Archive | February, 2012

mural arts project: love letter

19 Feb

As I sat in the library, demoralized by my performance on practice shelf questions (shelf = standardized exam at the end of most clerkships), I got an email from John about fun cultural things we could/should be doing.  (I’m acutely aware that my participation in/observation of local culture is in a very pathetic state.)  You’ve heard me go on about my love of Philadelphia, city of murals.  Just another case in point…

And to think, most of these are along my commute home!


because it’s valentine’s

14 Feb

Card for purchase here.

Remember when we used to bring in a decorated empty tissue box from home to use as a “mailbox” for valentines exchange in elementary school?  I loved that.  I think I almost always chose the Charlie Brown pre-made valentines from the local Giant Foods and taped a singular Hershey’s kiss to each because I thought the kiss was soo clever and appropriate for the holiday.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

i used to think you were nice

13 Feb

Last night a patient came in delirious but pleasant.  Today he woke up delirious and pissed as hell.

When I asked him if he would let me listen to his heart, he burst out, “YOU!!!  I used to think you were nice, but I was wrong!”

And another patient sees the light…


7 Feb

Today an elderly vet nearly hit me with his new scooter.

Me, amiably: “You trying to run me over, sir?”

Him, sans dentures: “Doll face, if I was trying to run you over, I would have, and then I would give you mouth-to-mouth for FOUR HOURS!

As John said, you can’t make this shit up.

And then my encephalopathic patient kissed me.  I’d like to think he was just showing his appreciation for the 6 liters of fluid we drained out of his abdomen yesterday.

the VA

6 Feb

I think I’m in love.  It must be love if 14 hours in the hospital flies by at the blink of an eye.  If 5 hours of sleep feels like a total luxury.  If I feel like an idiot 98% of the time, break down in tears of frustration at embarrassingly regular intervals, and yet still feel profoundly lucky.

(Rereading these last few statements, I notice how easily these could be attributed to those of the victim of an abusive relationship…now that’s a horrific, potentially accurate analogy for a medical student if I’ve ever seen one…llllllllllllll)

I’ve been at the VA Medical Center for the last week now, and I’m pretty thrilled that I get to be there for my last three weeks on general medicine.  So much more to follow, but to note:

  1. LOVE Vets!  They are stoic, tough, adorable, moody, cranky, emotive, talkative, pensive, cooperative, combative, crazy, brilliant, supportive, and so much more.  And their war stories are the stuff of legends.
  2. Wearing scrubs during long call has got to be one of the best traditions.  This is why I entered medicine.
  3. I have never seen teamwork and education prioritized anywhere else to this extent before, with out ulterior motive.

Today, the intern on service and I spent two hours draining over six liters of fluid from a man’s abdomen.

Oh, and this just occurred to me: one of my residents commented that I was good at explaining illnesses and procedures to patients in words they understand.  I wonder if it’s because I try to do so here.  This is important to me.  The majority of readers are not in a medical career.  If I say anything that needs further clarification, please let me know.  I promise, the use of med jargon is not to make me feel smarter…when you’re saturated in a language, it becomes too easy to forget what words are those of everyday.  My second day on the wards, I asked an elderly obese woman with a prior heart attack if she had a history of hypertension.  “Oh, God no!”  And then: “Do you have a history a high blood pressure?”  “Oh yes, for many years!”  My point being that, in this conversation, I was the idiot.  So quickly we forget.  I’m a college graduate, and I can honestly say that before post-bac and med school I had thought there was a difference between hypertension and high blood pressure.  Otherwise, why would anyone choose to create a perfect synonym with the same number of syllables?  You don’t even save on time by saying “hypertension.”