Thursday Born

The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for June 2011

I have a beeper!

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Today was my first real day as a third year medical student. We had orientation all day on Friday, but today I started my first rotation!

Forgive the relatively unflattering photo (taken, of course, in my bathroom mirror). I meant to take a picture in the morning before I headed out, but I left in a bit of a hurry (and finished braiding my hair in the car; I got a ride from my friend Amrita which was much needed as I don’t get my school metro pass till tomorrow; in the meantime, I have maybe been sneaking onto it otherwise, since I live only one stop away). So this picture is me at 5:20pm or so, when I woke up at 6:30 (well, 6:15, and then I snoozed my alarm) after a restless night, and got to my Surgery Orientation at 7:30am. This is also me after having eaten two japanese rice balls and one protein bar, at 7am and around 10am, and then nothing else all day. I admit that as of now I’ve snacked a little, but have not yet made it to the kitchen to make myself a proper meal. Tonight will be more heating of food from Trader Joe’s (seriously, what would I do without that store?), but tomorrow I think I’ll bake some salmon. I miss cooking.

Oh, see the huge stack of books? Those are the books (plus three small ones in my coat pocket) they lend us for this rotation. For this four week rotation. o.o

My first day went well. Orientation was not scary. The doctor who runs the MSK rotation is kind of hilarious (but somewhat intimidating) and I’m really glad he currently has nothing to pick on me/tease me for. After orientation, which ran an hour long, I failed to connect with the Chief Resident I’m supposed to get instructions from. Paged him, waited a half hour or so. Called Ahmet, my boyfriend, and tried to see if he could figure out where my Attending’s OR would be. Then found his secretary’s number, called her (she’s not the person have listed; should email someone and have them update the info). Waited at least another half hour or so. Then she gave me another pager number. Paged that one. Waited some more. Finally got a call back and someone came to get me and I went to the OR for about… three and a half hours, and then was free to go. Normally I’d have to say till 6pm on Mondays, but the normal conference I’d have to stay for was canceled, and they were done with surgeries for the day.

So that was my first day of two weeks of Spine Surgery rotation! Since it’s part of my MSK rotation, I’m supposed to focus on seeing spine surgeries and not general neurosurgeries, but if there’s something extraordinary going on, I think it’s okay if I watch that instead. :) Tomorrow I have lecture at 6:30, then I’m meeting my attending at 9:30am to follow him around in clinic (ie, seeing patients as opposed to operating on them).

I wanted to post something less “this is what I did today” and more “this is how I felt today” but I need to eat. And then I need to decipher my schedule. Rotations seem to consist mostly of being assigned to an Attending + Residents team and working with them, in addition to also attending some lectures and workshops, and also taking a few relevant call nights. So I need to figure out when I have all my call nights and lectures and such and make sure I don’t miss them!



Written by Aba

June 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Freeeedom! (for a short while)

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As of Saturday at ~4pm PST, I’ve been done with the Step 1! Eight long hours in a testing center, where the testing room was far too cold (and they wouldn’t let me wear my fingerless gloves!) and I couldn’t raise the chair quite high enough for my liking. The exam itself felt mostly fair and reasonable in terms of the material covered, and there were definitely a few questions that seemed almost too easy, as though they were just double-checking that I really was a medical student and a human.  Overall, I feel rather unsure about how I did, but I felt exactly the same about the self assessment exams I took, so I’m hoping I scored at least that well, if not better.

Another med student blog that I read has a great write up on what the Step 1 is, so if you’ve been confused about what I’ve been  stressing over and why I’ve been stressing over it, this post is a good quick read.

Such odd and questionable photo composition… And terrible lighting. Ah, grey Seattle days.

Now that I have time to do more than heat a muffin, I’ve made scrambled eggs most mornings (first thing I learned how to cook as a kid and still one of my top comfort foods), and today I made myself a mug of earl grey with milk and sugar. First time in over a month that I’ve let myself add anything to my tea!

I’ve been a bit at a loss about what to do with myself since the exam’s been over. Ahmet and I have been catching up on a bunch of our shows, like How I Met Your Mother and Game of Thrones and Community. He works full-time though, so I’m on my own during the work-day. I managed to make plans to spend Monday and Tuesday with Seattle friends (look at me, building a social network in a city I don’t actually live in), but today I’m on my own.

