ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: July 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Brains Are Going Into My Feet

OK, OK. I know. I’ve been bad. I haven’t written anything in the last two weeks. It’s not because I don’t want to, believe me. It's just that these last two weeks working as a sub-intern (the “sub” is for “substandard treatment”, in case you're curious) in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) have easily been the most frustrating, depressing, and challenging weeks of my medical school career. I have a lot I want to say, and I will get around to saying it soon. But for the moment, I’m having a hard time mustering up the energy to simply type this pathetic paragraph that you’re reading right now, so if you’ll indulge a slightly longer delay I promise I’ll have something soon. Apologies to the masses, and if I make it to Friday without snapping...party at my place, everyone’s invited.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Welcome To The Jungle

It’s that time of year again. The sun is blazing, the ocean air is steaming, and a new crop of third year medical students is being mercilessly thrown into the fiery pit of hell known as your average hospital. Having (finally finally FINALLY) completed my third year of medical school, and still recovering from the shock of making it through this year in one piece, I felt it was my duty to serve as a guide for those of you about to enter this grime-infested jungle*. It is a dangerous place, one wrought with all sorts of vicious creatures out to consume your soul while you must still combat the most lethal of your own kind (Does this make any sense? I was referring to medical students. Sorry, a few weeks away and I’m a bit rusty with my impending doom metaphors). But fear not. Wait, actually, fear some. Or a lot. Regardless, I am going to do my best to serve as your guide and help you navigate through these treacherous parts of the world, parts where no sane being would ever tread. But first, a quick editing note to help you in your quest. This guide will be written in a certain style to convey both the creature type and its hospital appropriate name, in a manner such as:

Dashingly Attractive Lion (Fake Doctor): This creature, known for a steady stream of hyperbole-shit…

OK, you get the idea. So without further ado, I give you…

The Fake Doctor Ultimate Wilderness Survival Guide

Chameleon (Shifty MS3): About as annoying as the song that bears the same name (you can thank me in three hours when that song is still in your head), this particular jungle inhabitant is known for changing its colors to fit the surroundings, to the chagrin of any other creatures in its vicinity. After all, the chameleon just makes everyone else look bad by virtue of its undying fake love for…whatever rotation it is currently on, regardless of what it may have said on previous rotations. On pediatrics? The chameleon tells its superiors it will become a pediatrician. On colorectal surgery? The chameleon is going to be a colorectal surgeon. However, underlying all of these changes lies the chameleon’s true colors: brown and black, much like the bullshit they continue to expel. Avoid the chameleon at all costs.

Grizzly Bears (Surgeons): The mighty grizzly bear is often found intimidating other creatures for no obvious reason, raising its mighty paws and roaring with its might voice. However, a common and useful deterrent for these creatures is simply mimicking the same roar with the same hand gestures. You’ll find that with appropriate application of this technique, the grizzly bear will be fearful, whimper a bit, and make like a Berenstain Bear before scurrying away, proving that behind their rough exterior one will find amid the fur a stunningly small sense of self-worth, not to mention an itty bitty little penis.

Bat (Radiologist): These creatures prefer the dark, no matter what the date or time. They feed off the pictures of others, sucking money from the neck veins of every single consult. But be careful when you approach the bats, as they can be very irritable among the ignorant, and also towards the hapless medical student told to “go ask radiology what their read on the film is” when the medical student doesn’t even know who the patient is and then when the bat demands more clinical information the medical student doesn’t know so the bat starts screaming mercilessly at the medical student and kicks him out of their dark lair in a fiery rage and this makes the medical student sad but the bat doesn't care that the medical student was being scutted out in the first place for someone else's patient and could never have known the clinical information. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Hedgehogs (Your Friendly Manic Resident): 2,834,290,234 things to do and 10 minutes to do it? Fear not, because the mighty hedgehog is there to do everything that needs to be done. It is still unclear how the hedgehog pulls this all off without a steady dose of amphetamines, crack, and the occasional visit to the friendly community beaver, but somehow they do it. All while being verbally and sometimes physically abused by their superiors, no less. Admire the hedgehog, but don’t expect to see one standing still for too long. Unless it’s already dead, of course, in which case you should just keep walking and pretend like nothing happened.

