Aug 26, 2012

I'm not quite dead...

That's a topic I've undoubtedly used before, but despite buying an Autopsy Scully action figure *and* inexplicably watching episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I need the nerd street cred that quoting Monty Python affords me.

Why haven't I blogged?  July was full of autopsy, so again, full of mystery, intrigue, but I can't share any of them with you because nyah nyah, I know something you don't.

Seriously though guys... don't wear ironic t-shirts if you're about to embark on something stupid and dangerous.  The emotion between "that's tragic" and "that's hilarious" is like "smelling purple" or "hearing cinnamon" and it's uncomfortable to experience since they don't let us drop acid.  On the plus side, if hell exists, I'm reserved for the VIP lounge.

August has just been full.  I've been on blood bank, which is usually a good opportunity to catch up on back projects and read webcomics, but it's decided to envy autopsy's weirdness and just stepped up the game this month so I've been putting out fires every day.

Speaking of which... if you're not actively in surgery, and I page you, call me the frick back.  I went to medical school, I have your status, and I'm getting ticked.  If I need to clear something with you, and I need your authorization, you have made me a servant to my phone, requiring me to ask someone to babysit it if I use the restroom, and makes me paranoid about having to use it to call the other four clinicians that are ignoring me later.

So because I'm a bastard, I tuck in my heels.  Here's the story, ladies.  If you need authorization that requires special attention, your patient isn't actively bleeding to death, and you need product, and you haven't called me back yet to explain WHY you need product despite your patient's numbers being adequate, NO.  I don't care how many times your nurses have called in the order to the blood bank despite providing no further information, the answer is no.  Now, you can repeat page other residents into relenting because they're sick of getting paged for authorization, but I'm not one of them.  Oh yeah, and I will *keep* paging you.  And I'll call the department you're in, talk to your staff, and confirm whether you're in the OR.  And depending on the rarity of the order, I may speakerphone you in there.  And if you're not in the OR, NO.

Usually, the matter can be cleared up in under three minutes.  "Oh, you want the platelets above 100 before you discharge the pati... NO."  "Oh, the patient is going in for neurosurgery today?  Useful information, fellow doctor!  Absolutely yes!  Wouldn't that have been easier to tell me three hours ago?  Because you know giving people useless blood products causes them to develop antibodies that make them hard to transfuse later right?  And although rare, transfusions expose them to infectious disease risk?  Which is why we're being obnoxious about this?  You didn't??  Wow, guess you should have called me back.  I'm full of useful information.  Ask me about how useless it is to dump platelets into uremic patients.  Addendum, I'm not authorizing more platelets for your uremic patient.  Dialysis is your friend."

Addendum in chemistry:  If you call me at two in the morning because you don't want to retake a patient's blood sample, and you got a specimen kicked back because it has the wrong label on the tube in a bag with the right labels, ABSOLUTELY NO.  For two reasons: One- the petulant, I can't believe you're waking me up with this.  Two- the 'this is my patient too', new studies have shown that 30% of relabeled specimens do not match the DNA of the patient you super pinky best friend swore to me is the right patient.

And so help me, if I found out you restuck them after saying "Sorry we have to do this: Pathology lost the specimen", I will hunt you down and make you spectate a decomp autopsy.  And there ain't no Vicks up in our house.

So that's the fun work stuff... now some play...

A few weeks back, our knowledge of meteorology and sailing were both tested heavily.  As Roommate, Friend We Drag Into This Weekly, and I were having a pretty solid run around the harbor, we saw two other hobie cats hauling ass back towards us, and more critically, to the launch site.  This would be a clue to most people but we were like "Hmm.  Curious."

A quick word about our launch site.  Despite our miles of beaches around here, we can only find one rocky, heavy ship traffic site where we're allowed to launch for less than 2000 dollars a year (literal number).  This site is extremely susceptible to tides so we are in a perpetual balance between "three girls drag the boat and trailer over a hundred yards of beach" to having just the dirt parking lot, rocks, and *no beach*.  At the time all this was going down, we were at *no beach".  Our plan, since we got out late, was to wait out the tide, and head back with a nice strip of beach but not a long one.  Brilliant, right?  Work smart, not hard.

Unfortunately, as we obliviously sailed onward that day, we saw lightning streak down over the city.  And then another.  And another.

"Rut roh," we thought calmly, realizing we were now the sole 20 foot lightning rod in the middle of angry seas, as we spun the boat around and ran screaming back to shore with the ever increasing wind coming up.  Since the wind was now gusting, we had to continuously kill our momentum to prevent "pitch poling", which is a cute name for what happens when the front of your boat starts to dip down and then that's the last thing you see before being catapulted at launch speed into your mast like Wile E. Coyote.  Not good.

