The Fourth Year Lexicon

I’ve written twice before about funky medical words – once in first year, with Commonest Erythematous Palpation, and once at the end of second year with A Lexical Update. As I hit the big orange “CERTIFY” button on the rank list page last week, I realized that there is a completely different dictionary for the fourth year medical student.

As useless extra hands in the hospital go, we have basically completed our penance and have become experts in the Med Student Daily Apologia For Being An Idiot. In celebration, many of us – yours truly included – took huge chunks of time off to apply for and interview at residency programs. The process, while fun and exhausting and replete with enormous amounts of Netflix binge-watching, also generated a lexicon all on its own. Continue reading

The Coming Reckoning

Two things right up front:

With that said, I write this post while experiencing a fairly complex, ebbing and flowing mix of trepidation, desperation, apathy, and outright nihilism. These are the emotions of a compromised fourth year student with a willpower wellspring shallower than a lunchbox. When you do nothing for almost three months, your brain atrophies; at this point, all I’m really capable of doing is following the smells of free food and clicking “Yes, I’m Still Watching” on the Netflix popup. This bodes poorly for my ICU rotation starting tomorrow. Continue reading

How The Match Works

As I wrote in PANIC! At the ERAS, the final step in obtaining a spot in a residency program is the Match. Like I mentioned, after all the interviews everyone’s preferences – and the preferences of all of the programs – go into a big computer and get processed through some algorithm, which somehow pops out a “best match.” This process is administered by one central service, called the National Resident Matching Program, or NRMP, so they control everything from start to finish. Continue reading

Tox ‘O Clock: Carbon Monoxide

Happy holidays, everyone! This is your friendly toxicological reminder to not do stupid things like use propane heaters indoors, grill inside, or leave your oven range on for extended hours at a time. Why, might you ask, is this a bad idea?

51mpg4c4uwl-_ac_ul320_sr252320_

The answer is the subject of today’s Tox ‘O Clock discussion: carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning! We are talking about this for two reasons: first, because a spike in poisonings from this – because it’s cold, and families are together – is as predictable around the holidays as incessant Christmas music at the mall, jokes about me being a Grinch, and my people going to the movies and eating Chinese food on Christmas day itself. Continue reading

Are We There Yet?

Am I still a medical student? I am legitimately no longer sure.

In the last four weeks, I’ve flown to five different cities, taken a two-week family vacation to Japan, stayed in enough hotel rooms to bankrupt a minor consulting firm, and worn a suit enough to notice that I am clearly fatter than when I had it first tailored in 2012. Continue reading

Impostor Syndrome XXVII

Okay, so, my plan to write more and not less during Nate’s Summer Away From Home has not panned out. I probably should have expected that an audition/away rotation would take up more of my time than I thought, but I was pretending otherwise.

To recap, I spent last month taking shifts in the ED at a large county hospital on the West Coast. Like everything else here, it will remain unnamed out of the remote possibility that I can be identified. Continue reading

Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants

Okay I know I stole the title from a Michael Pollan book; it’ll make sense in a minute. Hang on.

When you apply to college, you write your personal statement. It should be powerful, well-written, interesting, full of your personality, and should catch the eye of the reader – and as everyone always tells you, the reader is seeing hundreds of these each day. Be spectacular. Good luck: it is the most important essay you will write in your life. Continue reading