Monthly Archives: August 2007

Cramming for gross

Ever heard of speed dating? Well, I just did speed tutoring. I think our entire class showed up and crammed into the two labs. They had 20 stations set up with tutors, and we switched stations every seven minutes when someone blew a whistle. One station had the superficial back muscles. One had the brachial plexus on a dry erase board. One had the brachial plexus on a cadaver. Most of the tutors were great. One told me the head of the ulna wasn’t distal (compared to the head of the radius, which is proximal), which was flat out wrong, but the rest of the material seemed pretty spot on.

The club sponsoring the event was the CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Society). They were raising money for a medical mission trip. The big dissection lab had bible quotes at every station. It was ironic seeing the tutors deftly flip back muscles to reveal structures underneath and stroke nerves with their gloved fingers when the Vatican prevented human dissection for so long. And, it was funny hearing the tutors drop expletives like “hell” and “fuck” and mnemonics like “Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can’t Handle” (two points to anyone who knows what that is for) under their respective bible verse signs. In the smaller prosection lab, they had random inspiring secular quotes on each sign. I was amused that one was by Nietzsche. God is dead, and so were the cadavers, I thought.

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94

Not bad at all, considering one of the questions I missed, IMO, was a load of crap.

Let’s hope this is a trend.

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“One down, 700 to go.”

That’s what one of my classmates said to me today immediately following our first ever exam of medical school. Biochemistry.

I wasn’t anywhere near as shell-shocked as I thought I would be. (That term always makes me think of George Carlin.) I got through all that I wanted to get through, and I still got to spend time with friends and with my kids this weekend. I think I did well on the test. I am comfortable (and pleasantly surprised!) with where I seem to be compared to my classmates. We were all discussing the same questions that we had issues with.

This is the funny part, I guess. Well, I feel funny about it, anyway. My husband said something to last night during one of his pep talks. He told me “You know you’ll be the first one done with the test.” I hadn’t even thought about it, but as soon as he said it, I knew there was a good possibility that it would be true. I felt obnoxious and silly even thinking about it, but I am always the first one done. I figured it may not be the case for medical school, especially out of a class of 240. But, twenty minutes at most into the exam period, I was done with the test. At least ten minutes before the next person. I read insanely quickly, and when I am caffeinated and my adrenaline is pumping, I read even faster. I am not one to labor over a problem, unless it involves calculations or complex analysis. Either I know it or I don’t, and there is no point in second guessing or over thinking my choice, since my first impression is usually my best bet.

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Oh, sweet comic relief

Things could be worse than having to go to a Students Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology party tonight. I could have to shop with her kids.

HA ha ha ha ha ha, that was so worth reading.

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Uh, can I change my mind?

I looked over sample tests for gross anatomy and biochemistry. They are really really friggin hard. The questions are applied, specific and tricky.

I think they made a mistake letting me in. I think I made a mistake thinking I can do this. I think I made a mistake thinking I will have any free time that does not involve studying.

*Edit: OK, I looked at my main binder, and I have a bumper sticker on it that says “YES I CAN”. Trying to keep this in mind.

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No, I am NOT going to be a nurse!

No offense to nurses, I think they are the heart and soul of hospitals and deserve all sorts of respect and great pay. However, I LOVE this Facebook group I just joined called Ask me if I’m going to be a nurse one more time…. HA! I have been asked a few times if I am going to medical school to be a nurse (WTF?? Do straight men EVER get asked this?) and I was asked when I was on the campus with my son if I was taking HIM to go to medical school! I said sweetly, “No, mommy is going to medical school, thanks.” At least the nosy dork didn’t ask me if I was going to be a nurse.

**Edit – Coach Stu just walked up to me and said he told someone today that his wife was going to medical school, and that someone responded, “Oh, is she going to be a nurse?” He had NO idea about the Facebook group or this post.

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Our bodies

This week’s Rachel fan club is now in session. She is guest blogging at Our Bodies, Our Blog, and wrote a great post about a woman being denied care at the end of her pregnancy by her doctor when she wanted to attempt a VBAC and didn’t want continuous external fetal monitoring.

Now, Rachel would be the first to tell me that systemic reviews aren’t the gold standard, but I thought VBAC was shown to be about 75% to 80% successful in individual studies and maybe in a systemic review, and I know continuous external fetal monitoring was shown to not improve birth outcomes, it only increased the cesarean rate, often unnecessarily.

I have a question. If VBAC is even only 70% successful, that would mean the rate of cesarean section is LOWER for attempted VBACs than it is for all births in all hospitals in Miami-Dade County. Right? So, I would consider wanting a VBAC a bad reason to dump a client for unreasonable requests.

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Footloose and kid free

I have wanted to discuss the topic of motherhood and medical school. I have had many a blog post composed in my head about this, full of excerpts of conversations and experiences, but I never seem to end up writing the post. My head seems so full right now, and being a mother in medical school is so much of my reality it is hard to step back and look at it, much less comment on it. The subject is more mental masturbation when I allow myself briefly to drift off during class. Ever so briefly.

