A Second Look

I write to you this time from a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, in the midst of my second travel nightmare of 2015. Frankly, though, nothing can top the horror of the Three Days In Ramshackle-Houston Where I Potentially Came Close To Having My Kidneys Stolen. As such I will refrain from discussing the joys of getting out of Portland with a broken plane and a pair of enraged business consultants with Very Important Meetings early tomorrow morning that surely cannot go on without their august presences. 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

DroopyFace

Back when we were working our way through our microbiology block, I wrote a post called “We Are All Going To Die.” If you remember back that far, it was about a phenomenon called medical student syndrome, where nervous medical students think they have the diseases they are studying. Depending on the day, I either had Ebola, anthrax, hookworm, a particularly virulent strain of E. coli, or a face-eating fungus called blastomycosis. It’s a miracle I stand before you today on my psych rotation.

Alas, not all is well in the world of Nate. You see, in one of the great all-time ironies of medical education, your writer has managed to contract a somewhat common condition known as “Bell’s palsy,” or in fancy medical words a “peripheral seventh cranial nerve palsy.”

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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

A Strong Assessment

One of the coolest things about going to school here is that we are constantly supported, advised, and mentored by faculty interested in our medical education. The experience is so extensive here that it sometimes verges on too much. For instance, here are the titles of the people involved under the general category of “advisors” to first-year students:  Continue reading

I Have Diabetes (For This Week Only)

This week, I have diabetes.

In a session this morning, our course director gave every man, woman, and needle-wimp (me) a glucose meter, a bag of syringes, and a bottle of saline that was to be our proxy for insulin. For the next three days, we are all Type I diabetics – the type that has to take insulin shots daily and before every meal. The idea is that we’re supposed to learn how onerous it is to be compliant with your medication when you live with this disease. Continue reading