ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: November 2005

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ask The Fake Doctor 4

It's Thanksgiving, and by some freak occurrence I have been given a whopping four days off to ponder what I am thankful for. Since that moment coincided with the realization that I am still miserably alone, I thought I'd delve into my mailbag and answer some of the questions I have received by you, my glorious readers. As always, these are direct quotes from people who live, work, and breath among you, so feel free to be as eerily unnerved as I am after having gone through them. Once again, I would like to encourage you all to write in and ask your questions (again, naked photos always appreciated), and I promise I’ll try my best to get back to you when I’m not too busy saving lives.


Does dating oh-so-spoiled Jewish girls give you a better appreciation of pediatrics? ;) Oh, wait, you don't date! ~smirk~
-D.K.

I may not be a very smart man. I am terribly un-smooth around women I actually like. And I am often simply lacking in basic common sense. However, being raised as the middle child sandwiched between two Jewish sisters, the son of one Jewish mother, and the eventual future husband of a Jewish wife (although, let's face it, at the rate I'm going that's not happening anytime soon), I'm going to conjure up any wisdom I have left and…umm…well…I’m not touching this one with a ten foot pole. That said, I would love, LOVE, to hear what any of the women in the audience have to say in response to this question.


I feel so sorry for you going to med school. You must have very demanding parents that don't let you make any choices for yourself, like picking a profession that you actually enjoy. I'm so glad I hate going to the doctor after reading this, why would I want some lame ass with no convictions telling me that they think I should just take some pill from this enormous pharmaceutical that takes dumb-ass doctors that can't form an intelligent thought because their heads are full of extraneous information, and tells them this pill is good so they push it on their patients like... DRUG DEALERS. If you're so frustrated quit. Or get over yourself, you're a doctor you don’t come first your patients do.
-Anonymous

Ladies and gentlemen, I just got served. Well played.


Being a med student I think you'd find this amusing. Monday I ran into a concrete wall at full speed playing handball. Broke my two front teeth wide open, fractured my orbital roof, and suffered from a minor concussion. If you ever need an idiot to talk about in one of your up and coming blog entries, I could definitely be your man. Oh I attached a picture of me all fucked up and I picture of my CAT scan (my hospital put it on disc so I can view it at home, it's soooo god damn cool)
-K.J.

Let me direct you all to the first Ask The Fake Doctor post, specifically to the part where I wrote "Naked pictures of hot, sexy, Jewish females will, of course, remain for my eyes only. So feel free to send them. Please." Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, as evidenced by this email. All that aside, and realizing that what I am about to say is going to negate any lingering sense of respect any of you might have for me (this of course makes the grand assumption that there was some respect in the first place), but I swear to you all I have not stopped laughing at this picture since I received it a little while ago:
I mean I hope this guy is OK and all, and I appreciate his willingness (even eagerness) to be made fun of in a public forum…but just look at this! Christ, I’m going to hell.


A friend of mine said you were in Med School in Seattle. I told him he was crazy. But now I see this post on Sir [Mix-A-Lot], who is from and lives in Seattle. I am aware that Sir can and has, uh, toured, but it seems like he enjoys local venues more. Can you settle this argument?
-Anonymous

Yes, I can. The mystery shall be revealed. After confirming with multiple sources, I can assuredly state that, yes, Sir Mix-A-Lot does in fact enjoy local venues more. I hope that settles your argument.


Mmmmm...I love medical students. I didn't jump on the Med Student Love Train until after I finished nursing school and landed a job with a huge teaching hospital. They taste just like chicken.
-Heather

Where is this love train and how do I get on it? No seriously, where the hell is it? If anyone would like some Kosher chicken, you know where to reach me. [Cue drums]. It’s now official, I have now lost any shred of dignity I may have had left pulsating through my veins.


I know my OB/GYN too well to ask him this...And no it's not a medical question. As a doctor would you prefer your patients to be "well kept" or like the "Amazon"?
-M.L.

As a doctor (putting aside the small, insignificant detail that I am currently not a doctor), I'd have to say that while it technically doesn't matter one way or the other, keeping things well kept really makes it easier to do things like place the speculum without getting it painfully caught on some hairs and having you, the patient, give us the evil eye, or do other external genitalia examinations geared towards maintaining your health. It also gives us less things to laugh at while you are under general anesthesia. But, perhaps most importantly, I would imagine that keeping your vagina well kept just makes it easier on your partner. I mean seriously, from what my female friends have told me, most guys couldn't find the clitoris if there was a ten foot neon sign pointing directly to it, so I would imagine that an Amazonian rain forest (c'mon, I dare you to click on that) further obscuring the view would make things even more difficult. But I could be wrong here. Just so we’re clear, you were talking about vaginas, right?

