Thursday, April 14, 2011

decided to do a 30 days of blogging dealio...

Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts

So, I'm Fran. I'm a 4th year medical student on the very verge of being a doctor. To quote the dating profile of two of my closest comrades (and I mean every word of it): "I'm awesome; no, really."

So... without further adieu... here's me. More specifically, on match day, truly happy and relieved, celebrating with dear friends.

1. I'm an excellent procrastinator. In fact, my landlord told me that he'd be showing my apartment to future renters on Friday (aka tomorrow), so I decided to rejoin the blogging world. See how this works?

2. I have a crooked left long finger. No, I did not break it. It came that way. My dad's is similarly crooked.

3. I am the 2nd child in a longish lineup, but I embody much of the oldest child pathology/personality.

4. I played the french horn for 7 years of my life; I was ok at it. It occasionally comes back out around the holidays.

5. If my friend hadn't introduced me to Google Reader, I probably would never read blogs and I DEFINITELY would not have created my own.

6. I lived in Homestead, FL, for the summer of 2006 and worked half-time at a free medical clinic and half time at a free day camp for children in the area. It was an amazing summer and changed me profoundly. I think about Homestead - its people, its story, its colors and smells - almost daily.

7. I went to Auburn University, a large state school in southeastern Alabama. I get mixed reactions when I tell people this, particularly if they have preconceived notions about the school -- mostly surprise that I went there. I had an amazing time there and got an incredible education. I also escaped without student loans, which has meant so so so much as a medical student in deep deep debt.

8. Random subjects I love that make me really really nerdy: etymology, embryology, classics, grammar, psychology - particularly theories of personality and addiction.

9. Because of #8 and the fact that I love Top 40 as much as the next Snooki, I am a huge lover of board games - especially trivia ones and especially when I win.

10. I have never owned a dog myself (we had outdoor family dogs through the years), but I have developed an appreciation for my friends' pets and how they enrich their lives. Shout out to Nora, Bella, Poppy, Benson, and Heyward.

11. I could watch re-runs of the Cosby Show for hours. One of my favorite aspects of this show is the credits.

12. I love cooking. Most of the time it results in delicious creations, but occasionally I fail. To the people who get frustrated when their first kitchen creations don't turn out perfectly, I like to harken back to my childhood years where my gal pal summers-long playdate, Laura, and I would film ourselves doing cooking shows in each of our parents' kitchens and sometimes outdoor mud-pie kitchens. Sometimes we would offer to cook and serve them dinner, playing restaurant. A lot of time, the plates came back with hardly any food eaten off of them. We threw out probably 99% of what we made (thus being relegated to mud pies). Only after years and years of failure am I reaping the benefits of my childhood misadventures. I still have much much much to learn about cooking, but I do enjoy it :)

13. I live in a 1BR apartment and it contains 2 machines capable of playing VHS. 21st century, what?

14. I am, in general, overwhelmed and depressed by politics.

15. I LIVE for observing, dissecting, and discussing interpersonal dynamics; I think that somehow this will make me a better doctor - it definitely is part of what I hope will keep it interesting for me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

found myself longing for college...

Today, as I sit inside on this gorgeous fall day, I find myself longing for fall in Auburn. Or, even more, today I really would like to be taking a "let's celebrate fall" trip to the Appalachian foothills of Georgia.... the way we used to back in the day. Memories are SO closely tied to scents for me, and my mind is kind of amazing at remembering emotionally-vested events that way.

burning leaves = fall, campfires at the top of the trespassing mountain we used to visit in college, smores, the firepit behind daniel and stephen's on larry lane (med school thrown in there), being a kid in dothan where it was ok to burn your leaves within city limits... and many more.

that's all for today. have to get back to making crappy scores on my step2 quizzes...

Friday, October 8, 2010

...was rusty and ashamed, but still here for some musings

a few random thoughts for today:

-Fall, I know you can do it if you try. Just stick with it. You did SO well last week. And, I love you. That is all.

-peroxide = amazing. i cut my foot and bled (ew! weird and gross to even type - sorry) on my couch. peroxide stepped in and oxidized it all away. (bio)chemistry win. and it's cheap! some of you may be wondering about my future career filled with blood and guts, yet shying away from typing "bled." let me set you straight - i am only antsy about my own personal gore. everyone else's is fair game.