We get to the rocks and since we do not want to punch a hole in our boat (as the people did the week before), we are attempting to drop the sails in the water before we get it on the trailer on the back of the car because it is one hundred percent possible to capsize on land.  And so while "Why did I sign up for this?" girl is desperately holding onto the front of the boat while simultaneously getting beaten up by it and the ocean, Roomie is running to bring the car, and I am clinging to the trampoline (the 'deck' of a catamaran) mid motion sick trying to yank down the sails.  A few other guys who were in line to get out of the water helped us and we were able to push the boat onto the trailer after a near catastrophe, pull it out, and drop the mast about 10 minutes before the storm hit us.

We kind of skulked home broken and drank beer.  Sailor fail.

So that was that.  I decided to take a break from near death weekend leisure so spent the next two weekends traveling.

First stop, final farewell to one of my closest friends up in Charlotte as she departs Americaland for the great uncharted northern region known to some as "French Canada (is the best Canada)".  She gave me many things, among which was a collection of X-Files DVDs (woot!), a Jagger shirt, and the chair for my fabulous new Ikea desk, since Charlotte contains that sweet sweet piece of Swedish ingenuity that Charleston still lacks.  And Waffle House breakfast because it's the cure for beer all night.

Took a two day vacay from blood bank over the next weekend and headed back up to NYC for an impromptu class reunion, and got to stay with my wonderful NY-roommate.

While there, I had a rather odd request.  You see after that way back fire, everyone really came together for me, but one attending in particular totally blew my mind.  This attending also comes through for everyone, to extremes.  You become afraid to ask him for help because if you accidentally page him at home (which he's never at home), if you ask him to look at something with you casually, he will drive to the hospital and help you until you're helped.  He's that guy.

So tech and I were trying to figure out to do for this man since it's impossible to give him anything because he'll give it away.  He likes a textbook that happened to be written by a man who is still alive and practices at Bellevue.  Which is coincidentally, about three blocks away from my favorite Indian restaurant.

So roomie and I, and roomie has never met this attending, navigate the... interesting corridors that comprise Bellevue's emergency room as I clutch my book to get signed.

Lemme tell you... it's a close call, but I think dodging a "Code Brown" to ask a physician for a picture and autograph may even be geekier than the time I asked Mitch Pileggi to hug me, but it's a close call.

The author was an exceptionally good sport, and we put a chuck on a flat surface so he could sign the book without getting it coated in partially dried blood.

The follow up to this was on Monday, I also smuggled back some Russ and Daughters bagels since this guy likes NY bagels/pizza (who doesn't??) too.  I like to multitask my vacations.

The rest of the weekend, which included a trip to the Jersey shore (not that one) to see even more friends from NY years was kind of an indulgent blur of massive quantities of excellent wine, excellent food, excellent entertainment, half a glass of gin spilled over the top of my head, and about ten seconds where I thought a burlesque dancer's albino burmese python (not a euphemism) was going to bite me in the face.

Me: "Gods, I need to wash up before I go to bed."
Roomie: "Do you?  You still look fine."
Me: "I have simple syrup in my hair."

But we got this sunset!!

So yes.  Need to get up to NYC more often.

Speaking of travel, I'm also heading to San Diego in the near future, which is a work thing, but come on, San Diego.  And airfare/hotel covered.  I'll take more pictures there.  I've been terrible about photos lately, and managed to escape from NYC with two.  Literally.

What else.  Another fire update!  This freaking thing has more parts than the USMLE, and the USMLE is 2.5 steps too long.

Anooother call with little notice from the victim's advocate office!  And it'd be super helpful for me to be there!  So more time off work!  And boy-roomie would be coming, and he totally didn't!  So I got to sit for an hour hoping he would!  And then got to go into court again and talk about how much it sucked which totally makes it hard to *move on* despite it having been months!  And his brother (who was involved but they can't prove it) smirked at me the whole time I was talking!  And he pleaded no contest which means "I'm guilty but I'm not going to say it!" followed by his mom standing up and talking about how he's a good boy who fell in with the wrong crowd, and (drumroll) learned his lesson!  This boy's lesson is so unlearned he won't even say the word "guilty" or "I'm sorry" or "I'm a terrible human being that is going to wound up doubtlessly being shot by someone in self defense" but he's certainly learned it!  So his mom's asking for leniency!

Now I'm not certain what the actual leniency could be because there's another sentencing hearing (which it would be super helpful if I showed up for!) 45 more days after that.

