Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fourth Year Overview

Fourth year of medical school... ahhhhh.... I get more relaxed just thinking about it.

The general timeline of fourth year is:
    August- submit application to residency (check)
    September and October- receive interview offers (4 so far!!)
    November thru January- interview at programs (expensive flights that time of year...)
    February- rank programs
    March- find out where you matched.
To keep us busy in between all of those things, we have electives and some other requirements that we have to fulfill.

I'm currently on a required rotation called "Community Health".  It's a 6-week elective where I have about 3 hours of lecture a week, and I spend the rest of my time working on my "project".  One of my classmates' "project" is to make a pamphlet for pediatricians' offices about ADHD.  No joke.  6 weeks to make a pamphlet?  AWESOME.  As a 3rd year, I was expected to throw together hour long lectures on one day's notice.  As a 2nd year, I was expected to learn everything there was to know about the human body in 4 weeks for the boards.  As a 1st year, I was expected to memorize ridiculous amounts of anatomy in a few hours of lab time.  But as a 4th year- I've got 6 weeks to make a pamphlet.

Here's another funny 4th-year-quirk that I've noticed.  The process of receiving interview offers is strange.  There are rumors about  programs that send out email invitations to more candidates than they have spots for.  And many programs offer interview dates on a first-come, first-serve basis.  So 4th years are majorly obsessed with checking their email CONSTANTLY, for fear of losing an interview spot because they were slow to respond.  When we are in community health lectures, everyone has their smart phone out on the table, and isn't shy about checking it every few minutes for interview offers.  I've seen 2 of my classmates get up and walk out of the room to call a program back in the middle of lecture.   That would've been SOOO inaappropriate any other year of medical school- but now it's the norm.

Basically, I'm on a $40,000 vacation in lovely New England this year.  I'll send you a postcard.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sexism in Surgery

I've started, and then stopped, writing this post about 15 times.  I've wanted to share some interesting ancedotes about how I have/haven't seen sexism in surgery- but it never comes across as anything interesting or engaging.  Why?  Because quite frankly I don't care that much.  I don't care if I'm treated a little different at times, I don't enjoy making a fuss about it or writing about it.   In general I have a million more pressing concerns that whether or not my breasts affect my brains and my hands.

Until now.

I'm SOOOOOOO freaking annoyed by the process of finding an "appropriate" outfit to wear to my surgery interviews.  First, I was told  I have to wear a pant suit, not a skirt.  Fine.  I'll give up the fact that pants make me look like Hillary Clinton (translation: frumpy) and skirts make me look like Sarah Palin (translations: stylish).  Second, I'm told that I have to wear a plain white button up shirt under my suit.   This irks me a lot.  I genuinly think a plain white shirt looks TERRIBLE under a suit.  I've been told by probably 10 people that it would be absolutly inappropriate to wear anything colored, silky, ruffled, or pretty.  I just feel like wearing a plain white shirt without a tie just makes me look like a sloppy version of a man in a suit.  To have a shirt open at the top like that seems so unprofessional looking.  Not to mention that anything button-up is likely to reveal more cleavage that I want.  I have toyed with the idea of trying to find a tie to go with the suit- but that seems like I'd be trying too hard to be manly. Third, I have to wear heels.  Fourth, I can't carry a purse.

Here's the message I'm getting from everyone I speak to:

 "Dear female surgery applicants, 
        Please dress as much like a man as you can, so that we can maintain our fanatasy of continuing to exist in an all-male world.  So pants suits only, and no purses.  Only white button up collared shirts are allowed (colors and  nice fabrics make us nauseous) but don't wear a tie (we reserve those for the Big Boys).  And please still wear heels- they are just so cute.  And we've heard they are very comfortable.    Sincerely, Everyone."

Below is my attempt to use Google Images to make myself feel better about white shirts without ties.  Thoughts?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cross Training

Marathon training is officially in full swing!  You can check out my widget over there -------->

Every Sunday, though, I'm supposed to do "cross training".    I'm struggling with the best way to do that.  Last week, I went swimming.  It was wonderful- until later that night.   My feet starting coordinating a very elaborate series of cramping patterns that made it pretty much impossible to do anything except sit on the floor, whine, and rub my feet.   Take a look at my right foot.  The big toe is pulled down and over and you can see all the tightened muscles on my foot and ankle.  It hurt a lot more than that picture gives me credit for.
Crampy feet = Crabby Laura.

So no swimming this week.  Here are some of the other things I tried, instead.
Building our tents = building a base?

Lifting a baby = lifting weights? Check out those triceps!
Bonfire at the beach = swimming at the beach?

Running down a dune = running at all?  Not really cross-training...
Hatchet throwing = terrible idea!!!

