Friday, August 22, 2014

Oh Happiness

I am a between freaking out and absolutely excited about everything that is about to happen in my life. The next stage of my life truly begins on September 15th. I will be taking my USMLE Step 2 exam and applying for residency that day(all in the same day of course!) AHHHHHHH!!!! I am putting together the list of programs I am going to apply to and putting on the final touches to my application. Oh yeah...and I'm writing my personal statement. In the next week I hope to finish up getting it all together so I am ready to hit the submit button when the day comes. From there I will hopefully be offered interviews all over the country. I am hoping to do 11-12 interviews total. Which means tons of traveling and new experiences. I've only been a few places in my life so far and I'm about to triple that in the next few months. It will be the first time I am going to travel alone.

My first flight out will be to Charlotte, NC where I will be spending a month working in their ER. I am extremely excited about the experience and I am feeling more and more that I am ready for it. I'm a little nervous about living with someone I've never met and learning a whole new city, but life is all about adventures!

It has been the last few weeks in the ER at the Children's hospital that have really made me feel ready for this. This week I did my first lumbar puncture and after it was all over the supervising physician who did it with me said "how many of those have you done now?" I was like, "oh, um 1." His response? "Really? Awesome! Sprite for your first tap!" You are supposed to get champagne, but...well...we had kids to take care of. I got my first "slam-dunk" appendicitis this week too! Which means it was the first time I got to call surgery and say "I'm confident this child definitely has an appendicitis, will you come get 'em?" Typically, I say something like, "um...this kid has tummy pain can you come look at them?" I also put stitches in a squirming kiddo a few days ago. Thanks to the ER residents who taught me how to stitch so many months ago! Everyday I am growing more and more and have gain confidence in my skills. I am starting to feel like I can function on the same level as a resident which is very exciting!

I continue to prepare for my SimWar competition which I will one day explain. For now I will just say that it is also better preparing me for my future career and teaching me how to take charge of a situation.

Typically I'm rock-alternative kind of girl when it comes to music, but my guilty pleasure is Taylor Swift. I am so in love with her new song. I'm also in love with The Bleachers song "I Wanna Get Better." I definitely suggest checking them both out!

I'm a true believer that happiness is all about your attitude. We are all responsible for our own happiness and right now I couldn't be happier. I'm about to go through some amazing experience and the whole world is ahead of me! I have no doubt there will be a bump or two ahead in all the chaos, but Bring Them On! I am totally ready for it. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Saving the World

I decided I wanted to be a physician so many years ago. I was about 8 in the backseat of my grandparent's car.  Around the same I decided I was going to save the world. I held on to both dreams for many years, but when adulthood hit I struggled to hold on to both goals. I quickly realized there was so much pain and suffering in the world and trying to save the world was not a very realistic goal. It was something that I struggled to give up on. Instead I quit watching the news and avoided sad situations.

I had decided that even though there was so much pain, becoming a physician would allow me to save people one at a time. There are days that this holds so true and then there are other days when I can't save someone. Sometimes I can't save their physical life and many times I can't save them from themselves or their situation. I care for some of the poorest people and many of these people have never had any stability and have never felt safe inside their own home.

Over the last couple of weeks I have spent over a 100 hours taking care of sick children and even in a children's hospital I have seen pain and death. I have seen children thrown from cars because they were not in seat belts or car seats, chronically ill children in cardiac arrest, and more abuse than I ever care to imagine happening in one city. Some days are emotionally exhausting.

 I no longer believe that I can save the world single handed, but I do believe that I can make a difference. I can help people in both my career and in my everyday life. While my life may not be easy, I become increasingly more thankful for what I do have, because there are those who have so much less. I have found life is much happier if you love more and are angry less.

Note: I have had some absolutely amazing and beautiful things happen during the last couple of weeks as well and I promise to write all about them very soon! Today my heart is just heavy as I see all the pain in the world.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peds EM: The experience

I don't even know where to start. This week has been one of the most challenging, exciting, and wonderful experiences I have had while in med school. I have never been so sure that Emergency Medicine is exactly where I belong and where I will be the happiest. In my first four 10 hour shifts, I haven't seen the same thing twice. The variety is unbelievable and I have already learned so much.
The thing about this experience is that it is so different for me. On most of my rotations, my role as the medical student is to see patients and present my ideas to the attending physician(the boss doctor) based off of the information that I collected. The attendings put in for medications and tests and are the main provider for patients. They talk to the other specialties like surgery or admit the patient. My role is to learn from what they do with the information that I collected. On this rotation it is very different. I act as the provider. I put in for medications and tests. I am the main person who talks with the patient and families. It is my job to call surgery or the admitting team to discuss a patient. As well as do all of the charting and paperwork. It is a challenging experience as I start to really learn the dosing on medications, the tests to order, and the art of talking to other specialties. I am taking on a new set of responsibilities which is exciting and scary all at the same time.
My very first day, I was paged overhead and I remember thinking "who the heck wants to talk to me? I'm just a medical student." But that wasn't my last page of the day and most certainly not the last page for the month. When something happens, the nurses come to look for me. All of a sudden I have so much more autonomy and responsibility as I step into this new role.
Some days are easier than others emotionally. Seeing kids who are sick can be very challenging, but I love knowing that I can help them feel better and get well. Keeping that in mind allows me to love what I'm doing and keep moving forward even when a child is very sick or I have to make them cry, most of the time. Sometimes we see terrible things and children who are in excruciating pain which can be very heartbreaking. Thursday was one of those days for almost everyone staffing the ER. I think everyone was emotionally and physically exhausted when the walked out on Thursday. In medicine, some days are bad days.

After 4 solid days of 10(more like 11-12) hour shifts and actually 16 hours on Monday if you count orientation, I was ready for a couple of days away. The key to a happy and successful life is balance. Medicine is my life and I love that, but I still have to get away for a few days to recuperate. I spent my first day off in my normal fashion, going 100 mph. I had 2 different family get-togethers on different sides of the family. My baby brother is in town visiting from Arizona and my cousin has joined the Marines and leaves for California on Monday. After a couple of different cookouts, catching up with some family on both sides, and running around town, I settled at my grandparents for cards. Playing pitch is a family tradition on my dad's side of the family and I learned to play when I was 9ish. A visit to the grandparent's is never complete without a game of pitch. My family is very complicated, but I am the only child that my parents had together. Typically I spend time with each side of the family individually, but yesterday my younger sister(my mom's daughter) joined us at my grandparents and learned how to play pitch. She was a natural! It was the perfect way to end a perfect Saturday. Tomorrow it is back to the ER and I can't wait. I've gotten some rest and giggling in and I'm ready to go!