The B Pod

My emergency medicine rotation has ended, and all I want to do is go back to the ER.

Actually that’s a lie. All I actually want to do is sit on my couch and do my best Fat Bastard impersonation by watching eight hours of NFL Red Zone. Which, if we are being honest, is exactly what I am going to do. Being between blocks in the third and fourth years is a little bit like getting a 48-hour pass from prison: no responsibilities, no homework, no email if you don’t want it, and nothing to do. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Taking a (Practice) Step 1 Exam

When I started my embarrassingly long trek toward medical school three years ago, I studied for and took the MCAT. That exam was hands down the worst testing experience I’ve ever had – a six-hour MonsterTest covering basic science. I wrote about the studying process while cloistered in isolation in my Charlottesville apartment, where I didn’t see the sun for three or four days at a time. It was often hard to stay focused, which I covered.

Periodically I would take a practice test, a soul-sucking exercise in self-flagellation that I, of course, also wrote aboutContinue 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

Divergent

Iiiiiiiit’s SOAPBOX TIME PART TWO!

Let’s start with a throwback to my surgery rotation.

Allow me to describe, briefly, the scene before a minor surgery. Like a lipoma excision, or a skin graft. The room is sterilized about fifteen minutes before the patient is wheeled back; no one is allowed in without a mask. Once the patient comes in and is put under anesthesia, they’re sterilely draped. You can’t even touch the lights without a special sterile holder, and anyone near the sterile field has to wear a ridiculous-looking full-length gown and specially-sized gloves. 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