Thursday, January 20, 2011

Righteous Fury

This has been a post that I'd been sitting on (at least, in my head) for quite some time.

All throughout last semester and into this semester, I've put for so much effort into pretty much everything. I've been able to accomplish pretty much everything I set out to do. I kept my promises and made things happen. And so when someone tells me that they want to do something but wasn't able to, I feel a pang of something akin to righteous fury.

One med student announced that she had wanted to expand a program to other high schools, especially more inner city schools. Never mind that I gave her a couple contacts that I had made at such schools that were interested in her program. That, to me, demonstrates a lack of effort or follow through. Another med student told me that she no longer wants to organize an event that she had been in charge of since day one. All because she was unable to contact a particular person. There are so many other physicians out there who can speak on the topic!!

There have been days where, either sitting in meetings with med students or at events, that I wanted to almost scream out, "Step it up! Do what you said you'd do and follow through. Take responsibility. Use your best judgment. You're going to be a doctor one day and be responsible for patients' lives."

Anyway, enough ranting on that. I've an exam next Monday on hematology. Ugh, I hate hematology with the fury of a thousand suns. Anemias, leukemias, lymphomas - they all sound the same to me, and they all have similar presentations!! For the first time, I feel like I'm actually in danger of failing an exam in med school (or otherwise doing really poorly). T.T

At least I got my 2nd choice for my M3 rotation schedule. I actually like most of the people in my track. Incidentally, my crush is in my track! o_O He's like the only guy in my class that I have an attraction to. He's also one of the nicest guys I've ever met - he always has a smile and is just a happy-go-lucky guy. Too bad he's straight and is living with is his girlfriend. ::Sigh::

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Operation: Phoenix

The phoenix is a mythical bird of fire that is said to consume itself in its own flames, turning back into an egg amongst the ashes and becoming reborn anew. As such, the phoenix is a symbol of rebirth.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to undergo a personal kind of "rebirth," as it were. My attempts in the past have often only meet with lukewarm successes, at best. This time, I shall stick to a more short-term but more intense schedule. Specific aspects of this include:

1. Sleep (aka, be in bed) by 12:30am every week night
2. Wake up by 8:00am every week day
3. Do the P90X (specifically the "P90X lean" program) every morning before breakfast
4. Be more cognizant of my diet

Operation: Phoenix clearly focuses on diet and exercise. With so much going on this semester, I need to focus on getting myself in order first. The theme of the semester is routine. And since I just schedule my USMLE Step 1 board exam (eep!), that's going to be the other monster I need to handle.

I've heard great things about P90X (as long as one sticks to it), so I hope it works for me as it has so many others who've stuck to the program! I'm aiming for a bare minimum of 60 of the 90 days of the program. That'll be right before Spring Break for me (not that I'm going anywhere where I can show off my hopefully "new" body anyhow, alas). Also, the link above for "before breakfast" is to an article on the benefits of exercising before breakfast. It's actually doubly nice since by working out first thing in the morning I: 1.) can't avoid it easily, and 2.) get it out of the way.

With some luck, I may get a body similar to the ones below (I don't remember where I found the following pics):

And so, let Operation: Phoenix begin!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Now You Feel It!

This semester really hit us fast and hard. I was (and still am) unprepared. And before you proceed with reading the rest of this post, steel yourself; because you see, we just learned how to do a female pelvic exam. Proceed with caution.

It's definitely something that I'm sure many of you reading now will never have the "pleasure" of experiencing (because you're guys and likely gay/bi). I can't say that I blame you. The female pelvic exam is one that every med student is uncomfortable and nervous about the first time. But, after actually doing it (and seeing it done 5 times before I did it), I can confidently say that it's not that bad - as long as you're aware of a few things.

One, know the planes of the female anatomy. See, here's a cross-section picture from Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy:

And here's the same picture turned 90 degrees:

A few things to notice: 1.) the uterus points "up" towards the belly/ceiling, 2.) the vagina tilts "down" towards the floor, and 3.) the bladder is in front of the vagina and uterus. All of this is critically important.

Two, be ever conscious of everything you say. Never say "oops" or "I think." Those are key words to get you kicked in the face while you're down there.

Three, go slow and be careful! This is one exam where you can actually hurt a patient. And you see, because the vagina is tilted down, you don't insert the speculum straight in but angle it down as you go.

Four, the cervix, uterus, and ovaries aren't "fixed" in place and can move about a little inside the body. That can make finding things a tad tricky . . .

Okay, with those 4 points in mind, the pelvic exam! Our volunteer patient wasn't the "ideal" patient as she was heavier, older (post-menopausal), and had something called a "retroflexed" uterus where instead of pointing "up" it curled over and pointed down. BUT she was an amazing patient otherwise. I also got stuck holding the speculum for everyone. -_-

The exam is pretty straightforward. First examine the external genitalia. I don't know what the big deal is, but the clitoris actually isn't hard to find. Then do the speculum exam, keep in mind the points above. All that was the easy part.

Now, the harder part (IMO) is the bimanual exam, where you stick 2 fingers into the vagina, have your fingertips behind the cervix, and push "up" so that the uterus bumps up against the abdominal wall. I was skeptical about being able to feel the uterus (and especially the ovaries). Because I was the last of 5 students to go, our patient's bladder filled up and pushed her cervix and uterus to the right - which made it difficult for me to examine, grrr. At least our patient told us every time we felt her uterus/ovaries (she was very in tune with her body). She'd say with an odd smile, "Now you felt it!" And we'd all be like, "What? Let me try that again. I feel something, I just don't know what it is."

Anyway, that's that. TMI perhaps, but I just had to share. It's not every day that you can say that you've had your fingers down a woman's vagina and felt her uterus and ovaries (which I still can't distinguish from other things in that region internally). And truly, it was a good learning experience because the patient and physician were both awesome.

Questions? Yes, it smelled a bit but not too bad, hard to describe though. Also, different sex positions suddenly make a lot of sense, lol (light bulb moment for sure).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Re-Introduction: The Masks We Wear

Many of you have followed this blog for some time since its inception 4 years ago. Some of you may be new followers or just stumbled across this. I've witnessed the rise and fall of many blogs, and somehow mine endures and survives the tests of blog-time. Though lot has happened in these last few years, this blog's purpose is still unfulfilled; thus, it endures. And so, a re-introduction to The Masks We Wear.

I'm Aek (my pen-name here), an Asian-American born and raised in the Midwest USA (and still slowly clawing my way out of this frozen north). I'm 24-years-old, and that makes me old enough to have friends getting married and to have witnessed the deaths of a few friends and acquaintances. Life is a stubborn yet tenuous thing. And I feel older than I should be.

Over these last few years I've worn or displayed one of several of my masks, each tailored for a specific situation or to reflect/hide a different aspect of me. And through these years, I've slowly witnessed several of my masks consolidate or else become supplanted by my Mask of Medicine (accursed med school!).

Where I've been, how far I've gone, how far I've yet to go, you're all welcome to read - to join and follow along as I begin to take off some of these masks. But you see, there are some masks that lie underneath my outermost masks. Will you see more than my eyes this year? I wonder.