Jan 21, 2011

Unusual plug

Okay, I don't usually just flat out post links, but all the subways are wonky in my neck of the woods (including a shutdown of one station which fortunately isn't mine), and this post was too funny for me to pass up. I wish I'd written it:

FIPS dislikes the new standard

Yes, that's the name of the actual blog. Know it, love it.

Jan 19, 2011

Ow ow ow ow...

So I just did my first time ever ten mile run in a triple loop around Prospect Park, an adventure that seemed like a grand idea until the moment I stopped and went "Wow! That was great; I don't even feel particularly OH MY GOD AAAAHHHHHHHHH", as every muscle in my body took that moment to celebrate the lactic acid build up they'd been accruing for the better part of two hours.

In other news, my attending seems peculiarly proud of me for going into my chosen field, which is a warm breath of fresh air. "You have no interest in my profession? Good for you!!!" He's also a Radiohead devotee, which makes surgery *so* much nicer. And everyone he's done brain/neck/back surgery on so far has been able to move all appendages halfway through anesthesia wake-up and no one's died, so I'm thinking that's a plus. It's less messy than all the abdominal stuff, but gets that bone/bovie/dentist office smell pretty far back in my sinuses, which kind of makes me nostalgic for my bone assembling days.

I also managed to at last secure a thyroid shield during surgery today. This is something that's irked me for a while. There are several types of surgery that require repeated x-rays during the procedure to make sure you don't wedge a tube through someone's kidney or stick a screw into their spinal cord. It also means you can see what you're doing in such spaces without needing to create a huge, infection prone, aesthetically unpleasant hole to do so.

Despite shooting anywhere from two to three dozen images, for the patient, this still doesn't amount to a huge dose of radiation. When you're scrubbed in and are leaning into thirty x-rays day after day, this starts to become a little much. As such, everyone in the room wears heavy-ass lead aprons. And they're good about enforcing that. I actually had to de-scrub and re-scrub one time because I forgot to put mine on after I'd gowned up. The circulating nurse was friendlier than most and made do with only one exclamation about where my brain was.

Problem being, at every hospital, there seems to be a dearth of thyroid shields for the med students, and when I went into urology to try to find one (because I knew they were there because I've seen their stash), was actively told they didn't have *any* back there while the nurse locked the door where four were visible (so I couldn't jack one, which honestly, I would have, though I would have put it back). The I one I found elsewhere, apparently *also* belonged to urology, but I was scrubbed in with it on by the the time someone told me, so ha ha, finders keepers.

The idea of aprons is great, but I have no plan to use my ovaries in the near future. Know what I am using? My thyroid!

This is also contributing to my continued blackheartedness against urology. When I did my mandatory rotation in it during surgery, I got assigned to a complete bastard of an attending that not only went to the Dr. Cox school of teaching but compounded it with sexist crap "Oh, going into pediatrics? Ob Gyn? You want to do Pathology? Oh, so you have time to have a family?" Seriously, guy? Just because you're around dicks all day doesn't mean you have to be one. It's not like being a werewolf.

Annnnnyway, my current attending is a lot nicer. Only two interviews left to go, weather permitting, and I'm officially registered for the 2011 match. Gotta start arranging my match list, which is kind of a tall order. Almost all the places where I've interviewed have had really great people there and they pull in different things. One place will have a ton of compensated offsite electives so you can audition for fellowships; one place has computer software that allows you to view some of your cases from home; one place sends home microscopes with residents; one place has ins with the coroner's so they're never wanting for autopsy numbers; one place has a tight association with a major cancer center, so you get crazy cases, etc etc. Most have warm fuzzy program directors and a pleasant group of residents.

Decisions decisions... a lot of it may just come down to where I want to live, which is also something I'm not sure about since I'm really evenly ripped between wanting to be in a lot of nature and being so spoiled by living in NYC that I wonder if I can get by anywhere smaller than... I dunno, Boston.

And a lot of it will be determined by the way the match operates. Path is a fairly small field, so instead of having 15-20 openings in a moderate sized program, like you'd see with IM or peds, you may have 2-4. Even if they like you, that doesn't leave a lot of room.

Jan 14, 2011

Drinking and brain surgery...

It has been recently brought to my attention that I have increasing time between blog posts, to which I responded something like "I'm not doing anything interesting right now... just drinking and brain surgery... er, not in that order". I'm also losing sight of what constitutes interesting. When I was on the island, at least if people reading this are anything like I was reading other people's blog, I was hanging on every word of people's daily activities because you're in another country. Where I ate, where I shopped, where I did laundry, that is all relevant information.

Now, I live in Brooklyn. Finding awesome things is as easy as throwing a rock in any direction, having the person you hit with the rock flip you off and scream stuff before rooster tailing you with snow, and then look at the business their car was in front of, and boom. Awesomeness.