-i just betsy-ross'd my undergarments. as most of you know, i live in a humble abode (ahem, tree house) that is without washer/dryer. so, today, in a fit of desperation (or dare i say declaration?), i hand-washed with woolite some of my faves. Then, in the peak of this way too hot "indian summer," i hung them out to dry on my drying rack. they were sopping wet with just my hand-wringing and no spin-dry, but now they're dry! i'm telling you, a little colonial times never hurt anyone. colonial times or everyday regular times for plenty of my developing-world friends :)

-next up is a rant. i had several back-to-back things scheduled today and had to grab a quick bite out for lunch. i stopped by roly poly and ordered my usual - a half #30 (basil cashew chicken) on wheat with chicken instead of chicken salad. now, why would one choose to order it this way? hmmm perhaps to avoid all of the lurking sneaky grossy mayonnaise that is hiding in their chicken salad? ding ding ding! well, much to my surprise, I received a whole (rather than half) sandwich (didn't have time to contest it/get my refund - the receipt they printed and i signed had like 0.5 microliters of ink on it so i couldn't read my total...)... and it there it was. my wrap, chicken rather than chicken salad, with wrap slathered in my most hated icky condiment. boo roly poly and boo man who made my order for being dumb/not health-conscious.

ok... i think that's it. that and i'm reading (listening to...) the secret life of bees right now and really enjoying it.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ate a halloween oreo while singing happy birthday with > 100 adults

a little glimpse of peds (pediatrics)...

-my residents: they're awesome. we have an intern (uasom grad, a little syrupy sweet, angelic voice with the patients...), a psych intern who wants to do child psych (she. is. awesome. i want to be her friend in real life. if you have psych after march, she'll be there.), a resident (unmarried and kind of has a complex about it. cute but kind of stand off ish. the least peds-y of the residents i've worked with. very bright, though. and watches "real housewives of ATL," which makes me trust her more.), and my attending, the director of uab's med-peds residency program and the only man on our team, is phenomenal. G, a PGYIII swears she's learned so much just from 2weeks on service with him. He has reasons for everything he does, gives EXCELLENT and constant feedback, and is always encouraging as he tells us how we can improve.

-the environment: let me paint you a picture. Today after being on call, going to morning report (which i'm loving...missed it on surgery), and rounding... we have our "chalktalk" (mini daily informal topical lecture by one attending at a time) cancelled because of what i'm about to tell you about = a halloween recruiting kickoff. scheduled from 11:30-1:00. not for recruits, but to get the residents and attendings excited about recruiting future residents. attendings, residents, interns, and their children were all invited and in costume. There were pizzas, halloween oreos, and other such goodies. Adults and children in costume galore. Residents answered a brief questionnaire giving feedback about their own interviews and dropped these sheets in a pumpkin bucket from which door prizes were drawn. The "kickoff" included skits (both live and recorded on of which was a project runway spinoff where they designed outfits out of the yellow contact precaution gowns...and they really modeled them for us. there was beadazzling. and fringe. and use of hot glue guns.), costume contests for adults and kids, announcements of where the resident-interview meals will be taking place this year, etc. All was concluded by singing happy birthday to the Pediatrics department head, an attending, and a resident who share halloween as a birthday. Everyone at this event. >100 people (adults) singing happy birthday. not a quiet mouse in the bunch. Un. real.

my partner: kd (for her protection). she is super sweet, we have a great time talking to each other. she is not cut throat in the least but we definitely want to improve. our attending does a great job of setting a tone of "we are not here to compete. there is no such thing as showing each other up." i love him. and i love my partner. could not have lucked out more.

the bad news of all this: we lose our residents like tomorrow, and our attending on monday. We've heard the residents coming on are really nice, but we have no clue who the attending is... nervous. there are some really bad ones.

anyways, my general impression is that it's hard to tell whether or not i like it. the two patients kd and i picked up last night were both wheezers. there is no loss of interesting cases, it has just been a little slow to start. however, the pts and families have all been great. i guess i just hate feeling so thrown -- all #s of familiarity are inaccurate and ever changing as kids grow up: vital signs, lab values, acid/base, rx doses and choices... they're all wrong. that, and the H&P questions are markedly different for peds. also, my residents, b/c we're new and b/c kids are fragile, have been watching me do my h&p's and physical exams. i think that's really really awkward, and have not enjoyed it.'s very friendly and i can't wait til i feel like i know a little bit more!

