Saturday, 3 May 2014

Belated 25th bday post and the end of surgery!

Surgery is finally over! I will never have to see a 4 in front of my alarm clock again!! I still don't have a life back--yet--because even though I made an effort to get at least 7 hours of sleep, surgery still screwed up my sleep schedule and immune system, and as a result, I ended up getting sick, hard, my last week of surgery. It's been nearly two weeks and I'm still recovering! The day I first started feeling under the weather I ended up scrubbing into an 8+ hr case and near the end, I had to excuse myself because I simply couldn't stand there anymore. And when I took my temp, it was nearly 102F. Yikes!

I stumbled home that day, slept all night, and took the next day off and by the end I was feeling much better, so I thought I was over the hump. Sometime over the weekend, the fever and chills came back, and so I spent the whole weekend in bed at home, not enjoying the first good weekend of the year. I was literally laying in bed like an invalid, staring out the window, wishing I was outside! Last week I was still coughing up half my lungs and slightly febrile, but still had to bust my ass to study for the ridiculous surgery shelf. I studied the most I've ever studied for a shelf this time and I still didn't know half the questions.  They didn't test on anything we learned on the surgery rotation and instead asked us random internal medicine questions not relevant to the SURGERY exam.  So frustrating. Only two more of these stupid shelf exams until I never have to take another test in med school (oh right, other than Step 2 of the US Medical Licensing Exam). I'm still too weak to do anything, so I'm at home again this weekend. I finally got some real meds (a Z-pack and steroids) from my PCP and I feel a little better. What do I think it is? At first I thought it was the flu since my sister had it last month, but now that it's lasted almost two weeks, some sort of bacterial infection that wasn't getting better because I wasn't taking antibiotics. Doctors are usually the last ones to take medicine themselves, but guess I should just suck it up sometimes!

Back to when I had a life, here are some belated pics from my elaborate birthday celebration this year! I celebrated with so many different groups and was so happy to see everyone together again for my birthday.

 P and I have birthdays 1 day apart, so we always celebrate together. 
He let me blow out the candle
 Chocolate mousse cake, so yummy
Bmore friends
 Family+Charlie vacay to Amish country that weekend, JJ was sick :(
 Charlie had fun though
 JJ got me macarons, which I then tried to recreate poorly (see post below)
 Med school girls at Tara Thai for my actual birthday. We saw Divergent! 
My parents' bday surprise

 Zentan with my DC crew
 Vermicelli lamb meatballs
J looking stoic per usual
 Friends since 8th grade and the baker of my beautiful birthday cake!

I had an awesome birthday this year. Thanks for everyone who helped me celebrate! You made the transition into my MID-twenties not so bad ;) 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Pistachio Macarons

I spent the entire day making macarons. The entire day. 

Pistachio macarons with pistachio buttercream and strawberry ones with strawberry buttercream. While they're still far from perfect, at least one batch had feet! Now if only I could get every batch to come out so well....

The strawberry ones look more like ice cream sandwiches...I still have no idea why! Any macaron connoisseurs want to educate me on what I did wrong? 

At least a couple had feet! At least I did something right.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


Excited for TRAUMA!
For med students at Maryland, rotating at our world famous R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center (Hopkins aint got nuthin on STC) is a rite of passage. Wearing the hallmark pink scrubs, taking overnight call every third night with the residents, running up to the helipad, doing chest compressions on a dying patient, scrubbing in on urgent surgeries in the middle of the night, were everything I was looking forward to during my two weeks leading up to spring break. And while I did see a bit of everything I wanted to, the whole thing felt a bit anticlimactic--and needless to say, the novelty of staying up all night wore off on hour 18 of day 1.

On the helipad

Even though we do two weeks on trauma during our surgery rotation (2 months total), the rotation was actually much more centered on emergency medicine and ICU medicine. Most of the time we were on the "floor" managing critically ill patients, many of whom just had major surgery, were on ventilator support, couldn't wake up, or were intubated. It was my first exposure to how to manage these patients who didn't have just one problem, they had problem with every major organ system and were staying ahead of death one day at a time, a real eye opener for sure. Then every third day, we were triaging new patients in the TRU (Trauma Resuscitation Unit), basically a glamorized ER where every traumatically injured patient in the DMV was brought in. I expected to see GSWs, stab victims, lots of car crashes, maybe some drownings or burn victims, some TRAUMA for cryin' out loud--but luckily for the residents of Maryland, those were few and far in between. I saw a total of 3 GSWs and 2 were self-inflicted in acts of stupidity and/or suicide attempts. The one real GSW was dead on arrival and after 5 minutes of CPR, was too far gone to attempt any further resus. Instead, we got a lot of falls, falling from standing, falling from wheelchair, falling from ladders or stairs, and one case of a lady falling from a moving truck (she ended up getting brain surgery and was still in a coma when I left). 

Not my pic, but this is what it's like when they first wheel a patient into the TRU. We would be the people gowned and gloved waiting for the patient to be moved to the bed. 

Most of the time, I had no idea why these people were transported or flown to Shock Trauma, when they would have been fine being managed closer to home, like car crash victims who were transferred to us 12 hrs after their accident who were entirely stable, or a lady who jabbed herself in the eye with a wooden pole and cracked her orbital bone but who was fine otherwise (hint, if you can walk into the TRU, you do not belong in Shock Trauma). In the event of a "priority" victim though, shit got real. We would gown up, the lead resident would assign tasks to the doctors (e.g. you put in the central line, you do the chest tube, you intubate) and everyone would swarm around the patient when they were wheeled in, making sure they could breathe, putting in lines, and assessing the amount of injury. As a medical student, my job was to do the FAST (focused assessment sonography for trauma) exam so we could quickly scan in the abdomen to check for internal bleeding, check pedal pulses, help take off their patient's clothes, and otherwise get out of the way when all hell breaks loose. Sometimes they would "reward" us by letting us sew up lacerations! Whenever they wheeled a new patient in, my partner and I would start scoping them out for lacerations because we knew we could practice sewing them up. The last day I got to put in 12 stitches on a leg by myself! 

Pure madness when a "priority" comes in. A sea of doctors and nurses swarming around the patient. 

Like much of medicine, there were really exciting moments and then a lot of sitting and waiting around for the next patient to come in, even in trauma. If there wasn't something going on, somewhere between 2 am and 5 am, I would lie down in the call rooms for a bit, and was actually able to get an hour or two of sleep a night, which isn't bad by trauma standards. It wasn't this constant never ending stream of dying patients that I imagined (although it may be busier in the summer, when more people are getting into trouble). Hence, my partner and I would take a food break like every hour, and get ice cream every call day. Froyo = trauma life. 

Call day diet

Team A froyo break

About Me

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I'm a resident doctor who would rather cook, travel, and shop than study.