Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Well Put....

After examining the tummy of a very pregnant lady we were ushered out into the hall to be pimped by our Registrar. He asked my friend what his findings were and to describe the fetal position.

Friend: Well....When I was feeling her abdomen I couldn't really tell if I was feeling the head at the top or if I was feeling the back and feet. the fundus I palpated either the head or the feet.

[You really can't fault that logic.]

[This was just before I got the fetal lie completely wrong.]

[Figuring out fetal lie, position, and presentation is harder than it looks.]

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's 1723h and I am Still in My Pajamas

The main thing I am currently trying to do is decide if I should or should not have a hot chocolate right now. I am still in my pajamas, and unshowered. All I've done today is clear the dining room table of stacked medical books. And I've eaten some snacks. And stared at the wall, in the typical now what? post-exam flat lined brain.

The exam was, a marathon of concentration but not too bad (except that I accidentally brought a mint chocolate flavored nakd bar with me as a snack---ahh I HATE MINT CHOCOLATE!) I am sure the prometric center lady thought I was a loon when she saw me pulling out the reams of food I had to declare prior to the exam. I just never know what I am going to crave or need to eat during times of extreme panic/stress but what I do know is that if I get hangry then I might throw the computer through the window. Yogurt, coconut water, almonds, apples, nakd bars, granola bars, water, more yogurt...I had a little tower of food placed atop the filing cabinet. I ended up chucking the bar in the bin after one bite, drinking a yogurt at race pace, and slamming the coconut water. I used almost all my time, just finishing the last few questions at the 3h 54 minute mark. I blame this on being ridiculously fastidious for the first 80 questions and then realizing I had 100 questions left and just over 100 mins left. It's been a while since I ran an exam marathon, cut me some slack.

After finishing I sped back to the hotel to shower, and check out. Then I zoomed over to the Operation Smile Dublin office to meet some of the staff involved in organizing my upcoming mission. While sitting in my car outside of the office, about 1hr after leaving the exam, I felt my pulse and noted that it was still >100 bpm. I tried to tell my adrenals to cool it. The saber toothed tiger was gone, I no longer needed 180 degree vision. I probably looked like a feral insurance saleswoman when I clunked in, suddenly very hungry and slightly wild eyed with a twitch to the right side of my mouth.

It was a very relaxed meeting and after chatting for a while the two of them stated that due to my arctic experience they should send me on one of their "really remote missions". Yes!! Well maybe they also were thinking that based on how I presented myself to them: better to tuck me far far away from any promotional material photo opportunities.

After that I was able to kick off my heels and head for the hills. (Well, shortly after a trip to my favorite deli in Dublin to stock up on essentials like Chile Hot Chocolate, truffle oil, and nice cheeses!) Drove out to the wild west coast and spent the weekend by the sea eating fantastic food, drinking Champagne, climbing up mountains, sleeping in, strolling around manicured gardens, sipping coffee, and just generally remembering how it felt to be human.

So thanks a million for all the lovely comments and emails of encouragement. It really means a lot coming up to an event like that.

Of course there are things already tugging at my sleeve to get started, like CaRMS, writing up my Grand Rounds presentation, school work...but not today. Or at least, not until after that hot chocolate.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Study Daze

I was studying with my friend Gen today (I'm writing EE on 20th, she's on the 28th). The comedic highlight of the day for me was this.

Gen: So what are some other corticosteroid side effects...?

Me: Dunno, I think I've listed pretty much all of them.

Gen: How about hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis?

Me: Never heard of that! Ok, good to know.

Gen [deadpan]: You have that underlined and starred in your textbook.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Burden of Work

As I plod through drop down menus and hustle reference letters, I try to remind myself that I am thankful to have the burden of CaRMS. 5 years ago when I started the process of summer school organic chemistry courses I didn't even know if this day would ever arrive. But here I am, gathering all the little stones and jewels of experience from the last ten years, shining and presenting them for various selection committees, hoping to catch the eye and interest of some program director.

Obviously my thoughts are overrun with pre-exam stress (my Canadian board exam is a week from tomorrow) and the uncertainty of my future, but I am trying to stay positive and focus on one day at a time living.

And I reminded myself of what Kahlil Gibran writes about Work, and use that to keep it all in perspective.

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labor a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labor you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labor is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.

But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written...

...Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Need Not Apply

This is what it feels like to be an IMG in the medical community:

Clostridium difficile 

I found out this weekend that I am inelegible to apply to the UK for internship.

Is this some kind of sick joke??
Yes, if you are not a UK, Irish or EU citizen then you need to write the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board exam) which ensures you have a basic grasp of the English language and basic clinical medicine. The downer is that I can't write it while still in medical school which means I am not eligible to meet the criteria to apply for internship. Annoying because Irish students don't have to write it, yet...I am going to graduate from an Irish medical school.

I was really getting excited about the prospect of possibly going to the UK if Canada didn't work out, so having another post-graduate door tightly closed in my face really is starting to get to me.

I feel like standing on top of something large and yelling,

"HEY! Will someone just GIVE me a CHANCE?!? 

I am competent and eager and ridiculously excited about medicine!!!"

It is so hard to stay positive and upbeat about things. I am working really, really hard studying for the Canadian exams, working on CaRMS, doing my current school work, applying for more electives...and sometimes I just feel like it is for nothing. It feels like no one will even consider me as a legitimate applicant because I have a big NEON sign that says, 


over my head. 

Ok. I am done ranting for now. I am letting it go. No sense regretting things from the past and no point worrying about the future. 

My only request is that if you happen to see an IMG walking around your neighborhood you should give them a hug. And tell them not to let The Man get them down.