Waiting around

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bike Accident

Well, for the second time since being a medical student, I have become a patient. I decided that I should go out for a bike ride this afternoon. The weather wasn't all that great, that is to say, it pretty much rained all day. But some rain usually doesn't stop me from heading out to put some miles down. I headed out on these trails Custis and the W&OD.

I should have known that I should have stayed in for the day, as within the first couple of miles, I ended up flatting twice. I have not gotten a flat tire in awhile, and then I got 2 just as I was starting out. Luckily, I was right by a bike store. So I stopped in there, got a new tire and was on my way. I biked for awhile -- went about 45 minutes out (somewhere around 15 miles) and turned around. I always bike with glasses on -- days like today, they are used more for protection as I had my clear lenses in.

I was roughly 2-4 miles from my house and my glasses had just gotten too foggy and too wet so I couldn't see out of them. So I took them off and put them in my jersey pocket. At some point during this process (this is where it starts to get hazy) I realized that I was going too fast for the hairpin turn that was coming up. I put on my brakes as fast as would safely allow -- so I would not skid and would not endo (fly over my handlebars). However, because it was wet, the brakes had some trouble catching and I could not stop. Normally, this wouldn't be too much trouble as I would just end up in some bushes or whatever. However, this curve had a nice concrete wall around the outside.

This is where it all gets really fuzzy. What I remember is hitting the wall and have the stars show (you know, like from cartoons) and I also kind of remember being up against the wall letting out a groan or two. Not really sure. Along with my forehead, my nose hit and I think I tried to catch it a little with my left hand. I say this, because those are the parts of my body that hurt now. I do remember one of the lenses from my glasses popping out and I remember hearing it bounce on the pavement. I very vaguely remember checking my front tire to make sure it was ok. And then the scary part. I definitely biked the rest of the way home. And I do not remember this at all. Like. At. All. Nothing.

I eventually made it back to my place and stopped in the middle of the road where I started fumbling with my phone. From here, there is a lot of hearsay. I called Tim, and he said that I left him a message and he could tell something was wrong (Tim: "You said something like 'Hey Tim, what's going on. Call me back. I don't know what day it is or what time it is' "). I then called Brian (Brian: "You said 'Hey, it's Wait, give me a call back' ")). A woman from my complex came up to as she was walking her dog and asked if I needed some help. I'm not sure what I said. But she could tell that I was in some sort of distress. I gave her my phone and told her to try Tim and she got a hold of him. Unfortunately Tim was in Denver (as opposed to around the corner... which is where he lives here.) He ended up getting in touch with Brian, who then came over and helped me through the rest of the afternoon. Michelle was nice enough to sit with me in my apartment as I tried to sort through everything. She asked me questions that I really didn't know the answer to "What'd you do yesterday? What time did you leave on your ride? What did you eat this morning?" And I am sure lots more questions. When Brian came, he did a quick neuro check (good thing we are med students) and I didn't have a blown pupil and the pupillary reflexes were normal.

We went first to the urgent care facility. (I was pretty out of it at this point, but my memory has started to return). The doctor there told me that because I lost consciousness and had short term memory loss, that I needed to go to the hospital to get a CT scan. We then went off to the ER where I got a CT of my head, and an X-Ray of my hand (that hurt a lot too). Long story short is that I had a concussion and a couple cuts on my face, one of the bones in my wrist hurts really bad, and as of now, I just have a pretty bad headache, and my nose hurts.

As for the bike, it seems ok -- I can't really see anything wrong with it. My helmet on the other hand, well I can say with about 95% certainty that it saved my life. I can't ever wear it again as it is now cracked in 3 different places (see picture... red lines indicate where all of the cracks are. The two in the front of the helmet actually connect and it's a loose piece), but I am very happy that I wear a helmet whenever I ride. This hopefully goes to show how important helmets are while biking (especially when it's raining, you're going around a curve too fast, and there's a concrete wall in front of you).

So just a thanks to Giro for making a helmet that can withstand a head on collision with a concrete wall. And to Michelle and her dog Agnus who called Tim and then stayed with me until Brian came. And to Tim for getting in touch with Brian. And last, but certainly not least, Brian and Ronit who took me off to the Urgent Care Center and the ER after that.

still waiting,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New and exciting things! (No, not really)

Well I didn't want to dive back in head first and write a post everyday. I thought it'd be better to ease my way back in. Kind of like training for a race. You don't want to exert too much effort on the first day you start training or you will burn yourself out.