Friday, October 9, 2009

had a burst of insight about wordplay

"Suck it right here, please" is not appropriate in any setting other than the OR.

And even then...questionable.

Glad I did not have this insight earlier in the rotation -- a case of the giggles is not exactly the most professional/impressive exhibition.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

was told that my blog was collecting dust, so...

Here goes!

I write to you in the familiar situation of status-post-too-long-accidental-nap. This nap was supposed to be a quick refresher after a long, slow day. Tucked in at 5:30. Woke up at 7. Yikes.

So, though my first week of peds surgery kind of dominated my spirit, God heard my pleas and sent me a fourth-year med student. He started on service the second week, and then the third and final week we got another third-year med student. Oh what a difference company makes! Someone to look at when you feel utterly. ashamed. and. uneducated/inept. Someone to provide a "student presence" when you need to run to the bathroom/eat lunch/sit/other such human things. I am so grateful for these guys who came on service.

After I recovered from my illness, I decided to get all of my on-call experiences out of the way. As much as I feel like I dread being on-call, I always learn SO much and always feel SO much more comfortable in my working environment after being there for a 24 hour period. I regret that I can't recap all the details of my experiences on peds surgery, but needless to say I got to see LOTS of cool-to-see/unfortunate-for-the-patient conditions and operations.

Highlights of Peds Surgery: free limitless soft drinks w/ pellet ice at every nurse's station, patients who would cutely (not creepishly) grab your finger during rounds, plenty of exams on patients who were "resting comfortably in no apparent distress" aka sleeping and did not wake during check-up's, working with some of the brightest surgeons in the field (as I learned that peds surgery is a VERY competitive fellowship, UAB's program attracting many internationally competitive residents), getting to learn my way around children's hospital before my general peds rotation.

Low points of Peds: diagnosing kids with horrible tumors and other conditions that you know are going to drastically change the quality of the rest of their lives, getting relentlessly (and i mean RELENTLESSLY) pimped (see previous entry for definition) on EVERYTHING including the minutiae of classic rock music...DAILY, scrub/circulating nurses with personal vendettas against yours truly, the hours (4:30am - sometimes 6:30pm = not cool), CRAZY mothers/lazy parents.

All in all, I really ended up enjoying my time on their service. The longer I worked with the surgeons, the more they trusted me, and therefore the more they let me do (don't worry -- babies were still getting the best care) and see during operations. The residents, fellows, and attendings were very encouraging toward the end of my time there, and, as much as I hated the pimping, it forced me to study EVERY DAY. And so, I learned a lot as a result.

OK so I'm going to sleep now, but I must say...So far, cardiovascular surgery rotation is disorganized and full of surgical physician assistants, nursing first-assists, and PA students (all sorts of allied health professional peeps) to climb over in order to actually SEE the surgeries, BUT...if you can convince anesthesia to let you stand at the head of the bed and look over the curtain...YOU CAN SEE THE BEAUTIFUL OPERATIVE THEATRE THAT IS CV SURGERY. And, of course, the heart. Personal testimony: it's beautiful. Superior to other organs (although infant stomach's are pretty beautiful, too).

Next update will come sooner, I promise :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

didn't update my blog for a while because surgery ate my life!

Now for a long list of "One time I's".... because I just couldn't choose a winner for the title: In no particular order, one time I...

-got ridiculously sick from being around kids and working my tail off for fewer than 3 days.

