Awaiting Return of Bowel Function

As I wrote last week, I am on a surgical service, trauma, at the moment. And my day is governed by, and revolves around, poop.

It is astounding how much of my daily well-being on trauma is influenced by the ability of someone else to poop. I think about it literally all day. It is often the first question I ask patients in the morning and the last question I ask them before I go home. It sits on my constantly-growing, frequently changing TO DO list I carry with me as the only constant: “Check on BMs for Patients A, B, F, W, P.” Continue reading

All Systems Go

When I last wrote about being in the intensive care unit, I was coming off a three-month research stint where my primary job was perfecting the art of appearing busy while actually doing nothing. I achieved true expertise in this area and earned commendations for my efforts, if not for my actual research. Continue reading

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

Red Tape

Next month, I’ll be doing my sub-internship at a veteran’s hospital near my home school. A sub-internship is supposed to be a capstone to medical school, a chance to behave “like the intern” in preparation for the actual ass-clenching panic of actually being an intern.

(It also means that I will be writing much, much less, which is probably a welcome respite for those of you not named Grandma.)

The VA, as it affectionately and simultaneously-not-affectionately known, is one of my favorite places in the medical universe. Continue reading