What keeps the inside of those membranes around the fetus sterile during pregnancy?
-Ambivalent

Woooooooah there, partner. You must have me confused for someone who either a) knows something about medicine or b) pretends like he or she knows something about medicine. Perhaps you haven't read much of what I write, but I'm not here to actually answer any real medical questions, if only because I usually don’t know the answer. I'm simply here to provide a little window into a life a whole bunch of overachievers seem to want but none really understand. Well, unless you're talking about the benefits of oral sex, in which case I have the scientific evidence to prove it! That said, my best guess would be the tight junctions between the cells that make up the amniotic and chorionic sacs are sufficient to promote sterility from the outside world, and the fluid within the sac is already immunologically privileged by cell barriers similar to the blood-brain barrier and remains sterile in that way. For those of you in certain regions of the country, the previous sentence can be equally summed up as "Jesus did it."


Are you still single? How on earth have you managed not to be snapped up?
-N.M.

I think I'm just going to make it obligatory that I throw one of these kinds of emails in these posts until I get a girlfriend (or two or three).


And finally...

Not to be morbid, but your blog brought back fond memories of a coworker who killed himself this year. He was a third year med student and had a similar sense of humor to yours. He was a great guy. I still miss him. Thanks for poignantly making my day.
-A.W.

Umm…you’re welcome?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Did That Little Brat Just Take A Shit All Over My Hands?

Having spent the last five minutes trying to think of ways to top that title as a means of expressing the joy and wonder I have felt on my first full day working for the pediatric nursery team, I have realized that nothing really encapsulates the experience any better than the aforementioned title. Given that, I hope you enjoy this, my shortest posting. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go wash my hands. Again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

At Least I Thought I Liked Big Butts: An Introduction To Pediatrics

(Before you start dialing the sex-offender hotline, please read the whole thing. I'm really not that sick. And little kids don't even have big butts, silly!)

Only three days into my pediatrics rotation, a rotation in a speciality I had long figured I would end up doing based on my initial motivations to go to medical school, and I can't help but liken these first three days to a memory near and dear to my heart. The weeks I spent working with special needs kids at an incredible camp? The mornings I spent as a child playing catch with my father? The minutes I spend on a regular basis with my imaginary girlfriend? No, no, and...umm...no. In reality, my first three days of pediatrics have reminded me of a very unique evening in my life, one wrought with a turbulent flow of emotions centered around a powerful, almost ethereal human being, a person so talented in his abilities to mix lyrical genius with musical rhythm that he has quite literally changed the social habits of millions of human beings worldwide. By now you must have figured that I am referring to Sir Mix-A-Lot:

My undergraduate institution, nestled in the eerily and disturbingly calm serenity that is suburbia, often sponsered various events to make us feel like we were special. One such event was a "mausoleum party" on Halloween, full of music (and student-provided drinks) to help us dance the night away literally on top of the graves of the people who founded the university. Classy, I know. Anyways, during my freshman year there was an extra buzz around this event because the legendary Sir Mix-A-Lot, he of instant music fame with his soulful rendition of "Baby Got Back", was purported to be performing live. So on the night of the party, my dorm friends and I were especially excited as we made the trek out to the mausoleum (what, you didn't actually think the founders buried themselves on campus?), and we arrived relatively early, everyone in costume. I donned my usual last-minute costume, where I just scribble a sign saying "Hi I'm Matthew Perry" and tape it to my shirt, and stood in the crowd, filled with anticipation to finally hear this classic song live.

However, something strange started happening once Sir Mix-A-Lot and his merry band of singers took the stage. Rather than play the song everyone was desperate to hear, they started rapping songs no one had ever heard of, songs no one was interested in hearing. It was beyond boring, and people were getting disappointed. At least half of the undergraduate body, numbering in the thousands, had shown up wanting to hear this one song, and we were instead being subjected to Mr. Mix-A-Lot singing about his "pain cock" (yes, such lyrics actually exist in one of his songs) while drunk coeds were being invited on stage to dance with some of the crew.

Eager anticipation turned to boredom, and boredom eventually turned to anger. People started chanting for big butts, throwing things, jumping on stage. After about ten songs, which is about nine more songs than I figured Sir Mix-A-Lot ever recorded, he eventually caved and started performing "Baby Got Back". At first, everyone, including myself, cheered loudly. At last, our dreams had been fulfilled, we were finally listening to what we wanted to listen to, what we had waited patiently for all this time to listen to...

Except, when we finally listened to this song, performed live by the original artist, we realized that, well, it kind of sucked. Actually, it really sucked. It sucked so bad that people started getting more angry, more people started jumping on stage, more drunk girls started piling onto the crew of rappers, and a riot almost broke out before the concert was quickly terminated and everyone had to disperse quickly. However, by that point no one cared, because we were all so disappointed with the boredum and futility at hand.

And that's how my first three days of pediatrics have been. See, wasn't that much more fun than me just saying how unbelieveably bored I am, having seen a whopping one patient over the past three days? Oh, it wasn't? Well I tried.

Just to clarify, I still like big butts.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lights!