The plan is to be productive and reply to emails and facebook messages, and read all the New York Times articles my mother has sent me for the past two months, and watch all the youtube videos my friends have sent me. I also need to pack, but I’m avoiding that matter for at least a few more hours. I miss my apartment, my Saint Louis friends, and my parrot, but I don’t miss being in a long distance relationship.

Tomorrow I fly back to Saint Louis. Orientation is on Friday, and then I start my 12 week long surgery rotation on Monday. And it’s June already! Mid-June! This year has zoomed by.


Written by Aba

June 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

Posted in Medical School

Not Entirely Miserable

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When I’m not stressing out and worrying that I’m going to get a score just barely above passing (you can only retake this exam if you fail, but I think I’d rather just barely pass than fail), this has actually been enjoyable in a strange way. It’s been nice realizing that these two years of lectures and exams have culminated in my being able understand and correctly answer these kinds of medical questions. I’ve learned stuff!

Our school exams are mostly one step questions. For example, you’ll get a description of someone who’s ill and have to pick the correct diagnosis. Sometimes there will be easy two step questions, where you get the symptoms and you have to pick the drug.

Some of the questions in the practice question banks (qbanks) that I’ve bought, and on the self assessments, are quite a bit more complicated. You get the disease presentation, and then you have to pick what is the correct mechanism of action of the drug that you should use to treat the disease. Or maybe pick which bacterial illness would cause a similar pathology as this auto-immune disease (except you’re still only given the symptoms of the autoimmune disease so you need to figure out what it is first).

It’s frustrating, but it’s also fun. I like being challenged.

I had typed up another rant about how little time my school gives us to study, but decided that’s not the kind of thing I want to be posting here, at least, not repeatedly.  Also, I’m in a really good mood right now and I shouldn’t be ruining it with complaints! I just took one of the official self assessment exams that the NBME (National Bord of Medical Examiners) puts out for people to get an idea of how they’ll score on the real exam, and I did okay. I didn’t get an “I can take this last week off from studying score!” but I also didn’t get an “Oh no. I need to move my exam date and panic” score.

It’s really tempting to take the rest of today off, but I should review the questions I got wrong on the assessment, and I had also wanted to do 92 practice questions from my qbank (this is not me being weird with numbers; the real exam is seven blocks of 46 questions, each of which takes about an hour, so it’s about a seven hour exam, not including break time). Ahmet’s at a U2 concert tonight (he bought two tickets but I decided I’d be too stressed about my exam to enjoy it, so he sold the extra one), so I’m also feeling a bit like now’s my chance to slack off while he’s not watching! Which makes absolutely no sense.

What I’m saying is, I really need to stop babbling in here and get back to studying. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Written by Aba

June 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Medical School, Step 1


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9 days till Step 1.

15 days till Third Year Orientation.

And 4 months till my 25th Birthday. I haven’t felt weird about an upcoming birthday in years, but for some reason the idea of being twenty-five soon feels significant.

I’d be reflecting a lot more on all of this, except right now I’ve got my study blinders on and I’m focusing on this exam. I’m also doing my best to forget that this exam is only part 1 of a 3 part (really, four part) process.

I did finally get a monitor though! (lower left corner = arm warmers, because my hands get cold. Also, yes, I’m using my laptop as my keyboard).

Ahmet’s boss had an old monitor that he had no intention of ever using again so he gave it to us, as in, we’re not borrowing it; we own it now. It’s very large for only being a 20″ screen, but the quality is more than good enough for what I need, and it was free! In return, I gave his boss some of these:

I made vanilla meringues and chocolate mousse from scratch a week ago. As a study/social break, Ahmet and I went over to the home of a married couple we recently met and had dinner, and played with their two  absolutely adorable pekingese/poodle mixes. They’ve made Ahmet, who’s normally a cat person, feel more open to the idea of owning dogs someday.

Meringues are wonderfully easy to make, except I advise only making them if you have some sort of an electric mixer… I made these entirely by hand and it took me about an hour to whip them stiff enough. Ahmet came home toward the end and helped out and even with both of us taking turns, we were worried that we were going to have to declare the meringues a failure.

And now back to studying!

Written by Aba

June 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

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