Leprechaun (You Know Who You Are): Known to infest the most foul and wretched of enchanted forests, this creature has a penchant for awkwardness, a complete lack of social skills, and questionable grooming of the nether regions. The leprechaun also has a penchant for latching onto unsuspecting male passers by and trying desperately to get their attention, to no avail…especially to some dashingly attractive lions who just wish she’d leave them alone.

Grumpy Turtle (Neurologist): For one jungle creature, time has officially stopped. Yes, for the grumpy turtle, there is no incentive to move quickly through the terrain of the jungle, because if it is fun to round on two patients in two hours, it is even more fun to round on two patients in five hours. Slower than your average turtles, these special grumpy turtles are also notable for having absolutely no friends, family, significant others, or semblance of a social life, preferring instead to huddle in the remotest corners of the jungle, imagine using their reflex hammers as lightsabers, and spend hours figuring out where exactly a patient’s problem is before proceeding to do exactly the same thing they would have done had they not spent said hours ruminating about localization of the lesion. When you see one plodding along, there is no need to run away; just walk casually. You’ll still beat these fuckers by a mile.

Beavers (Nurses): Ah, the beaver. One of the more mystical creatures of the jungle, the beaver must bear the brunt of responsibility in carrying out what the other creatures need, furiously building dams to protect the dry lands and maintain the…umm…OK honestly I don’t know what exactly beavers do or how they do it, but I know my life would be meaningless without the beaver, and I hope to see more soon. Know the beaver, befriend the beaver, make the beaver love you, and you shall be loved in return. I am not sure I could be any more shameless right now. Actually…hold on just one second…

Evil Beavers (Nurses): Opposing the eternally good nature of regular beavers, evil beavers make up a small percentage of the jungle population and serve only one purpose: to destroy the dam that the good beavers were making, inciting rage and fury from the rest of the jungle inhabitants. What the hell is wrong with these bitc-err I mean beavers? I bet if evil beavers wrapped their lips around some of those firm pieces of wood used to make the dams they wouldn’t be so wound tight, mean, and bitchy all the time. Do not put the beaver on a pedestal, as the evil ones ruin it for everyone. Just so you know, my life has just reached a new low.

Mosquito (Painful MS3): These nuisances, always buzzing about, yapping in front of the entire team about how they have already read many of the latest journal articles on every topic imaginable, constantly providing a steady stream of journal articles for the team to read, persistently condescending to their peers, are complete and utter pains in the ass. Their bite, whether physical or in the form of daily (yes, daily) journal articles presented to the group, only serves to make you look like a monumental slacker for not being insane, and the subsequent itching will drive you mad. The only way to conquer these foes is to use copious amounts of bug repellant to kill the fuckers. Literally. Spray that shit everywhere, even in their eyes. I have no other idea how to shut these freaks up.

Bunny (you, the incoming MS3): Awww, aren’t they just adorable? These new little bunny rabbits in their short white coats? Getting all lost and confused all the time, never knowing what to do, where to go, and who to report to? With those big, beautiful eyes?
Welcome to hell, bitches!

I hope this guide was helpful, and I hope your third year of medical school brings you success, enlightenment, and a beaver or two to call your own. Good hunting.

*Yes, I am aware that not all of these creatures would ever be found in a real jungle, much less in reality. That still doesn’t change the fact that you’re a total asshole for wanting to point that out.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Third Year: The Tale of the Tape

While I hope to have a more eloquent recap coming soon, I thought I’d start my reminiscing about the glory that was this past academic year by turning it into a series of useless numbers, much like I did at around this time last year. So please, enjoy these numbers, enjoy their meaning, and enjoy the fact that I am spending a solid 30 minutes of my two day summer vacation writing this up. SUMMER BREAK WOOO!!!