I've struggled over the past few years to define what it is really like being a medical student. I've tried hard to express the frustrations, the futility, the flatulence inherent in being at the way bottom of a totem pole of totem poles, restlessly hoping that I can reach out to people in need and really let them know what they are getting themselves into (and by "people in need" I naturally am referring to those among you who are still premed, not the patients). Unfortunately, this message does not seem to be sinking in, as I've received countless requests from people asking me to describe what it's like to actually be a medical student, on that glorious and humility-ridden track towards the elusive MD that everyone seems to want but no one really understands. While I will never pretend that I am so insightful as to have a concise answer to provide for you all, I thought this one moment I experienced during my gynecology rotation pretty much sums up what it’s like being a third year medical student. So rather than wax philosophical (what does that mean?), let me just describe the situation and have you infer from it what you would like:

This case started like many others, and by this I mean I spent a lot of time standing around amid the organized chaos that goes on before each and every operation, doing the Medical Student Shuffle* while the nurses set up the operating room in the appropriate fashion and the anesthesiologist intubated and sedated the patient. The attending physician came in, and he decided he wanted to adjust the orientation of the room. Specifically, he wanted the lights rearranged in a very specific way, and he asked me to adjust the position of one of the lights. Easy, right? What follows is a close approximation (to the best of my ability and memory) of the dialogue that subsequently ensued:

Attending: OK so the light is bent the wrong way, you’re going to have to move the whole lever.
[I begin moving it]
Attending: No, that’s wrong…you have to throw it.
Resident 1: Just move it to the left first.
[I adjust my movement of the light and begin pushing it in a different direction]
Nurse: No that’s all wrong.
Resident 2: No, push it the other way.
Attending: Throw it.
Nurse: No, here let me move it.
[Nurse moves in and starts pushing the light in the opposite direction, with my hand still on it.]
Resident 1: Now it’s even worse. You have to move the whole arm and push it the other way. Push it up a little.
Resident 2: Move it the other way.
Attending: You just have to throw it.
Nurse: Let me move it a different way.
[I continue trying to move the light in the position they want]
Resident 1: No, it’s all wrong, now the light is blocking the other light.
Nurse: Oh I guess I did that. Let me help him push it the other way.
Resident 2: Now pull. Pull.
Nurse: OK push it like I said.
Attending: Just throw it.
Resident 1: Move it leftways. Leftways.
Resident 2: OK first move it left, then pull, then-no no not like that!
Nurse: Let me move it more.
[I try a different method to rearrange the light once more]
Nurse: Don’t pull, push.
Resident 2: Pull it!
Resident 1: Now move it up and over the other light.
Resident 2: See you didn’t pull it.
Nurse: Look just push it, OK?
Attending: Throw it.
Resident 1: Wait, this is all wrong.
Attending: THROW IT!
Nurse: Here let me try some more.
Attending: THROW IT!!!

At this point, I grasped the handle firmly, channeled all the strength I could muster (which admittedly isn’t that much), conjured up all the experience I had as the greatest baseball player in the history of my local Maccabi Baseball League (all true), and threw the light apparatus as hard as I could.

It therefore will come as no surprise to you all that it came within 2 centimeters of decapitating the innocent anesthesiologist standing in the light’s way. Everyone then pointed and laughed at me for a long time, the attending came over and moved the light himself, and the surgery proceeded uneventfully.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what being a third year medical student is all about.


*The Medical Student Shuffle is a unique tribal dance that dates back to the first ever operation performed in Ancient Greece thousands of years ago, and has been used by medical students in an OR setting since that time with great success. This dance can be achieved by following a few simple steps, and there is no doubt that it is the key to impressing your superiors (and maybe, just maybe, picking up women at sleazy clubs):

1) Raise your arms up in a “surrender” position
2) Take a few steps back (extra points for adding style to the steps), moving as far away from the action as possible
3) Rest your back firmly against the wall
4) Keep your arms raised, but do not move again until spoken to

Well done.

Friday, November 11, 2005

NSWTHAIGTDWML-O-Meter Update

Having just completed my OB/Gyn rotation, I thought it'd be appropriate to update my NSWTHAIGTDWML-O-Meter to reflect my current thinking regarding what specialty to go into. It may come as little surprise, as evidenced here and there, that OB/Gyn has made it's way onto this list, conveniently tied with Urology at this point (since I don't really know how to choose between the two right now). This change clearly says a few things about me:

1) I am interested in a field that combines surgery with clinic.
2) I enjoy working with people who aren't utterly full of themselves.
3) I am very obviously infatuated with penises and vaginas.

Now, I still have quite a few concerns about OB/Gyn, the most pressing concerns revolving around poor compensation, horrific hours, heavy malpractice, and a lingering thought in the back of my head that the real reason why I enjoyed my rotation was because I really liked spending time with intelligent and really attractive residents, and not that I liked the work itself. We'll see, but as one of my best friends recently pointed out to me, "Maybe you should do OB/Gyn - I mean, I haven't heard you complain about it in six weeks, and you complain about everything." Well played.

P.S. Apologies to those of you who have been checking this site the last few weeks and found no new self-deprecating material to pass the time with. Been a bit busy with my OB/Gyn rotation, but that, much like the proverbial kidney stone, has passed.