This is the current situ. I write you from my couch, having spent an entire day at home (shock) trying to rest and beat whatever has attacked me back into place. I began my peds surgery rotation on Monday, and boy has it been a hot mess. I am NOT in kansas anymore! To start, I am the only med student on the rotation--not fun. Crazy amounts of pimping (pimping: when attendings, fellows, or residents ask you very pointed questions, related to medical knowledge, a patient's history or current data, 80's music...anything, really; usually preceded by someone saying, "where's the med student? get her up here!"), VERY early rounds (5:30 two days of the week), foreign computer programs full of inaccessible patient data, and a seemingly limitless OR schedule welcomed me into the arms of pediatric surgery. Don't get me wrong--the residents are very nice. Anyways, just as I was starting to get my bearings around the catacombs that are Children's Hospital, about midday Tuesday I started feeling pretty crummy --fever, aches, chills, headache, sore throat, the whole bit. Woke up Wednesday at my 3:00AM wake up time still feeling ill, and resolved that I'd tell my residents how I felt, do my notes, and go home. Well, I got to the first step and told my jr resident...and he just stared back then continued his work. Later that day, as I continued to work (taking extra germicidal/germ-containing precautions), an attending asked me how I was doing after a coughing fit during surgery. When I responded saying I was pretty sure I was sick, he responded with "Yeah, it's pretty normal to get sick after the first couple days around kids." No precautions. No "Go home" or "Get out of my OR." I got home late that afternoon feeling horrible, and forced myself to reread the flu/fever protocol email we got from our dean of students, who happens to be an infectious disease doctor. As I reread this email (which says clearly that we are not to report to work if we have a fever and not to return until afebrile for 24 hours) and began the internal struggle to call my sr resident to tell him I wasn't coming in the next day, I was struck by something I'd been told my whole life from my doctor-parents and grandparent, by word and occasional example, about physicians not taking good care of themselves. After discussing my plan of action with my mom, dad, and even a peer over gchat, it was a near act of congress for me to actually page my resident to let him know the news. Looking back (ha as it was just last night), I have to laugh, thinking to myself "who am I kidding? what do I actually offer that is important enough to outweigh the risk that I pose to contaminating these already-sick kids?" However, I can't explain how real my feelings of inadequacy were/are for having been afflicted in a totally human way. I actually apologized when I was talking to my resident. And he accepted. Still processing this, but for now I'm working on becoming a doctor who does not demand superhumanness, of myself or others. And I'm working on getting better.

Moving on...

-got to take care of my cousin (Tally) at Children's, including scrubbing in on her surgery!

Tally is my dad's sister's daughter, a very sweet, cool teenager. It's not cool that Tally had to have surgery, but it is kind of neat that I got to children's just as she got admitted. Not sure how much I should share about her on the internet...HIPAA and all, but it was a quick and successful minor procedure that should make her feel much better. Got to put her to sleep and wake her up (none of which she'll remember)--and she didn't even do anything goofy! That aaaaaaand next time I see her at Christmas, I'll think about what her insides look like :)

-got to amputate a lil baby's extra "finger" (aka nubbin)

Little cutie with loads of other issues was on the OR list for other repairs with a tag-on "REMOVAL OF RIGHT EXTRA DIGIT." As the attending finished up the complicated stuff, he said to me/about me, "Yeah the med student's gonna remove the little nubbin'." I thought, "yeah, right." I'd heard all the action you get on peds is removing staples and spreading out blankets (That's right, people. unlike at UAB, at children's, your kids' surgeries actually stay in the hands of fully trained professionals...or at least fellows.). Needless to say, I was surprised when he handed me the suture and told me to take care of business.

-saw my first circumcision.

After attending the international AIDS conference last summer where there was lots of research talk about the potential protective effect circumcision might have on contracting HIV, I realized I'd never actually seen a "circ," as they're called in the biz. There was lots of chatter at this conference from the opposition regarding the unknown lifelong effects of such traumatic pain during the first few months of life. Anyways, not going to debate all that here, but I must looked unpleasant. Luckily this baby was under general anesthesia because the circ, too, was a tag-on to another procedure, thereby preventing the crying that usually goes on. But man...that did not look pleasant. One of the guys I was working with remarked that the rate of circ's in Holland has dropped at least by half over the last couple years, because it's no longer covered by insurance companies. What would happen here if we did that?

-acquired a pair of the much-sought-after navy scrubs available only (probably not) at children's hospital.

Ok even though there's more...I must go to sleep. At least rounds are at 6 rather than 5:30 tomorrow.