Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Today was my last clinic day of the pediatrics clerkship. As always, there's a big exam coming up tomorrow morning, and since I'm just about fed up with studying, I thought I'd give the world wide web the run-down. I think the most important thing at this point is just to recap what I feel were some of my successes in the past month.

First, I did not get sick from any of the kids. Even when they coughed in my face, which is a pretty common occurrence. I attribute this to a healthy immune system, daily multivitamins (well, actually, I always forget...), plenty of rest, good genes, a can-do attitude, and last--but not least--lots and lots of Diet Mountain Dew.

Second, I successfully avoided changing any babies' diapers throughout the entire clerkship. Not that I wouldn't have if the need arose. But it was sort of a goal of mine, and I'm certainly not complaining.

Third, I like to think I saved about 400 kids' lives in the past month.

On a more serious note, I'd like to think I learned a lot too. I doubt I'll be a pediatrician (don't think I could handle the parents...), but I did learn a lot about dealing with sick kids, and I think I learned a lot about medicine in general, and how to be a good doctor (which I guess could come in handy some day).

I also learned that most abdominal pain is children is caused by eating Fire-Hot Cheetos and the true meaning of the phrase "attention deficit"!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Earlier today I finished my week-long stint in the newborn infant nursery, where I was supposed to learn how to take care of the medical issues that newborn babies have. Mostly I spent the week learning how to do a good "check up" for a newborn baby, and trying to dress and undress babies.

What else did I learn in the past week? Well, for one thing, I learned that baby clothes are weird! How am I supposed to get those things on and off a baby?!

I'm just about done with my whole pediatrics experience, just another week and a half, and one of those national final exams to go, and then I'm off to South Bend and the wide world of forensic pathology! In an aside, if anyone ever suggests that you watch the movie "Pathology", don't.

So there you have it. To recap, baby clothes are confusing...

Monday, November 9, 2009


Occasionally, I think to myself about how it would be nice to have additional skills. Like maybe if I knew more about computers, or how to speak other languages. You know, things that might be useful in my day-to-day life, making work easier, or more productive or, just making life all-around more enjoyable.
And where would one go to acquire said skills? Well, depending on what the skill is, I suppose you could go to your local library, enroll yourself in some karate lessons, or quickly search the internet for a how-to video. Or in my case, you could have had a different major in college.

I mean, how often do I think to myself, "Matt, it would be really nice if you knew Spanish right now, so you could talk to these people without using the translator phone...", or, "If I knew more about computers, maybe I could sabotage the hospital's computer records system so they would decide that now's the time to get one that works, and also wasn't written in QuickBASIC."

But, as it is, I've just got my lowly degree in biology, which means I could probably tell you how to clone a gene, or calculate a mutation rate or maybe even tell you why moss grows on the north side of trees, but can't necessarily do "cold-call sales", "drive truck", negotiate a contract, or even properly operate an iron.

There is one major benefit to a working knowledge of biology in medicine, though. When a kid comes in, and I've got to look in their ears with my otoscope, I can tell them that they've got WAY cooler things in their ears than "a monkey" like my doctor told me as a kid. Like, orangutans, or bonobos. Well, on second thought, maybe not bonobos. Maybe fiddler crabs? Cacelians? Or trees with moss growing on the north side?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

#1 Goal

So today, I had a mini-shift in the pediatric ER here in town as part of my "outpatient pediatrics" month. Anyway, I walked in like normal, and introduced myself to the staff, and the first thing one of the attending ER docs said to me was, "just try not to kill anyone while you're here". Initially I wasn't sure if this was supposed to 'put me in my place' or if he was just being, um, jovial. So I kind of chuckled and said to him, "Well, that's always one of my main goals." Anyway, some of the residents and nurses overheard this exchange, and started laughing (which I interpreted as a sign that this guy probably wasn't trying to be mean), and so he started telling everybody about this little ritual he does every day before work that includes "not killing anyone" at the top of the list.

Anyway, I thought that was probably not a bad idea, and perhaps I'll adopt such a ritual.