Wharton’s Jelly

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently taking a hybrid classroom/clinical duties course centered around immunology and the immunocompromised patient. I’ve just finished a week on the stem cell transplant unit, where most patients have received a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia. In general, these patients come to the hospital for one of three reasons:

  • To get their bone marrow transplant;
  • Their leukemia relapsed;
  • They developed an awful complication called graft-vs-host disease.

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Round and Around We Go

Just in case you were wondering, I hate rounding with a broiling, incandescent passion.

Unfortunately for me, I’m on my medicine rotation, where rounding is not just a part of the day – it’s THE day. For those of you not indoctrinated into this hateful but necessary practice, rounding is when the “team” – the attending, the resident, the intern, the idiot,* and sometimes other people see all the patients on the list in the morning. You should take the word “morning” with a grain of salt, as sometimes rounds can begin at 6 AM and stretch well into the afternoon. Why this occurs will forever baffle me. Continue reading

A Lexical Update

Halfway through last year, I wrote “Commonest Erythematous Palpation,” a post illuminating some of the ridiculous medical terminology doctors use every day. As second year draws to a close – I’m just five weeks from the end of my last rotation, not that I’m counting or anything – I thought I’d provide you with an update with a more clinically-focused bent.

See, last year we learned all these fancy words, but it was like learning formal Spanish when most people in the real world use slang. It’ll carry you in a pinch, but people think you’re an idiot. 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

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