Jun 23, 2010

Oh well whatever nevermind

Against all odds, my bag was recovered today AND the people on the phone through AA's lost luggage line were nice and polite. I had pretty much kissed off seeing my stuff again and also figured I'd have to get and finish a residency and hire a lawyer before I'd see any compensation.

I also sacrificed another year of my life to get a new phone. It's shiny. I'm getting used to having manual keys to type again.

In even more unbelievable news, today I... comforted a child. Somewhat successfully. I feel like now I should be in a CS advertisement jumping up in the air and high fiving something, since my usual response to human suffering is profound and visibly awkward discomfort. Maybe that studying paid off.

Jun 22, 2010

Luggage gone again...

Hmmm... brief synopsis that will be elaborated on later because my days up until yesterday were spent studying for Step 2 CS, flying to Houston to take my CS, and then hanging with family in Houston, and since then I've been alternately trying to figure out how to get my luggage back and how to get my insurance to give me a new phone since mine's broken. Which makes getting luggage back more fun...

So... CS: stressful, but not as stressful as I was expecting considering forced human interaction with people who are judging me is where I excel least (hello pathology!). Can't detail too much on the exam because they threaten us with death or something equally bad like not being allowed to take CK or something. Wait...

Also, practicing for CS is not only a good idea, but fun. I got to treat my boyfriend for 'lady bits problems' and discovered a crashing deficit in my bedside manner when I was practicing on my friend... you see, the chief complaint that was yelled to me (our version of the doorway information) was "fatigue". I open my door and there is my friend sitting there with my silk robe on backwards and her eye blacked out with makeup. After my first staccato burst of laughter, I extend my hand and find both of her arms similarly darkened.

So my response to the investigation of domestic violence is to laugh uncontrollably for 15 minutes while attempting to conduct an interview and being completely unable to look at the patient's face. FAIL.

Seeing family: Awesome! My little cousins are people now. They're also more polite than I am and address me by name and title, whereas I usually get people's attention by either saying "Hey!" or more frequently, by wandering obliviously down the street attached to my ipod until someone who wants my attention has to physically grab me.

The littlest one also wants to be a doctor because she wants to give shots, and asked if I brought any. Which is absolutely not weird. The older one shares my Wii addiction and my unnatural love of the show Avatar: the Last Airbender. I'll add in that my love of True Blood fills out my diet with enough mindless sex and violence that it justifies my addition to a Nick toons show, thus I maintain my legal status as a grown-up. My big cousins plied me with wine and explained the whole oil crisis since as a proper medical student, I have absolutely no idea what's going on in the outside world at any time and my grasp of the BP situation involved a vague depression and pictures of dead pelicans.

In other news, hi guys!

My aunt and uncle took me to a little place called Spring which I liked and reminded me of Woodstock, if someone turned the thermostat up 20 degrees. I also ate BBQ with gusto since it tends to be of not fantastic quality and prohibitively expensive in NYC. I also got to make multiple car trips to the store which is a convenience I had not realized how badly I missed until I was tucked safely and comfortably in the backseat of an air conditioned ride rather than rammed up against a hobo and a busker with my food for the next week determined by how much upper body stength I have (spoiler: none).

I shopped before I left and I shopped while I was in Texas. This is relevant because it allows me to say that pretty much *everything* lost in my carry-on luggage was brand spanking new. And I very rarely shop for clothes, so it was a particularly harsh blow.

I've had luggage lost so many times that by the time I flew to NYC for my current stay, my luggage was labeled all over with Sharpie marker with my contact information, had ribbons tied on the handles, and was wrapped in fluorescent duct tape. I'm not making that up. Since flying now carries the added fun of a 25 dollar fee and I'm tired of losing my shit, I put everything in carry on. Including my stethoscope, white coat, PD kit, and all that fun stuff (that I needed today!). So imagine my surprise when as I went through the gate to my flight, my carry on (fortunately not my purse) as well as most other people's was marked "Valet" and stuck in the side of the plane. Since I never planned on letting that bag leave my sight, it wasn't well labeled.

So naturally, as soon as I got to Dallas, someone grabbed my bag instead of his and apparently disappeared off the face of the planet, leaving his bag with me, which I promptly turned over to lost luggage in Dallas because I'm a moron unfamiliar with the art of blackmail. Best part is... since it was never formally 'checked', I can't actually prove I ever had it. So I may be out the possibly ~800 dollars worth of stuff in that bag that was of a cost and emotional value which they recommend you don't check... *which is why I didn't*.

I put all of that aside to go out to watch True Blood at a bar with my friends last night, cause you know, you gotta prioritize, at which point my phone went from "almost dead" to "dead". So I end up having to call others so they can call my voicemail to listen to my messages to determine whether my bag's been found.


But whatever. I started pediatric heme/onc today and it's pretty cool, features an insanely nice nurse, plus nothing minimizes an extraordinarily aggravating couple of days like seeing 6 year old cancer patients. It's hard to even stay really pissed off. "I'm having the worst day with my luggage and my phone and I had to circle LGA for an hour and..." "My hair fell out but they gave me this great wig. Can I watch Ratatouille during my chemo sessions?" "Uhhh.. have a cookie." "I can't; I'm NPO."

Oh, in that direction, while practicing for the CS, the First Aid gives you these often off-the-wall 'patient questions' that are designed to throw you off guard to determine your response to being put on the spot. They range from "am I going to die?" to "What does 'ultrasound' mean"? They dispense with the normal answers of "No" and "it's a test" in favor of a paragraph of feel-good that I found rather silly.

