May 10, 2010

As soon as it was over...

it begins again!

Except this time, I'm chasing the specialty that I want... ah, the beginning of fourth year. It seems like not too long ago (Friday), I was a lowly third year, new in the ways of the world before a new day dawned (Saturday) and all the wisdom of the profession was passed down to me.

Or something. Plus I went to Fat Cat so that Lori and I had a contest over who could suck more at pool. Then my boyfriend stepped up and was gracious enough to not destroy me immediately.

Whenever I feel like I don't know enough in medicine and I'm not studying enough and I'm dumb and stupid and I'll never be a real doctor, I need to play pool, because holy crap, I can cram decent knowledge into my brain when I have to, but I have the hand-eye coordination of a brain damaged rhesus monkey. Another good reason not to go into surgery. My real life scratch on the eight ball could have me jamming a kelly clamp into someone's hypothalamus, and I'm told the hospital's insurance company frowns on that.

But I started my pathology rotation at a new hospital! The path part was cool, but I'm discovering a few things... I'd say that being at a new hospital is like being the new kid in school, except it's more like being the new kid in school if you started in the middle of summer vacation. The crop of third year clinicals don't start at that hospital for another one or two weeks and most of my now fourth year colleagues were smart enough to give themselves a break now, so I was virtually the only medical student wandering around this giant hospital, and the only one in my rotation.

I'm also discovering that while I love love love looking at slides while attendings teach me (!!!), I need some damn Bonine or something because I was getting seasick. I actually had to close my eyes a few times while we were reviewing pap smear slides because I had that icky feeling I got when I went up the windy road to Fish Friday. Is there any way to man up your middle ear? That's pathetic.

The attendings are really nice so far, and they already know that I'm almost certain I want to go into their profession. This lays on the extra pressure of my being the only student *and* I don't have the "I don't need to know this" excuse, because even if it is too high tech for the boards, I'm going to need it in the long run.

I'm already mourning the loss of our free meal passes at my old hospital too. I was bone dead tired this morning so ran down to the cafeteria to pay for my coffee... later pay for my lunch... the horror! After nearly a year of running to the grocery store virtually never, the first thing I did on my way home was stop and get portable lunches. Momma needs rent money, and that is not going to go to paying 8 dollars a day for crappy hospital food.

May 8, 2010

Holy crap; I'm a fourth year


Seriously, wow... when I first came to Grenada, I was staring at second termers in awe because they were... wait for it, almost a year into medical school! Now, with the completion of my surgery written exam, I'm officially done with third year. Like donezo. Like applying for a residency this year. Like going to have "MD" after my name in a year. Like... actually will be able to draw a paycheck rather than just hemorrhaging Citibank's money in the hopes they'll never cut me off.

I'm not sure if I'm going to feel more ready to be a doctor in a year. I think I expected some sort of transition through medical school where I felt like a doctor at the end of it, or near the end of it, but instead it's just sort of an insidious thing that creeps in while you remain petrified that you have no real doctoring skills and feel just as inept as you did after your freshman year of high school. But I find it harder and harder to have totally un-medicine related discussions. I have a bunch of interests, but stuff creeps in... there's analogies... "man, this song is so bad, I'd rather hold retraction for a whipple on a 450 lb patient than listen to it again"... ya know, normal stuff.

I also have moments of "Hey the training paid off clarity" when I'm in clinic and a patient begins to describe a symptom, and I can rattle off all the other symptoms they're about to say in my head because I know what they have. Then some friend or family asks me some extremely simple question (So why do you get that stitch in your side when you run?) and I just look at them blankly and wonder where all my money (by which I mean Citibank's) is going.

Bahhhhh but no more surgery! No more third year! Conceivably I don't have to be on call again unless I schedule a rotation that requires on call time. I'm "studying for CS" and "taking a month off for interviews" and the rest of the fourth year lexicon. I'm pass/fail for the next year. Weird. I'll be the highest level of short white coat in the hospital, which still has me outranked by... everyone except the third years.

Naturally, this even required celebration, meaning that pretty much immediately after the exam, we migrated en masse to a student's rooftop to do what carless medical students do when they celebrate... To give you some idea of the day I've had, we got out of the exam around 11 AM and I just got home, albeit the last hour was largely influenced by the F train's insistence on sucking. Three trains and a shuttle later, that I wound up getting off in... let's just say a part of town where I didn't feel snuggly and warm standing by myself on a corner in a bright red dress, so I caved and took a taxi. The horror.

Oh, which reminds me of my latest pet peeve. Everyone has GPS. I even have a GPS and I don't have a car. WHY have the last 12 taxis I've gotten into (and having me get into a taxi is relatively rare) asked me how to get to my location? And it doesn't matter where. "Brooklyn Bridge please." "Oh, how do you get there?" "Um... drive downhill until you hit water; I don't frigging know." To me the city is a series of completely disconnected epicenters around subway stops. I have no idea how to logically connect them, and certainly not within the framework of legal traffic patterns. And every minute you sit in a cab (like frantically pulling up the directions on your phone), you're paying. I'm also not a fan of the phenomenon of getting a cab in Brooklyn and having them waffle, refuse to take you, or try to charge more if you're going to another place in Brooklyn. Manhattan is amply served by subways. Areas of Brooklyn, less so. Just drive me to my destination and shut up. I'm not paying you forty dollars to take me to Manhattan slower than the subway takes to get there. Except the F train.

Monday I start my official pathology rotation (rather than the unofficial one I was making out of surgery), and I'm excited. My first rotation of fourth year! Celebration will continue through the weekend, so long as mother nature doesn't conspire to ruin it.