment- I'm going out of town with above mentioned boyfriend for a week to see some of his family. So I'm actually not going to be back in my own bedroom until mid September.
I'd better pack some more underwear.
And PS- I still love my iPhone. It's endless to-do lsit capacities might be the only reason that I've stayed sane through all of this packing-for-four-different-cities-at-once madness.
Through a series of magical and wonderful events- I have inherited an iPhone. A few years ago, one of my brothers got the iPhone for Christmas. It has been passed from him, to my other brother, and now to me- for the incredible trade/price of "Laura's current iPod and cellphone". It was a great swap in my opinion!!
Now this iPhone is a 3G (gasp!) which means its technically 2 generations behind the times. Some people have gawked at me for being so excited about such 'stone age' technology.
Here's my thought- when the iPhone first came out in 2007 or 2008 or whatever, I would've been happythrilled ecstatic to get one. There is nothing that has changed about me or my technology needs since 2008. Nothing. I still want to make phone calls, check my email, have a good calendar and a bunch of silly apps. Same as I would've wanted then. So any sense of the 3G not being good enough for me is 100% based on marketing and consumerism and 0% based on what I actually need from a smartphone.
That's enough blogging for now. I haven't played with my iPhone in 3 solid minutes- so I've got to get back to that. :-)
Air travel is a hobby of mine. Blame it on my gypsy-esque family members who all move to new areas of the country every 3-4 years, or blame it on picking a career path that requires lots of interviews and conferences, or blame it on my general restlessness- any way that you slice it, I fly often.
I was booking a few flights this evening, and I started to wonder just how often I fly. I'm pretty committed to one airline, so I check out how many free tickets I'd received from them over the years. The answer is 20. TWENTY! 20 flights= 10 roundtrips, which means that I've taken 160 flights with them to earn that many free flights. If that is since 2003, then I'm averaging 22 flights a year, or about one roundtrip per month. (At this point, I was tempted to find out how much money this means I've spent on flights, but I thought that would change the whole investigation from interesting to depressing- so those calculations were conveniently omitted)
I'm actually a little surprised that I've had enough time to get through undergrad and medical school- because apparently I'm out of town 1 out of 4 weekends!! Who knew I was so busy? I'm still keeping up the pace- I'll be making appearances in Grand Cayman, Chicago, Tampa and Ohio over the next 3 months (and residency interviews haven't even started yet...)
Attending: We've got a really interesting case on the schedule for tomorrow.
Resident: Oh, really? I guess I can come in for it.
A: Ahh! I'm sorry, I forgot! Tomorrow is supposed to be your day off. Did you have something planned for tomorrow?
R: It's fine. I'll change my plans.
A: What did you have scheduled?
R: Nothing. It's fine. I can make it.
A: Seriously, what did you have planned?
R: Just my wedding. It's ok, I can re-schedule it.
Everyone in the OR (almost simulataneously, thus causing a six-way jinx): ARE YOU KIDDING?! GO TO YOUR WEDDING, CRAZY LADY!!
We spent 5 mintues convincing her that she needed to go to her wedding. Granted, tomorrow is just the courthouse wedding and they are having a big ceremony in a few weeks in their hometown. But she had a dress and hair appointment and family in town for he wedding tomorrow and was going to reschedule it all so she could see a "cool case".
I think life is about balance. If you're willing to give up your wedding, I think you've already given up too much of yourself. Surgery residency is a commitment, but you also have to be commited to keeping yourself true to who you are.
I'm working on my residency application this weekend. It's TOUGH. One of the things that I have to do is compose a summary of my "unique characteristics" to give to the person who writes my "Dean's Letter"- which they will most likely copy and paste into their recommendation letter. So I'm sort of writing one of my own letters (that's how this portion of the letter is supposed to be, though).
I'm not a good salesman. That's why I'm not in sales. So I find it very hard to sell myself in this letter. My initial draft included lots of statements like "she's a good student" and "she works hard" . So I embarked on a trip down memory lane to give myself a little ego boost.