My final conclusion?  That I have awesome friends, but kinda suck at cross-training.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Isn't It Ironic, Rosie? Don't Ya Think?

I love irony.  It probably competes with puns for for my favorite type of humor.  Allow me to share with you my favorite piece of irony that makes me smile every time I see it.

In case you are visually challenged, it's a pretty pink dust pan that says "Auf geht's Madels!" (German for "Let's go, girls!") and has Rosie the Riveter on it.  In case you are historically challenged, Rosie the Riveter and her cute saying were used to get women into the factories during WWII.

Irony #1-  The saying and image are specifically anti-German. "Let's go, girls!" meant "Let's go build tanks and guns to kill the Germans with, girls!"  So it's ironic to see that phrase written in German, and to sell anything related to Rosie the Riveter in Germany.

Irony #2- Her message is very anti-housework.  Rosie was all about getting women to realize they could do more than housework for their country.  So it's awesomely ironic to put it on a dustpan.

Irony #3-  So I saw this dust pan in a window of a shop in Germany, and I couldn't stop laughing.  It was doubly ironic.  I loved it.  It's actually the only souvenir that I bought from that trip- and I find it ironic that I actually use it as my dustpan.  Not many people would say that my only souvenir from an awesome trip like that should be frequently covered in dirt and grim, but I'm too practical not to use it.

And so, dear Rosie, this dust pan makes me triple-y go against everything you stood for-  I contributed to the German economy, I've done more housework, and I've put filth all over your cute little face.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Used To Put Jell-O In My Hair

There are lots of things that you probably don't know about me, internet world.  Here are three good ones.

I was a synchronized swimmer in middle school, and we had to put jello in our hair to keep it in place during our routines.  Also, my older sister convinced me that really good synchronized swimmers could dive into the pool without getting their hair wet at all.  Think about it.  It's a good way to get your little sister to do a belly flop really hard.

I was a standardized patient in high school.  I was paid to be lectured by budding medical students about contraception and safe sex.  Also, I was scolded at one of my medical school interviews for not putting that experience on my application.  I didn't put it on because (1) it was 6 years ago at that point, (2) it seemed so unrelated to whether or not I was smart enough to be a doctor, (3) and most medical school applications are way too short to put everything you've ever done.  But it happened to casually come up in one of my medical school interviews, and the doctor exclaimed- "Why wasn't that on your application?!  The admission committee loves that kind of crap!"  Yes, he called it crap.  I was tempted to tell him that I my application was already full of other crap- but the statement "my application is full of crap" didn't seem to bode well for me.  I didn't include it on my residency application- hopefully I don't get yelled at again.

I'm a GFGF, x4.  "GFGF?" you say "What's that?".  It's a position that I made up for myself- GodFather's GirlFriend.  Danny has 18 million nieces and nephews, and he is the godfather for all of them.  Okay, maybe he only has 7- but they are all under the age of 6, so it seems like there are 18 million of them.  Anyway, this past weekend I attended yet another baptism, and was the official GFGF again.  The great thing about being the GFGF is that you get to dress up and hold a cute baby, but you don't have to send birthday or Christmas money. Score.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Taking It Like A Surgeon

I've been hanging out with soley surgeons for the last, umm, 5 months.  And surgeons don't make fun of surgeons.  But  I spent today with a bunch of my non-surgeon classmates who DO make fun of surgeons- ie ME.  Here were a few of their better zingers.

     "Hey Laura, do you want a medicine consult for that patient?  They were talking an awful lot."

     "You probably haven't done psychiatry stuff in a long time. Except narcissism."

     "It must be exhausting to spend 4 whole hours with patients who are awake."

Truth?  I can't argue with a single one of those.  This morning was our 4th year OSCE, which is where we see standardized patients all morning who mimic a typical day in a primary care office (back pain, depression, headaches, runny noses) and are observed and graded to make sure that we will be a good doctor.

It was exhausting to talk to people for that long.  They were just all so.... awake.  And they were talking an god-awful amount.   I kept wondering when the anesthesiologist would come in to put them to sleep for me... :-)

It was a fun morning, but it definitely reaffirmed my lack of interest in primary care.  God bless you, primary care physicians, every one.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We're Not In Rhode Island Anymore

Here's what I saw on my run this morning on Florida. What I didn't see was the two stalking me from behind. I think they have organized against us.

In the words of  Jurassic Park- You stare at him, and he just stares right back. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two 'raptors you didn't even know were there.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hyde Park

Hyde Park in Chicago is a beautiful neighborhood.  Unfortunatly, being at the hopsital 15 hours a day isn't conducive to exploring the neighborhood.  So here are all of the pictures I have of my experience there- all of which were taken on my cellphone, on my daily walk between my apartment and the hopsital.