Mar 31, 2011

Capitalism marches on...

After some end of school celebration (and what may be a case of pink eye), I decided one of my first acts as a doctor should be to attach something mercenary to my blog with the sole interest of getting money in the bank. If anyone wants me after this, I'll be overcharging Medicaid for unnecessary tests and double billing the whole thing. Bwa ha ha ha!!!!!

But for now, I'm keeping it to the google ads, which incidentally, if you click on them, I get money. If you do not click on them, the money is given to a fund dedicated to sucker-punching blinded war orphans. I know, I thought it was extreme too.

So that's my little plea to you fine people. Feel free to ignore it as readily as I ignore the little punks at Atlantic terminal that want 20 bucks from me for their "team uniforms".

In other news, I'm... working, speaking of capitalism. Friday, I'll be hanging, and Saturday, I'll be helping with and attending my very first baby shower. And no, it isn't for me. Any suggestions from you seasoned partyplanners? I'm told these things don't usually involve three crates of homebrewed beer and male strippers, so my hands are just completely tied here.

Mar 29, 2011

Shouldn't I be done with rejection?

Back when I was unsuccessfully applying to American medical schools, paper still ruled and the fact that I got an email from my home program rejecting me 6 months after I sent them my application (from the same city) was a source of puffed up ire for me.

Now, the fact that ERAS (and I imagine, AMCAS) has gotten everything into a neat package to be emailed around at whim is extremely convenient, and I do not miss paper in the slightest. That being said, the ease with which emails are sent leads to things like the the following:

-Rejection a week before the rank list was due.
-Predated invitation to a highly desirable and unlikely to interview me program sent the day after the rank list was due.
-Apology for fake emailed predated invitation.

-Interview rejection more than a week after Match Day! Slow clap, Colorado. Stay classy.

Mar 25, 2011


Last day of school EVER.

I mean, all right, residency is an endless learning process and there's still tests and such, but this is the last time, unless I invest in some adult education classes down the road, that I have to pay for work. With the exception of a few lulls, I've been in school since preschool. And since I was about 13, I've wanted to end up, well... here.

If all the paperwork goes through on time, I should be a doctor-fo-life as of April 8th.

I keep thinking a truck's going to hit me or something. It can't all be over with so little... whatever after literally decades of going at it. I mean, tomorrow, I'm probably going to go in, watch my attending round, have her forget about me for an hour, so I'll watch the rest of Wall-E on my iPhone, and then I'll follow her around a bit more, ask her to fill out my form, run the last paperwork up to my clinical coordinator, take my short white coat off, stuff it back into my Urban Outfitters bag (I threw up in my Trader Joe's bag; more on that in a second) stick my headphones in my ears, and take the train home. Same as any other day. Except I never have to do it again, and then I'll move to South Carolina where the weather is warm, the rents are cheap, and the palmetto bugs are terrifying.

To hinder my celebratory airs a bit, I got quite suddenly attacked by what seems to be a rollicking case of either norovirus or adenovirus. I was out at Other-Job, which is WAY the heck down on Long Island. Great job; long commute.

Suddenly, intense nausea, like run for it nausea, and I end up the one with my face against the tiles in the bathroom, because that seems to be the best medical treatment for vomiting - bathroom tiles to the face and a friend outside the door going "you okay?".

The problem? I'm an hour an half from home. There is NO easy way to get there. It takes over an hour by car when the weather has not been yet again set to "Apocalypse", so I'm forced to make a last minute run for the only train for the next hour.

It required four years of college and four years of medical school to bring me to this conclusion but:

Running + Extreme nausea = Bad

The doors close on the train with the characteristic Boooomp Boomp! Which is precisely how much time I have before freeing the beast into my grocery bag onto my white coat.


I had just been planning on burning the thing, but I suppose covering it in bile and partially digested peanut butter crackers works toward the same goal.

I collapse into the big bench seats with my feet up (not allowed) and I'm starting to get a good fever on by this point, so I'm lying there shaking and periodically vomiting and just REALLY hoping that the conductor will just take my ticket and not kick me off the train into the thunder-snow-hail because he thinks I'm drunk.

The train wasn't that crowded (thank goodness) but I became truly appreciative of the polite indifference of everyone in this city... The conductor took my ticket like normal, without comment, but didn't make me sit up, pull my feet off the seat, or... stop throwing up on his train. Other passengers left me alone pretty much entirely. Benevolence by indifference. I'm for it.

It still may have been about the worst 90 minutes of my life though. I've seen commercials for reality shows that seem designed to embarrass fat people into not being fat, and there's always a clip of a 300 pounder collapsing after her 10th sit up, and a personal trainer is yelling at her, and she's just going "I can't.... I can't" and crying?

I now have more sympathy for those people because when you're still retching uncontrollably LONG after all fluids have left your body, that's how it feels. Your abs are contracting against your will and you're weeping and going "I can't!!! I can't!!! No more involuntary sit-ups!"

So that was fun. But I did manage to get home and now I'm trying to brush it off in time for my partying to begin tomorrow night. Let's see how it goes.

One more day!

Mar 17, 2011

First choice!!!!!!!!

Pathology in Charleston, SC. Mega ecstasy bliss!!!!!!!

Partying now!!!!!

Brief synopsis...

The timeline of all this stuff comes out through this blog if you read from the beginning, of course, but who on earth wants to do that? Thinking back on everything, and with prospective students I talk to, the entire process of becoming a doctor is frigging confusing.

In other news, after over a year of my mother's pleading, I have a new profile picture. Kagome is dead. I'm probably going to give her about a month of peace before I switch to Ed from Cowboy Bebop, because that's how I roll.