Until today. Had a "Will I be able to make the trip" question that sounded like it was lifted directly out of the pages of the First Aid, and then not one but two "Why does she keep complaining of being cold and shivering when her temperature is so high?" that wasn't in First Aid, but should have been. Hopefully the practice paid off for something, because I felt like I could give pretty good answers and empathized well. And even for real empathy. Also, heme/onc moms seem to be a relatively forgiving lot and are used to medical students asking them a crap-ton of questions they've answered seventeen billion times, so it worked.

Jun 10, 2010

When is an emergency not an emergency?

Naturally, the second I have a week off, I revert to my midnight owl schedule, which put me at my prime study hour just in time to hear annoying jangling outside my window for long enough that I finally looked out it.

In time to see one of our friendly neighborhood street rats brandish his giant novelty-sized bike-lock pruning shears, put them away, and ride off on his newly found prize.

Bah... so I uttered an ineffective "Hey!" out the window, tempted to run him down swatting him in the head like our falafel guy did when someone tried to jack a bike out of our apartment (love you, Mohammad, seriously, and your shwarma is the frigging bomb), but by the time I got jeans on and went outside, he was already ineffectively weaving up the street...

Leaving me with a dilemma... this is not my bicycle thus I can't really identify it or prove it isn't this kid's (though the shears might), and the perpetrator is currently escaping with slim odds, I would think, that someone is going to pull up and catch him by the time I run upstairs and call the police.

So who do you call? The last time 911 and I had a friendly chat, it was for a three year old that was sans a heartbeat, which tends to be the level of emergency I do not want getting preempted for bike theft. So I called 311, due to their effectiveness at shutting up noisy buttholes at my friends' place, but then they promptly forwarded me to 911, who seemed interested but vaguely confused as to why I was calling them. Then they called me back three times to get a better description, so I guess they care after all. But if you see a blurb in the paper about some high strung female who called 911 due to seeing a kid with bike clips outside her apartment, don't blame me. I called information.

Jun 7, 2010

Another test already?

But I just took the Step 1 like... oh, over a year ago. But still.

I'm going to take the Step 2 CS in about a week and a half. This is a really different exam than all the others in that it costs nearly twice as frigging much and I actually have to play doctor with actors rather than banging out multiple choice questions on a computer screen.

The problem with this exam is that it has a really high pass rate, which sounds like a good thing, but that ends up serving to make you feel really bad if you're in that 10 percent that fails it, and given my proclivity to blurt out nerdy inappropriate jokes when I'm stressed, that just has "train wreck" written all over it.

Nah, but it's all good. It's an opportunity to go to Houston and finally see family again! Huzzah! And I'm actually really excited about that. So fake patients do your worst. Actually, don't. Be nice to me so I can play with my cousins.

Because I don't want to blow off the exam and I was being creative with my scheduling, I now have a week off post-pathology rotation, which I'm going to dedicate to practicing and studying for the test so I can enjoy my Texas time. I'm also going to enjoy the opportunity to sleep in and *not* have a 45 minute train ride each morning.

Not that I can really bitch about my last rotation. It was pretty awesome, everyone was nice to me; everyone showed me around; I got to see all the labs, and since path is a heavy laboratory specialty, the staff offset my expected cost of eating disgusting overpriced hospital food by bringing goodies in damn near every day. In unrelated news, I'm upping my run-time in Prospect Park despite the stifling humidity because I refuse to buy new jeans to accommodate an expanding posterior surface.

I started getting confident with the microscope, which makes me happy. I'm not confident with diagnosing what's on the microscope (though now I can find H. pylori!) but I can swap those lenses out and zoom in on problem areas with ease. I got to see an autopsy, which kept me hovering near the back room like a vulture for half the day because I didn't want them to start without me. I stayed late a lot largely because I wanted to make a good impression on the denizens of my future career, but also because I had access to my own microscope, a computer, and air conditioning.

Speaking of that last one, I caved. I can't do another summer, particularly with all New Yorkers talking about how mild the last one I suffered through was. Home Depot was having an online sale and now I'm just checking the order status every five minutes to see if they shipped my A/C yet. I'm giddy with the anticipation. Especially with a late summer several-week study session for the Step 2 CK (the computer exam), I'm going to be sweating enough from the mental beating UWorld gives me; I don't need to add constant sticky heat and sleeping on ice packs.

Being in the specialty of my dreams didn't keep me from recreating though... I went stereotype NYC for Memorial Day by escaping the city on a camping trip up to the Adirondacks, which was phenomenal and refreshed my desire to apply to residency in some more rural locations to get my nature vibe back. I also went with the most prepared camper in the world, who not only brings the stuff I forget (like flashlights, maps, tent poles, and similar little stuff) but a tournament beer pong table, an air mattress that is larger and more comfortable than my actual (bunk) bed, and three dogs.

The weekend before that was Jersey pool party weekend... Now this weekend was... uhhh... let's just say it involved Williamsburg, Zombie Hut, an insane hunt for pommes frites, and dozing off in our deck's new pool at 4 AM. And by pool, I mean "We now have a plastic kiddie pool on our porch that we fill from the sink." Looking at that plus the 6 and a half foot plastic mannequin standing vigilant over it, my roommmate muttered something to the effect of "We are such hipster trash." Heh.