Friday, June 27, 2008

The Emergency Department

Well, I've been spending the last several days in the emergency room... sometimes it has been exciting, sometimes less exciting, and sometimes not exciting at all. There were a few things that happened that I would have liked to do more of, and then there were some other things I would like to avoid forever if possible (some people...). Anyway, I have gotten to see some pretty interesting cases, and gotten to get a feel for what it could be like to work in ER, so I would say that it has been a good week.

I guess maybe I could see myself doing ER... its hard to know for sure, because my role right now is kind of limited. I mean, I can go in and find out why somebody came in, and (if I do say so) can get a pretty good history and (my version of a) physical, and I can find out pretty much all of their symptoms and everything. My problem right now is, I haven't quite learned all the minutiae of all the different diseases and what to do for what kind of infections and stuff like that. So, its hard to know if I would like doing the ER, because there's just a lot of information that I haven't quite gotten around to memorizing yet (but just wait, it's coming).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another Thursday

Well, since it has been a week since I last wrote in here, I feel that I should spend just a couple of minutes and quickly tell you all about it. This week, in the mornings, I have been with the "staff medicine" residents in the hospital, meaning, the residents that have to go thru and take care of all different patients in the hospital that have all different kinds of problems. That has been pretty interesting... I won't actually tell them, but let's just say I've got a couple of stories about Fournier's Gangrene (if you've got a strong stomach, go a head and Google that one... ...I'm not gonna link you to an article though) that might give you nightmares. Then, in the afternoons, I have been spending some time in the family practice clinic across from the main hospital, again, mostly just with residents.

I hadn't really spent too much time with residents until this week. It has made me think a little bit; its a kind of crazy to think that in about 3 years, I'll be doing my own residency (as long as everything goes as planned--I had a dream last night that someting happened and I had to take a year off for some reason...). Of course I've got plenty to learn before then, but it is pretty cool to know that as far as the whole "8 years of college" goes, I'm more than halfway done.

Anyway, I've got one more day of what I've been doing this week, and next week, I'll be in the emergency department, which means, I'll probably be seeing some emergent cases.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I love summer...

Today began normal enough. I went in to the hospital at 9am (not super early, but there wasn't any reason to go in earlier). I finally scrubbed in on one of this orthopod's (that's what you call orthopedic surgeons) surgeries. So that was pretty cool, which in laymen's terms means, I basically just held things, applied pressure and held a guy's leg in different positions while the surgeon debrided his necrosed calf, and loved every minute of it... I'm not sure if that's completely normal. Anyway, after that, Dr. Orthopod didn't have any more cases for the day, just some meetings, which he said would be "extremely boring", and advised me to go do some "independent study" for the rest of the day. Which was advice that I took to heart.

Now, I've been thinking about going up there since I moved to South Bend, so it's not completely random, but after I got done in the hospital at about 12:30pm, I decided I would take a trip up to the Indiana Dunes. So I did. (I love summer, it's awesome!) I went to the Indiana Dunes National Lakshore, which is actually a national park, and is only about 50 or 60 miles from where I live. So I drove up there, and hiked around for awhile. Pretty much, the rest of this post is going to be me going thru some pictures that I took up there, so get excited!

The first thing I did was get a map of the place. I went to the visitor's center, and talked to this lady that worked there for awhile (it was kind of weird, not gonna lie, I think she thought I was like 15), and got a map. Then I went to the biggest sand dune they have there.

It's kind of hard to take a picture of a sand dune, but that's it. The biggest one they've got. So I walked around there for a little while, checked things out, and what have you. Then I got a little bored with that, and decided I needed to do some actual hiking, and went down the road to another place.

At the other place, there was an actual trail, and you had to hike about 2 miles or something, through a bog, and some sand dunes and stuff to get to the shore of Lake Michigan. So I did that. Actually it took a long time because I was taking all of these pictures. Also, I didn't really see anyone else there. Which was cool, and I got to pretend that I was out in "the wilderness". (Actually I watched that movie "Into the Wild" a few weeks ago, and I kept thinking about that...) Anyway, here's the picture tour...

I found a pretty sweet trail...

And I thought it was going to keep going...

But then it didn't. It ended in this:

Which I thought wasn't something I wanted to walk through, and so I turned back onto the main trail.

Actually, at this point, I'm going to give you another one of those neat slide-shows to look at the rest of the pictures I want to show. They're just the rest of my hike out to the lake.

So, all in all, it was a pretty good day. I enjoyed what I did in the morning, and I also enjoyed the "independent study" that I did in the afternoon. What more can you really ask for?

(BTW, the slide show is in
AJAX, meaning "asynchronous JavaScript and XML", which may help to know if its not coming up. I recommend the latest release of Firefox 3.0--RC 2 or something like that--because that's what I use and everything comes up!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Dentist

Yesterday and today (and actually all week) I spent watching an orthopedic trauma surgeon. Today, I went to his office in the morning, saw a bunch of patients with him (people with things ranging from broken arms to an aputated leg), and in the afternoon, I watched a surgical procedure called a balloon kyphoplasty. I guess its a pretty good fix for compression fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis. It was actually a really short procedure.