The cliff notes of what I've been doing:
-finish bachelor's of sciences in US while taking MCAT (difficult but moderately priced test)
-2 years of basic sciences in the Caribbean. A more clever blogger than I referred to this as the Bob Marley School of Medicine.
-USMLE Step 1 (giant expensive test)
-1 year of core rotations (internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, psych, OB/Gyn, etc) at a hospital in Brooklyn;
-USMLE Step 2 CS/Step 2 CK (two giant expensive tests)
-1 year of elective rotations at varying hospitals (okay, still in BK; I'm lazy)
-Graduate with Medical Degree
-Obtain ECFMG certificate (that's a bonus for us foreign kids)

FWI, you're still paying for all of this at this stage. For the last two years, you work in a hospital, but you are a paying student.

During this time, you must secure a residency for when you are out of medical school or you can be a doctor all you want, but you can't practice. A residency is additional training, for which you are paid, and this is what trains you to your specialty. Anyone graduating medical school is a doctor, but only people completing a pediatric residency are pediatricians. The process of securing a residency (since everyone's applying for them at the same time) is called the Match.

The Match:
-September through February of last academic year, choose a medicine specialty you want to practice and apply through a paid central database to programs you select.
-During this time, those programs that want to interview you grant you dates for them. You attend as many as you are able
-Mid February: submit a rank list. This is your favorite programs in order from top to bottom of your preference. How you rank stuff is up to you... location, training, prestige, hotness of fellow residents, etc. The programs are simultaneously ranking you.
-February to March: The central computers match up (get it?) applicants to programs. Programs with unfilled residency spots lose thousands of dollars for having those spots vacant. Applicants with no programs are jobless for a year while their loans go into repayment. Stakes are high. The computer uses an algorithm that tries to match the highest ranking applicant to the highest ranking program. If Pediatrics at Tulane loves Lucy and Lucy loves Tulane, and neither Tulane nor Lucy love anyone more. Match. This takes a while.
-Third Monday in March: Black Monday. The computers release whether students have successfully matched. Location is not disclosed.
-Tuesday-Thursday: Scramble: A list of the programs with unfilled positions is released to the unmatched applicants and a predictable clusterf-- of frantic emailing, faxing, and calling ensues. Applicants may have to switch specialties and explore other geographic regions to ensure a job.
-Thursday: Match Day. At noon EDT, the names of the programs are released to the people that matched there. Most American medical schools have a large ceremony to commemorate this. Some friends and I are making our own.

The name and specialty that is released on Thursday is where you are contractually obligated to go on July 1st of that year to begin residency training. The first year of residency (which used to be more of a transitional year, though now there are still transitional years and preliminary years) is what most people think of when they refer to "interns".

Usually, after your first year of residency, you take USMLE Step 3 (giant expensive test).
Near the end of your residency, you take the board exams (massive excruciatingly expensive tests) for that specialty. You also start a version of the Match all over again around then if you're applying for a fellowship, which is yet another 1-2 years of training for subspecialty fields (like pediatric cardiology).

So there we go... a probably largely unnecessary "Becoming a Doctor for Dummies" guide. Now back to being excited for the big reveal in ten hours.

Mar 16, 2011

Much love

to you guys in the trenches that are having to deal with this scramble nonsense this year with the server crashes. I can't even imagine what that must feel like, but my thoughts and hopes are with you. Good luck!!!!!!!!!

Mar 14, 2011

America! F- yeah!!

I MATCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


After March 25th, I am done with school forever, and I have a big-girl doctor job waiting for me in July. On Thursday, I find out where I'm going, but I did it!!!!!!

Mar 6, 2011

Everyone's leaving :(

Since I'm January class, people are finishing their clinicals at vastly different times since you can do anything from back to back everything and finish by December 31st or stretch the pain out until the beginning of June if you want scads of time off.

Everyone's also running really low on cash since all that extra time gives us loan check-less windows, so people are gradually dispersing back to their respective homes, which is sad. I know I'll see them again at graduation, but still. It's Grenada all over again; I get busy for a few days and then three people have left and I'm like "Wait... you're... gone? For reals? Oh..."

As of March 25th, I'm done with school. Forever. That is extremely frigging weird.

Less than two weeks until Match Day now. There's just really not much to say.

So what have I been up to then... I got to make and bottle my own beer for the first time, so now I'm the proud owner of 20 22oz bottles of dark beer, an amsterdam style and a wheat beer. I was part-creator of the wheat beer.

I'm doing radiation oncology, which is hitting me in the face with a whole new realm of medicine I knew absolutely nothing about, barring the words "prostate cancer". Usually I can BS along when being pimped, but this week's question was "Do you know what a linear accelerator is?" In what was probably the most intelligent answer, I've *ever* given, I cleanly stated "No." Not even going to try, homeboy.

I've gotten to be in the room where they actually give the radiation (not *while* they give it. In contrast to most of the giant intimidating machines in radiology, this one not only says "Danger" on the door, but "GRAVE Danger". Yikes). In fairness, the patients come out of it with little to few symptoms. In set up, it looks like a room where someone would try to kill James Bond.

This rotation has its own physicist... like PhD only, locked in a dark room surrounded by books with more diagrams than words and computers physicist.

I think this also may be the one field of medicine I genuinely couldn't do. While pathology is my life's love, I feel like with appropriate training, I *could* be a proficient surgeon, internist, dermatologist, hell, even pediatrician, but if you stick me in a room with the hard sciences and ask me to run quality control on a computer that is calculating frequencies and wavelengths on gamma rays that are being aimed at genitals, I am absolutely one hundred percent going to kill someone. I can't even divide a bar tab.

On a related note, anyone know anything awesome going on in NYC for Mardi Gras that's cheap? And no, $40 isn't cheap.