I feel like I'm trapped in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode screaming "End.  End!  END!!!!!" at the screen.  I want this boy to be punished strongly, particularly since he's an unrepentant, life-endangering, cat murdering repeat offender, but I'd also like to never hear about him or the fire ever again.  I pretty much never thought about it these days and then that popped up and now it's not that it's dragging me down, it's just always on my mind again.  I get telling me what's happening because I have a right to know, but why is my input needed every other month and why always with like a week's notice maybe?  I was never asked for a formal "please read this in court" victim's statement though I am now still being asked for faxed copies of GAP insurance payoffs and such for restitution which should be to my insurance company (the uninsured stuff was what he owes *me*) which even so, they keep assuring me "I probably won't see that money", which I know well, so why are you asking me for anything and dredging this up again?  Go away.  Do your job.  Make that boy print license plates and quietly deposit the money split among all the victims for the next 300 years.  Or don't.  I don't care.

I super duper hate the term "victim's responsibilities".  Remember in school or the military or whatever and some kid was screwing off, and *everyone* got punished for it?  Fifty push ups, pop quiz, whatever?  Now imagine that guy punched you in the face... but then you still had to do fifty push ups.  And only you.  The rest of the class watches and talks about how you should have ducked faster.  It's like that.

Ugh, but that shit's depressing.  Let's talk about something else.

Ooh!  I made this tonight:

There's this awesome trend lately... I'm not sure if it's a local southern thing or a nationwide thing, but you go to a studio with an appetizer and a bottle of wine and they teach you how to paint something while you drink wine and giggle about not knowing how to paint.  You get to wear the apron and everything.  The results tend to be pretty cool.  Roomie did an octopus and I fell in love with the Burton style adaptation of the Sullivan's Island Lighthouse so went with a colleague, had an amazing time, and will go back again and again, possibly sans the amped up girl next to me that kept nudging my painting arm and saying "A girl's half inch ain't a guy's half inch, amiright????"  Oh, it never gets old!

But Pinot Noir and I made the chocolate boozy cupcakes again because I am a one trick pony.



Anonymous said...

hi Ishie- Can I ask you a step 2 CK related question? Did you mainly concentrate on the questions? Did you read master the boards?

Zack said...

I just finished reading your blog after starting during your last year of med school. I must say, I was addicted to this blog, and whenever I needed a pick up in my journey to being a medical student (or my hopes of becoming one) I would come here. The ups and the downs were both incredibly inspiring and insightful. While I hope to get into a US MD program or DO program, I don't know what my chances are as a non traditional candidate, so SGU is an option, and having that option is what inspired me to start getting going on the path to med school. With the recent changes in how residencies work, I am a little concerned, but still have hope. Anyway, I just wanted to say that this blog is awesome, and I loved reading it. I realize you've tapered off, but even if you ended now, it would be one of the best blogs out there, especially on this topic. I have a lot of questions for you, but I'm sure you get a lot of that as a pretty high profile blog for carib students, so I'll just leave you with a huge thanks!

Ishie said...

Hi anon: I concentrated on the questions, with a little peripheral material that could be gotten anywhere. I heard good things about Master the Boards, but didn't much use it. I'm a big question advocate. Also mostly the only method I used to go through Step 3.

Zach, thank you, that means a lot to me and I'm glad you've found my blog helpful. SGU was a good option for me, and I believe is a good option for a subset of people that are strongly motivated but can't go for US med schools. I'm more than happy to answer questions. If you leave me your email separated by some antispam texts, I'd be more than happy to email you to see if I can answer any questions you had. I had a bunch when I started out and a lot of people gave me information that was helpful. Hopefully, I can do the same.


Zack said...


That would be amazing! As much as I will anti-spam my email, I'll still give you my old, spam email and then switch to my personal one once I get an email from you.

zack antispam stuff here

u235 (yes, my email address is a reference to Uranium 235, I was a geek a decade ago in High School when I signed up for yahoo)

at the service mentioned above. In case it was misleading (it is a bit ridiculous that I have to use that much antispambot stuff), there are 8 total characters, 5 letters and 3 numbers, at the service I mentioned. Make sure you spell it with a K - everyone seems to want to make me an h, which in all honesty I could care less about, except when handing out email addresses.

I am definitely looking forward to hearing from you! I promise not to be like a fanboy, though thats what I imagine myself as. Weird. And I can't believe I went through that much trouble to protect my already spam filled email address.


Anonymous said...

I am a 4th yr at SGU - very confused about the application process. Would you be willing to guide me a bit? my email address is as follows - I am at yahoo and my ID is

Anonymous said...

Ishie, you rock. I'm currently drowning in path and coffee, which usually reminds me of your blog. Thank you for existing, being awesome, and taking the time to share your particular (occasionally awkward) brand of awesome with us.

Ishie said...

Aww thanks Anon, that's incredibly sweet of you. :)