Archive | October, 2012

where does she like to live?

8 Oct

Today was the first day of ENT (ear, nose, throat = otolaryngology).  For years I thought this field would fascinate me, being a long-time lover of singing and music and sound.  Maybe it’s the near end of a long year and I’ve mentally checked out, or maybe I’m thinking of all the other projects I’ve wanted to get done before our daughter arrives, or maybe I’m simply on pins and needles about the birth but, frankly, my mind could not care less about ENT at the moment.  It kind of saddens me…like I’m wasting part of my education.

The highlight of today was definitely watching two of my friends–brave souls–get scoped by two other med students.  Ah, to see the arytenoid cartilages work their magic…  The rest of the day was kind of a blur (as in, I fell asleep in most of the lectures and missed the OR to go to my prenatal appointment).  So I thought I might share a quick anecdote about my pregnancy and the practice of obstetrics, since I was reminded of this one at today’s appointment.  I’m worried that, as the days until my due date enter the single digits, I’ll be posting a lot more pregnancy/birth/baby-related stuff.  In all seriousness, please let me know if it gets old.  Pregnancy and med school…it’s been a pretty great interplay so far.

At the women’s clinic where I was for part of my obstetrics rotation, I was given the great advice that, if I couldn’t find the fetal heart tones on doppler after a minute, I should (calmly) ask the mother, “Where does your baby like to live?”  Totally brilliant.  The parents therefore don’t see the med student start to sweat and it gives them an opportunity to contribute a piece of information about their child that only they know…that has to feel a little good after being bludgeoned with information and instructions from the OB or nurse on the fetus living inside them.  Probably 90% of the time, mom would be able to give a relatively specific answer: “Oh, yeah, she normally hangs out in my lower left.  That’s where the doctor normally hears her heartbeat.”

My daughter loves my upper right quadrant.  The higher my uterus extended throughout the pregnancy, the more she liked to wedge herself next to my liver, to the point where my belly looks pretty damn lopsided most of the time.  Of course, at this point, it’s mostly knees and feet, but she’s a strong, stubborn one.  We can actually grasp what we think is a foot and knead it back toward the midline, but she always squirms her way back into her favorite position with more force than before.  John attributes her preference to the fact that he sleeps on my right side and she likes to edge her way closer to him.  Adorable, and perhaps somewhat accurate.  Either that or she is a budding hepatologist.

ortho exam

7 Oct

Possibly the most enjoyable test I’ve taken, and I’ve had some fun tests in med school.

At the beginning of the week, we were given a packet of short orthopedic questions/vignettes (answers included), such as: “People notoriously tear their ACLs while skiing.  Why do most of these injuries occur at 2:00pm rather than 10:00am?”  (In case you’re curious, after several hours of hardcore physical activity for the novice skier, the hamstrings are exhausted and no longer willing and able, if you will, to stabilize the tibia when it twists and turns suddenly, so all the force is felt by the ACL.)  To give you an idea of kind of commitment it took to “study” this material, I read and highlighted it once the morning of our exam.  It took me about 90 minutes, and I read about as quickly as I speak (i.e. not quickly).

The test consisted of 10 questions taken directly from these vignettes.  We provided short answers.  We then went over the answers with the course director, quite possibly the kindest orthopedic surgeon you’ll ever meet, and discussed follow-up questions: “What are some means by which we might prevent some of these skiing injuries?  How might economics play a role in their perpetuation?”  We graded our own exams, giving ourselves 0-3 points per question, then added our total to 70, which was our final score out of 100.

Following the exam, I had an hour conversation with this course director on family and career, the topic drifting from family vacations to the advantages v. disadvantages of his sons receiving Gardasil.  One day I might learn to be a little less outspoken.


5 Oct

I’ve been reminded that the standard two-day weekend does not a stay-cation make.  But between John’s schedule’s lack of any sort of regularity and the whole med school thing, I’ll gladly relish two days in a row with my main squeeze.

We had hoped to get away last weekend, but John didn’t want to be more than an hour or two from the hospital, so our options were limited, and we weren’t so attracted to the idea of spending a ridiculous chunk of change on a B&B 40 miles from our front door.  Instead we decided to take advantage of the Philadelphia area, check off a few things we’ve always wanted to do.

On Friday night, we had a lovely dinner at home with one of our favorite families, who was generous enough to swing by Philly on the journey home to Israel.  Not gonna lie, just writing this is making me a tad misty…clearly a trip to Israel is in store for us in the very near future…well, as soon as our daughter can tolerate a transatlantic flight.  I also had the best 4 ounces of red wine of my adult life during dinner.

On Saturday, we drove out further into the country for raspberry and pumpkin picking, followed by a late dinner at Tinto.  We are slowing making it to all of Jose Garces’ restaurants.  So far we’ve been to five, and I think we might have had octopus at at least four of them.  The food and ambiance at each are worth the advanced reservations, the crowds, the price.

After a very lazy breakfast on Sunday morning, complete with gluten-free pancakes stuffed with fresh raspberries, we made it to the Rodin Museum, followed by the Franklin Institute for the exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Next up for the following weekends are the Barnes Foundation and Longwood Gardens.  Any other recommendations??

just for comparison

2 Oct

Last week I hit 37 weeks, full term, and we thought it would be fun to get a side-by-side presentation of our 19-week progression (left: 18 weeks; right: 37 weeks):

John likes the angled shots:

Finally, as you might have noticed in the background, we have apples!



the glorious o’s

1 Oct

For three of the 48 weeks of core clerkships, each Penn med student gets to play the part of a tourist on three surgical specialties: ophthalmology; orthopedics; otolaryngology.  Most affectionately, “the o’s.”  Each specialty is one week with a test on Friday; each is pass/fail; each is focused on learning without any responsibility.  They are a very, very welcome vacation of sorts, and I am grateful.

Last week was ophthalmology.  Lecture or clinic would start anywhere between 7am and 8:30am and end at 4:30pm at the latest.  John reminded me that this was still the length of a normal workday…but a normal workday involves accountability.  My only job was to learn exactly as much or as little as I wanted.  So, it was entirely okay when, one afternoon last week, I ran an errand during lunch and was late getting back for an afternoon procedure.  Rather than interrupt, the nurse guided me to an unused patient room with a bed, instructed me to put my feet up, and closed the door.  I took a very pleasant hour -long nap in the middle of the afternoon.

Driving home while it’s still daylight is surprisingly liberating.