Number of clinical rotations completed: 7
Number of weeks in the third year: 54
Number of extra weeks there are in the third year of medical school that are not in the Gregorian definition of a year: 2
Number of hospitals I worked in: 7
Amount of times I experienced food poisoning from the hospital cafeteria: 2
Collective minutes spent hiding in various hospital bathrooms: 3,640
Instances in which I was told by patients that I looked like Matthew Perry: 4
Times I muttered “kill me now” under my breath: 84,239
Text pages I sent to friends that included the phrase “Kill Me Now” or “KMN”: 847
Number of prank pages received or sent: 231
Number of pages received from Dr. Poon: 15
Number of pages returned to Dr. Poon from a Dr. F. Taco: 16
Number of legitimate, medically related pages I received during the entire year: 5
Doomed romantic encounters I had with my female superiors that ended abruptly and about as predictably as the pending Cruise-Holmes break up (oh c’mon, like you aren’t expecting it): 1
Nurses who gave me unwarranted and excessive attitude: 3
Nurses who gave me some suga’: All the rest – love ya!
Average number of hours of sleep during call nights on Surgery and Ob-GYN: 2.3
Times I made it through an entire call night without sleeping at all: 2
Average number of consecutive hours spent in the hospital during a call night: 27
By law, maximum number of consecutive hours one can spend at the hospital: 30
By law, maximum number of hours per week one can work at the hospital: 80
Longest amount of consecutive hours spent at the hospital: 32
Largest collective number of hours spent at the hospital in one week: 107
Times I felt woozy driving home post-call: 3
Number of celebrities seen during three weeks of inpatient pediatrics at one local hospital: 4 (umm…excluding me, of course)
Number of celebrities seen during months spent at various county hospitals: 0
Patients who refused to let me be in the OR regardless of the fact that it was made clear I would not be within 5 feet of anything important: 1
Patients who refused to be seen by me in clinic because I was a student: 14
Rectal exams performed: 46
Pelvic exams performed: 22
Testicular exams performed: 15
Breast exams performed: 25
Breast exams performed on fake breasts: 2 (they’re like rocks, people)
Life saving maneuvers performed on Natalie Portman, who tragically fell ill and required resuscitation from a dashing young medical student: 0
Times I caught myself daydreaming about the previous scenario during my neurology rotation: 3
Approximate number of times I recall regretting going to medical school: 55
Number of jobs offered to me contingent on me quitting medicine: 1
Times I actually looked into what is required to drop out of medical school: 0
Times I can recall being verbally humiliated by my superiors in front of my peers and other superiors: 2
Hours spent giving these assholes the evil eye: 3
Number of times I can honestly and vividly recall those profound, privileged moments in medicine, those moments so regularly dramatized in those awful medical shows you people watch that so rarely happen but are the only things keeping me here and sane: 2
Number of my patients who died before my eyes: 4
Patients who expressed to me a gratitude for their care that was genuinely moving: 10
Number of days I called in sick: 0
Number of times I told people that I was busy saving lives: 748
Number of lives saved by me: 0
Times spent at Starbucks with my "Medicine" sweatshirt and/or scrubs on: 56
Times I hoped some hot undergrad female would notice me with my medical school paraphenalia and hit on me: 56
Times that actually happened: That depends on how you define "hit on".
Number of schizophrenics I saw both roaming the local Starbucks and as a patient in the psychiatric ward: 1
Blood pressure medications taken prior to starting third year: 0
Blood pressure medications I currently take every day: 2
Number of specialties and sub-specialties I considered: 23
Number of specialties I am currently considering: 3
Number of book deals offered to me as a result of this blog: 0
Number of times I have prayed to get an email from someone offering me a lot of money to write a book based on this blog: 365
Months until I am a fake doctor no more: 10
Number of people who should be horribly frightened by the previous sentence: about 250,000,000