I'm a VERY project oriented person, and I've decided to tackle a new one!! If I don't have a project, I'm going to spend the next 3 weeks (actually 20 days... but who's counting?) completely freaking out about Match Day.
So the new project: It's called "Project 365" or "365Project" or something like that depending how you google it- but the idea is to take a picture a day for a year and share it with the world.
I've put a little app on my phone that will let me snap pictures and quickly upload them onto my blog. So, for as long as it keeps me interested- you'll see some picture from my daily life every day!! Aren't you excited?!
When my parents call me, they sometimes ask if I've save any lives recently. Well, last night on my overnight ER shift, I can proudly say that I helpedstrongly contributed DID save three lives.
#1- A guy's heart stopped beating and I started CPR. Let me just tell you that doing CPR and starting CPR are two very different beasts. I've done CPR a few times, and it's not that big of a deal. But starting CPR- whew. That takes balls. You're not just replacing someone whose already been banging away on their chest, you're the one deciding- Hey, this guy's dead. I'd better start doing something about it. Not only did I start CPR for the first time, but we also got the guys' heart beat back. If you watch any medical shows on TV, you're probably thinking that it's normal to get the heart beat back; but it's not. It happens less than 5% of the time, for the type of dead that this guy was. It was my magical chest compressions that gave him the will to live, I think. :-)
#2 & #3- A husband and wife came into the ER with nausea and vomiting after eating dinner together. My resident and attending were both eager to write them off as viral gastroenteritis or food poisoning- but in my obsessive medical student way, I suggested that we test them for carbon monoxide poisoning (mostly because we had just had a lecture on it!) And guess what? They were both puking because their kitchen was cold when they were eating, so they brought their generator into the kitchen to run their space heater. Generator in closed space= carbon monoxide poisoning. SLAM DUNK. Slap some oxygen masks on those folks before they settle into a nice coma.
It's nice to feel Doctor-ly. It's nice to feel confident enough in my own knowledge and instinct that I'm able to DO THINGS that end up saving lives. I think I can do this doctor thing. In fact, I just might be pretty good at it.
...came up when I searched Google Image for "happiest"
...in my sleep deprived state, it somehow seemed the most appropriate picture
**Stupid disclaimer- as always, I changed pieces of the story to make the patients' stories unrecognizable because otherwise I'd be violating patient confidentiality. I did not, however, alter how awesome I was.
Since my 4th year med school work load keeps me busy, oh, on average, 2 hours a week- I decided a little while ago that this might me a good time to get a job. Not a real job- just something to fill my time and fill my Laura's-first-grown-up-apartment-needs-to-have-adorable/expensive-furniture fund. So I'm working as a private MCAT (medical college admission test) tutor. I make $30/hr, and get to help kids study for the test that I took 4 years ago. Everybody wins.
There's not a HUGE demand in my town for tutors, so I'll be happy if I make $500 on this gig before I leave town, but that's still more money than I've ever spent on furnishing an apartment before. I already have students scheduled for $360 worth of tutoring- moderately sized flat screen TV, here I come!!
Anyway, today I was tutoring a girl, and we were reviewing the "physics" section for the test. We were going over the physics sound waves- which maybe I can relate to medical practice since (1) ultrasounds use sound waves to make images, and since (2) understanding the mechanics of sounds conduction in the human ear requires some knowledge of frequency/wavelength. But as we went through the material, we were suddenly talking about resonant frequencies and harmonics. And then about how a pipe has different harmonics if it is open on one end, or both ends. What on earth does this have to do with medicine? I've never used a pipe for anything on any of my patients. And even if I did, I don't think I'd care about its harmonic frequencies.
My conclusion, which I came to years ago when I was studying for the MCAT myself and has been reinforced through my tutoring, is that the MCAT is built purely to test your ability to memorize mundane material. Because, let's face it, most of medicine is mundane memorization. Side effect profiles, protocols and criteria, contraindications and differentials.... when I think about all the mundane information that I carry around with me in the ER, I kind of get why the MCAT is just trying to see if you can memorize weird stuff. So, sorry tutortees, you aren't going to get a ton of sympathy from me. Memorize the harmonics, and then move on with life.
The novel, and the marathon, were both BIG accomplishments for me- and now that I have satisfied those goals, I'm looking forward to paring down my commitment in both areas to (1) short stories and (2) half marathons. Both still require hard work and commitment, but you get the sense of accomplishment MUCH sooner.
One of my favorite book growing up was "The Illustrated Man" by Ray Bradbury, which was a collection of science fiction short stories. I found my copy of it when I was going through boxes in my parent's attic, and it definitely looked well loved. So I've decided to write sci fi short stories on a semi-regular basis. My first one is almost done. And, since it'll be shorter that the novel, hopefully I can put it up here on the internet for easier sharing. Still working on editing the novel before that'll be available (I swear it takes more time to edit than to write).
I haven't been running much since the marathon, which I blame on New England weather. There has been 4-6 inches of snow on the ground continuously for the entire month of January. We just tend to get 2-3 inches every other day, and I'm terrified of running on snow/ice and ripping some tendon in my leg. Plus, it's freaking cold outside. But all excuses aside, I need to do another half marathon. There is one in May in Rhode Island that I'm thinking about doing.
Here's a funny picture from the Marathon trip, of Danny and I putting Spiderman in his place.
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.