I was surprised to find the diversity in parenting experiences among my classmates. One of my favorite new friends is a member of my academical (sic? not my word!) society who is a grandmother. All three generations live in her house. She was at her grandson’s birth at a local birth center, and got to catch the baby, supervised by midwives. She is working 37 hours a week while in school. One other member of my society has a four year old daughter, who she had when she was nineteen years old.

I was surprised that the two other moms in my society are not living with the kids during medical school, in one way or another. One of them lives across the street from campus all week and goes home to her four kids on the weekends, and the other has a child living with her ex husband a seven hour drive away, and may only see him a few times a year. I was shocked and surprised, and then I was angry at myself for judging them. Would I think the same thing if it was a father? Maybe, maybe not. I knew a woman who shipped her kids off to China while she stayed here and worked in a gas station slinging fried rice. What choices are “valid” and which ones aren’t can be really subjective.

I have gotten in a discussion with almost every single female student that I have talked to for more than five minutes about children. Whether they have them, whether they want them, if they are going to have them during school, or during their residency, or when Mr. Right Sperm Donor comes along, or when all else fails. Many of them have expressed concern about infertility as they wait until they are done with school, or residency, or whenever they think the right time is to finally stop and try to get pregnant. I don’t know if it is because I am the outspoken class mom of sorts. I have noticed that not many men seem compelled to discuss fatherhood and how they will balance it with their looming medical careers.

S is in the Dominican Republic with his dad, aunt and grandmother. Z is in the Keys with his grandparents. I am one of those kid free moms this week. I am going to study my ass off (as soon as I am done writing this post…ha ha ha.) And, I am going to watch the videos from the show they filmed at the birth center with some new friends in my class who are interested in natural birth. (I MET COOL KIDS!!!)

Oh, right. One more thing. I am the M1 rep for our chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association. Woo hoo! We are going to be training to work with domestic abuse victims and child victims of sexual assault. We are also doing various charitable events for the local domestic abuse shelter, and we are having a Take Back the Night event.

I never ended up ranting about the money thing. (I told you I composed a lot of posts in my head.) The preschool associated with the university is beau coup expensive. Fantastically wonderful, but expensive. We are on the extensive waiting list. There is no favoritism extended to students, and no discount. The allowable budget of student loans (LOANS! That I have to pay back with interest) only covers half of the cost of their tuition. I hate complaining about this, because I know there are moms in worse conditions than this who don’t have the job security I am looking forward to, but I don’t see how I could make this work without the income of my husband, measly as his teaching salary is, and the support of our families.

Umm, there was one more thing about getting into a good discussion with a student who going to school for the Navy, and wanted to get in a dialog about women in medical school and in medicine on Facebook. We had a fantastic discussion. He wore dress whites to the white coat ceremony, and I thought of my dad.

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So, that’s why they call it gross anatomy

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI have decided that I really won’t have the time to keep up with a regular blog about environmental and technological threats to the paranoid parent while I am in medical school. However, I do want to unload some of my experiences, so I am hereby turning MTFH into a blog about my life, which most of the time will involve medical school, and some of the time may still involve being scared of the man and what he’s dumping into the streams and pumping into our bodies.

So, day one was rather exciting, and was mostly bearable. I am pleased that I feel I am at about the level of my classmates. Seems right. Today was my first day of gross anatomy. Some of it was really interesting. I was really impressed at how many doctors we had in the room with us, along with a bunch of fellows and TAs. I was also surprised at how we were repeatedly encouraged to do “blunt anatomy” and to use our fingers and hemostats instead of the scalpel to tear through layers of, well, person. Apparently it is easier to cut through something you want to preserve intact than tear through it with your gloved fingers.

I almost tossed my cookies a few times. I thought I was going to list them on here, but I have decided not to. I think it may be a little bit disrespectful, and a whole lot of disgusting. So, I don’t want to lose my few readers with a weak stomach. Let’s just say it is not easy.

I can say I was overwhelmed with nausea and had a hard time walking through the room when I returned after being gone for about ten minutes. Once I was un-used to the smell, it was overpowering.

I went swimming when I got home. It felt so good and cleansing, but the chlorine reminded me of the formaldehyde. I was actually smelling it in a lot of places. Ehhhhh. And I could. not. cook. dinner. That is a big deal for me. (My other blog is a food blog.) I have chicken breasts sitting in the fridge. They will be sitting there a bit longer.

I got to spend about 5 gazillion dollars today on equipment. But, it is pretty cool. I have a new stethoscope, a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff) 2 Tuning forks: 128Hz and 256Hz (not sure what those are for yet – I am assume something to do with hearing or seeing if people have perfect pitch), a pocket visual acuity card, an ophthalmoscope with traditional head and a pan-optic head, a penlight, an otoscope with bulb insufflator and disposable ear specula, and a reflex hammer. Now I need a bag to put it all in.

So, I guess I should be studying. I guess that is the story of my life right now. But at least everything I learn now is going towards me being a doctor. That is pretty dang cool.

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The list of recalled toys

Will someone please explain to me why China has most favored nation trading status with the United States and we still have an embargo against Cuba?

Here is the full list of toys recalled due to lead paint contamination.

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