I looked over my medical school application (figuring that I must've looked good on paper back then if I got into med school), and some of my letters of recommendation from that. Then I stumbled across this gem, which rocketed my ego to the moon. THE GEM.- from USA Today
My letter now includes phrases like "possesses a certain quality of greatness" and "quite frankly brilliant". Maybe I'm over-selling now. I'll run with it and tone it down later in the week when I've reigned in my ego. Finding a balance is difficult.
I've been on cardiac surgery for a few days now. The surgeries are simultaneously the most barbaric and the most elegant procedures I've ever seen. Cardiac surgery is a strange beast- because it requires stopping the heart to be able to work on a still, clean, bloodless surgical field. How do you stop a heart? By injecting it with the same solution that they use for lethal injection. Sure, there's a bypass machine that is pumping the blood and adding oxygen to it- but in my book, a still heart looks a lot like a dead heart. I even saw one surgery where we went on "circulatory arrest", meaning that we stop the heart, and THEN we stop the bypass machine too. Both were off for 49 minutes. Luckily, we cool the patient's body to 70 degrees, so their metabolic activity is low enough that their cells don't die even though there's no blood. There is an old saying "You're not dead until you're warm and dead." Amazingly, we warmed her up and her heart started beating again.
I still have this thought during every surgery- at the end of the surgery when we stop the bypass machine, if we can't restart the heart, then we will have been operating for 2 hours on a corpse. It's odd, the patient is in a strange limbo during the surgery: if their heart restarts, then I'll say that they were alive the whole time, but if their heart doesn't' restart, then I would say that they'd been dead the whole time. So during the surgery, I'm never quite sure if we're saving a life, or starting an autopsy.
As I said, it's simultaneously the most barbaric and the most elegant thing I've ever seen.
I made it until today, July 5, before installing my air conditioner. You're welcome, environment.
I've made significant progress on my residency application, with only one minor holy-cow-how-is-it possible-that-I'm-already-applying-to-residency breakdown
I spent the whole day on the beach yesterday without getting sunburned (sunburnt?) at all. You're welcome, skin.
I bought 2 new pairs of shoes, and then donated 5 pairs to Salvation Army. I enjoy keeping the overall amount of stuff that I own fairly constant, so I'm always happy when I can ditch some old stuff to make room for the new.
I played both tennis and golf this week- making me realize that I fit the white-upper-middle-class stereotype more than I thought. Not so proud of that, but very proud of how I'm pushing myself pretty hard to get better at both of these things.
I feel like women are supposed to love getting their haircut, and love the people who do it for them. I DO NOT. The last two times that I've gotten my haircut, I've come straight from the hospital so my hair is semi-gross and in it's perpetual messy-bun. I sit down and they start making weird, passive-aggressive comments like:
"So how long did you say it was since your last haircut?"
"Do you normally wear your hair curly, straight, or, ummm.... like that?"
"Did you mean to go so long without a haircut?"
"What product do you usually use? I mean, have you ever used product?"
I'm not a gross person. And I happen to love my hair. But I HATE feeling like I have to apologize to these people for the state of my hair. Just make it pretty and then leave me alone. If I choose to put your handiwork in a messy bun everyday, that's my perrogative.
All that being said, I'm off the get a haircut. I might punch them if they say something mean to me. I'm a pretty girl, gosh-darn-it!!!!
Update: Today they were in full swing with ridiculous comments, too!! "You must us a cheap shampoo and conditoner" "Wow, your hair is really annoying to style." WEIRDOS. Here's some before and after shots. I'll do better after-shots when I style my hair myself. That crazy lady acted liked she'd never seen curls before.
I'm a surgeon, passionate about innovating and advancing the field of surgery. I've started this blog to share my own ideas and to develop a community of medical professionals, engineers and any other thinkers who want to make surgery safer, better and cheaper. All surgeons are innovators- we just needed a place to tell our stories.