Apr 8, 2010

Anesthesia is sweet...

Though I suck at pulmonary physiology and pharmacology, so I think I'll keep on towards path. Plus path makes me really gloriously happy, which causes me (and others) to doubt my sanity.

So in surgery, we have several weeks of 6 AM rising and cranky residents interrupted by anesthesia, which seems to be a specialty that was licked into existence by unicorns. They leave early; they're chill (getting to sleep does that to you) and given the long periods where there is virtually nothing to do, they enjoy talking and teaching, and periodically, dismissing med students to take long lunches mid surgery, because hey, what the hell.

We still tend to have late lectures, which has often left me several hours at the hospital, forced to do something productive like (gasp) study for Step 2. I actually have a date for the CS, which I decided to take in Houston so I could finally see my family again, to whom I've been a distant memory since before I left for Grenada. I'm also studying for the CK, whose date is "sometime in August", doing the delicate balance between giving myself time off to study and rock boards while being well aware through the entire time that our loan distribution is contingent on our actual enrollment in rotations, so eek. Studying or working, I still need rent, people!

But I'm being oddly productive lately because I've started to run out of creative ways to procrastinate. I'm trying to save money by not... oh, going out to bars and overpaying for drinks, but I still like to get out of the house, so I'm running a ton, including a 6.7 mile double loop through Prospect Park today. So my days are largely consumed by working, studying, and exercising. I'm so ashamed.

It's also gotten hot recently, rather abruptly, so we went from snow on the ground to "Holy crap, it's time for me to buy an air conditioner" weather, which is actually really fantastic. I hit the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens last weekend where everything is threatening to bloom, the cherry trees are all opening up and I feel a strange emotion that was probably, oh, licked on by unicorns. I also got Easter off at the last minute when I was *supposed* to be working a 24 hour call by myself, so I'm feeling pretty good. Except my last run is leaving me acutely aware of what "lactic acidosis" feels like.

In other school news, through anesthesia, I finally got in on my first fresh frozen specimen. This and autopsies are really the only thing most pathologists are on "call" for. Essentially, you're in a surgery and you need the results on something to decide how to proceed. In this case, it was lymph node. The pathologist flash freezes it, shaves off pieces in something that looks remarkably like a miniature deli slicer, throws it through the H&E stain, and in minutes, determines whether it's malignant or not. This determines whether the surgeon will close up the patient or perform a multi-hour axillary dissection. While they were dissecting out, I was doing mature things like shifting from foot to foot excitedly and going "When they take it out, do you mind if I follow it to the lab? Pathologists are also a cool lot who seem unused to students giving half a crap about what they do, so ours readily explained it to me while moving at the speed of sound. And I got to run the papers back to the room with the results. I resisted kicking the door open like Batman and shouting "CLOSE HER UP, DOC! IT'S BENIGN!" but only just.

Also, I'm such a dork that finally seeing the H&E staining process was like meeting a rock star. "Oh my gosh... I've heard about you since histology... I love your work in the gallbladder. I never thought I'd actually see you in person. Can I have your autograph?"

Yeah, so I think it's official. It's even so official that I've stopped giving the flip-flop craven med school response of "Oh, I'm keeping my options open, but I really like surgery" and just blurt out "I like pathology". This usually invites a sort of "Um... oh. Well, someone needs to do it!" response, or the haters, who just think I want sweet hours so I can occupy my time making babies, or something. The rest just go with the general assumption that I wasn't hugged enough as a child.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ishie,
Let me know if you want to share a beer when you come to Houston. I'm off to the rock tomorrow for two weeks. Needed a break.

Anonymous said...

Licked into existence by unicorns? Just like bubble wrap, this blog never ceases to amuse!