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

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

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