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.

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