I'm also not sure how relevant my interview shennanigans are. I ate oysters in New Hampshire, walked around in the Chicago blizzard, walked around in the NYC blizzard, and took a vacation from all this blizzard nonsense to interview a couple of times in New Orleans. The first time, I slept at a hostel in the Garden District, opened my toe in the shower and tracked blood all over the place. The second time, I went with two of my closest friends and stayed at an extremely opulent hotel while drinking hurricanes in a rooftop hot tub, because damn, medical school can be awesome sometimes.

But is that like medical schoolish? Is it Caribbean MDish? Is it travel blogish? I've always kind of wanted Samantha Brown's job.

My father had the whole heart attack thing, and that sucked, to put it in medical terms. I added a trip out to North Carolina for that in the middle of the Snowmagedopocalype of the Century and holy crap why did no one plow? It's frigging LaGuardia for chrissake. And there's the news worthyness of simply being in yet another Brooklyn insane weather moment. There was over a foot of snow on top of my *air conditioner*. There were taxi cabs stranded everywhere and it looked like the Day After Tomorrow. I tried to take a stroll through Rockefeller Plaza to see the tree and possibly take a skate because when the weather alerts on my phone say things like "GET OUT!!! SAVE YOURSELVES!! LEAVE THE CHILDREN!!" I think "Nah... they don't mean me."

Now I'm back in rotations and the interview trail is stammering to a close with a couple more out of state trips and then the blissful rest until March. I think it's going well. I'm doing neurosurgery so I got to touch someone's brain, so that's pretty awesome. No one in NS seems to begrudge my chosen field, which is particularly awesome, since I had one guy in family actually say the phrase "What can I do to keep you from going into pathology?" "Uhhh.... Give me Samantha Brown's job?" I'm also not cut out to wear lead vests. That crap is heavy. For the next surgery, I may just let the x-rays fry my eggs. I don't know how cops and rads techs do it. And lead vests while scrubbed? Good god, they should do that to prisoners. No wonder neurosurgeons and urologists make so much frigging money.

In other news, my doctor is more concerned with my thyroid than I am because apparently it was throwing off some abnormal levels in July, and being a responsible medical student, I ignored it until I needed a prescription renewed. Then my doctor was like "Oh, you need to come see me" which meant "I'm going to recheck your thyroid levels if I have to drag you into this office myself and no more baby-ex for you until you do.". I'm not sure why it's important because so long as it's not flashing in the danger zone, it's not like I'm going to do anything about it. He also seemed really surprised by my reaction to having my blood drawn because first he said "Don't look", and I'm like "Uhhh... no?" And then he said "You weren't scared at all!" "I'm 30. And a medical student. Now give me my Dora the Explorer sticker."

Next month I'm doing anesthesiology because... uh... yeah. Then a couple two week electives, some paperwork, and wow. Lincoln Center. My mom's already planning to cry at the ceremony. I'm just hoping they have a steel drum band. Grenada repreSENT!

Jan 3, 2011

Am I violating some kind of law?

Happy New Year!

Few things...

1. I spent a great deal of my impressionable youth watching a channel known for putting Music on TeleVision film parties at various locations and was convinced I would never be as cool or as in-crowd as the people at those parties who were always screaming, always having a good time, for HOURS.

2. WAY less fun than it looks.

3. Good god, being 18 is boring. I'd forgotten.

4. Cheering actually less spontaneous and more "we're going to do this again until you bastards get this right. Then, we're going to turn the music back off and go back to standing for forty-five minutes with the kind of silence usually reserved for art museums and funerals."

5. Disclaimer: *Crowds may include children, small dogs, and grandparents who wandered by to see who was making sporadic bursts of noise.

6. No alcohol. You monsters. If I weren't doing this partially as some kind of half-ironic, fun with friends, vaguely hipster New York representer, you would have ruined the entire point of going.

7. This town makes Davis look like Miami. Seriously, where the heck can I get some food?

8. Oh good... the next town over has food. Oh man... do not eat fat sandwiches while sober. Scratch that, do not eat fat sandwiches.

9. I really have only the faintest idea who this vodka-drenched gremlin is, but she needs to share whatever's in that cup. I mean "WOOO!!! OH MY GOD!! IT'S THE CHICK FROM TRUE BLOOD!!!!! Wait, that's Sookie. Wait, so Sookie's not coming?"

10. "11:59 on December 31st" looks creepily similar to "about 9:30 on a Thursday night".

11. I think SGU actually approximates the parties I expected in my youth twice a year at a shindig called Sandblast. As a jaded fourth year, I'd say those were also "way less fun than advertised", but that's a complete lie.