High Elopement Risk Today

Upon returning from winter break, I started up rotations again with psychiatry. Psych is unlike every other block in so many ways: there’s no physical exam, you spend tons of time with patients, and we have basically no idea why any major treatment works. Really.

I need to qualify the rest of this post, as usual when I say untoward things about people or fields where I’m working: patients here are clearly sick and need intense treatment, and there is nothing funny about people who are seriously mentally ill. Continue reading

DroopyFace

Back when we were working our way through our microbiology block, I wrote a post called “We Are All Going To Die.” If you remember back that far, it was about a phenomenon called medical student syndrome, where nervous medical students think they have the diseases they are studying. Depending on the day, I either had Ebola, anthrax, hookworm, a particularly virulent strain of E. coli, or a face-eating fungus called blastomycosis. It’s a miracle I stand before you today on my psych rotation.

Alas, not all is well in the world of Nate. You see, in one of the great all-time ironies of medical education, your writer has managed to contract a somewhat common condition known as “Bell’s palsy,” or in fancy medical words a “peripheral seventh cranial nerve palsy.”

Continue reading

Trauma Junior

My time on trauma was probably the most intense three weeks of medical school so far – even compared to the three weeks leading up to a major block exam, like I’ve written about before. When you hear “trauma,” you think of crazy accidents and dramatic TLC reenactments and emergency surgeries. There is some of that, but the majority of the time is spent in the ICU after someone has been stabilized “status post” getting hit by a Volvo. In other words, critical care. Continue reading

Just Say Yes

As I mentioned before, surgery is a tremendous learning experience. I’d contend, though, that the amount of clinical and “book” knowledge is met or even exceeded by the so-called “shadow curriculum” – the socialization into the life of medicine that goes far beyond the words in a textbook. It’s why you can’t simply read everything and know what you need to be a doctor. Continue reading

Wedge

Turns out you don’t have much time to blog during surgery. At my school, the surgical rotation is split in three: two weeks for a “subspecialty” rotation, which for me was anesthesia, and then three weeks each for paired general surgery services. My pairings were trauma and laparoscopic GI surgeries, better known as “GI-Lap.” Continue reading

The Downhill Ritual

It has been a rough four weeks for humor.

Last time I wrote, I was finishing up my OB/GYN rotation – may it forever stay in my past – and beginning surgery. My first two weeks on surgery were in anesthesia, which has scant moments of humor. Now I’m rotating through the trauma service, which is essentially The ICU For People Who Get Hit By Volvos. So that, plus needing time to sleep, equals no posts in a month. Continue reading

Big Pimpin’

Yesterday I told you about the move to a pass-fail system. Regrettably, the change does nothing to ameliorate the other major stressor of being on the wards – pimping.

Pimping is an old method of Socratic-teaching-gone-wrong where a senior doctor instills his or her worldly knowledge in you by asking question after question until you can no longer answer, then humiliates you by either explaining the answer like you are a toddler or by requiring you to look it up and present the topic the next day. Or hour, if life really sucks. Continue reading