After I left the hospital, I had to go to the dentist for a filling. My appointment was for 4:15 (that gets important later on). So I got there on time. Of course they brought me back and out me in the chair pretty quickly. Then the dentist came in and told me I would need numbed up. So he gave me a shot of lidocaine. Anyway, that went well until about a minute after he put it in, and then I started getting a little dizzy, and got real nervous all of a sudden. Anyway, I said something to the dentist about it, and he told me that he had put the shot too close to the nerve. Later on he told me that he had put it straight into my artery, so it went straight into my blood, and into the ol' noggin. So they had me sit there for awhile while it kind of wore off. Meanwhile, somebody had some kind of dental emergency (so I'm told), because the dentist was gone for about an hour and a half while I waited in the chair for my filling. By the time he got back, not only was I totally "sobered up" from the medicine, but my mouth was also no longer numb. So he had to give ANOTHER shot. Actually it was good though, because even with being pretty numb, it still hurt quite a bit. Anyway, but the time I got out of the dentist's office, it was about 6:40.

Friday, June 6, 2008


When last we met, I had had the car all smashed up, been to the dentist, was probably very tired, and not really enjoying the way things were going. Well, I am happy to say that things are a lot better today. I found out that the insurance company is going to pay to have the damage to the car repaired (there isn't even a deductible to pay!), and they gave me a rental car to drive while the car is in the shop. Now I just have to wait until someone from the insurance company comes and does an estimate on how much it will cost. So, things are looking good as far as the car situation goes.

In other news, I have finished my 4 days with the cardiologist. It was a pretty intense 4 days, but I did enjoy it. I got to see quite a bit of what they do, especially catheterizations and stent placement and things like that, so I feel like I have a way better idea of what it means to be a cardiologist now. I even got to scrub in and do a couple things in one of the cases in the cath lab. Anyway, I can't say that I definitely want to be a cardiologist when I grow up, but I'm definitely open to it.

Next week, they have me with an orthopedic surgeon all week. I looked up his bio on the hospital website, and it says of there that he specializes in trauma surgery (the hospital is a Level 2 Trauma Center). That means that they are always prepared to deal with, especially to take someone into surgery for trauma--the trauma specialist that came to the medical school said that one of the main things is that they always have an operating room prepped for it, and they always have a specially trained trauma surgeon on call. I guess the only difference between them and Level 1 Trauma Center (the highest) is that a Level 1 has to publish a certain number of research articles every year, and they just don't feel the need to do that many. So its a pretty good place to go if you get in a bad car accident or something.

Anyway, that about sums it up. I am looking forward to another exciting weekend (with no studying!!!), and also to next week.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A really fun day...

I spent most of the day today with a cardiologist. I spent the morning in his office seeing patients with him. It was pretty interesting, I liked it way more than I liked interventional radiology yesterday, because there was way more interaction with people. At noon, I went to the family practice residency's noon conference where I heard about pulmonology, but more importantly, I got free lunch out of the deal...
After that, I went on rounds with my "pseudo-attending" cardiologist, and saw some patients in the hospital. Then we went and looked at some angiograms, echocardiographs, and then I called it a day, and walked home.
I got home, went inside (never looking at my car) sat down, started getting ready for my dentist's appointment (fun fun!), talked on the phone for a little bit, checked the webmail, changed clothes, etc. After I was all ready, I walked outside to get in the car, got in, and realized that there was glass all over the passenger's seat next to me. Then I looked at the windshield and realized that it was shattered. Needless to say, I was not happy about this discovery. So I got out of the car and surveyed the damage. There was also a big dent in the roof.

Well, to make a long story short, I took a bunch of pictures of the damage, went to the dentist's (I was a little late but they got me in), called the insurance office to report my claim (don't let me down State farm... by the way, why IS it called State Farm? Weren't there "state farms" in communist Russia?), and now I am in the process of getting the car fixed.
So, all in all, this has been a "wonderful" day. I did have a pretty enjoyable day in the hospital, and I think I learned quite a bit. However, a big branch also fell on my car, and I did have to go to the dentist for a filling. Jealous?

Monday, June 2, 2008

What a weekend!

This weekend, my brother Brad got married. For anyone reading this who wasn't there, it was at the lake right in front of the beach.. It was a great day for it, sunny, warm, not a drop of rain, just a little bit of wind. I was the best man, and in case anyone missed it in my little "toast", I couldn't be happier for them!
I got back to "the Bend" at about midnight last night after a very productive evening of fishing, and after a short night, I went over to the hospital at 8am this morning for a day in the Interventional Radiology department. I have to be honest, it was very interesting for about the first 30 minutes, and then after that, it got really boring. Part of that may have had something to do with being tired, but also, there wasn't a whole lot to see except them running wires and tubes up peoples' arteries and veins. But at least now I know a little bit about what they do in IR.
Tomorrow, and for the next three days, I'm supposed to be with a cardiologist, which I hope will be a lot more interesting, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to use my stethoscope!!!