Okay... okay. Lame excuse, I know. But I have been relatively busy over the past week, but busy has taken on a new definition since school ended. Since last time I posted, I have watched more TV than I did all spring semester, have sat outside for at least 20 hours, whether it be poolside or in a park, have gotten back on the bike to get rid of some of the "winter pounds" as I like to call them, and have begun the whole "social" aspect of my life where when I hang out with people, conversation does not revolve around medicine, though the topics sometimes end up there.

I've also decided to find something to do with my free time, and that is volunteering at The Bodies here in DC, or rather, Rosslyn, thus I can walk there. I "get" to walk around the exhibit in a white coat with a big "Ask Me" button as if I am intelligent, or something. I went to the orientation for that last week, and while a lot of came back, I definitely need to do a little brush up on Netter's before I truly start. This morning I went down to a free clinic called "Bread for the City" which is a clinic similar to CrossOver (where I worked all last year) but they offer a few more things such as free legal help, social work, clothing and food. A kind of place someone can walk in for some food, some new clothes, and get his or her medicine. Seems like a pretty cool place.

I'm headed to Florida next week to see my parents and my sister will be there too. That will be a nice break from sitting poolside in D.C.... I can sit poolside in in Fort Lauderdale (which is ridiculously hot this time of year).

Well it's time for my next big activity of the day: Lunch. And then I think I'm headed to a friend's pool in a couple hours. Don't be too shocked.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


So I've really sucked at this whole "blog" thing. It's been a few months (3, to be exact) since I have posted, but I have been a little busy with the whole med school thing. I know, I know. I use that as an excuse pretty much for everything, and there are times when I should reevaluate my priorities and not let medical school take over my life to the full extent that I let it over the last couple months. That being said, there are also times that I need to realize that what I am studying is only going to help me in my career, which means that my future patients will all benefit. So there's the crazy "ying-yang" that I have tried to balance my life with over the past few months. I thought that I had it all figured out up until last week as I have pushed all of my "real life" duties aside; but as I am figuring out this week, it isn't always a wise idea to simply shove ideas to the side and decide that they will figure themselves out. Between late wedding responses and hurt feelings for those I have neglected as I became too wrapped up in my own life, I have started to understand the complexity of attempting to balance my career with my life.

I know that my career will not get any easier from this point: the workload grows and the hours increase. So how do I strike this balance? It's a question that I feel many, if not all, physicians face, but often many never confront. I think I've heard somewhere that many physician's marriages end up in divorce; whether it's true or not I can't say for a certainty. But I can see where it comes from as our careers turn into our lives. Not once can I leave school and not think about all that I have to, nay, want to learn. Not once can I leave the doctor's office where I am medical student interviewing patients and wonder about the patient who has early onset dementia and how his family is coping with the news. I'm entering a profession that I wanted for so long, and I'm only really now beginning to understand what it truly means to be doing the trite thing of "helping people."

I guess I have the next couple of months to attempt to figure all of this out. And if I do, I can probably write a book about it and financially be able to retire. Of course, that's not what I really want, since I entered this profession in order to do one thing: "Help people."

still waiting,

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's only been a month and a half...

Oh no way. I'm actually posting to my blog.

I just did a quick look to see when my last post was and it was January 10th. Today is February 22nd. So I guess I sort of let things go. Not 100% sure why. Originally, it might have been because I was pretty upset over the loss of the Ravens. I am sure that turned into some sort of lazy habit for me where I just decided against posting to the blog.

I also had a set of exams a couple weeks ago and I sort of flipped out over the whole exam thing. I'm not 100% sure why, but I think it was a combination of me not studying for the first couple weeks after break, and me not studying for the first couple weeks after break. That being said, I have attempted to take a little more time to study for this block. But then we had snow days last week, and we really haven't had that much lecture, so there isn't too much study. So I'm back in the "Ehh, I don't need to study yet phase."

As it turns out, this might be a good time for less class as a couple things have happened. 1st relates to my summer. Long story short, some things have worked out while others have not and I have had a pretty busy week trying to put everything together for this summer. Secondly, I've been having car troubles. A couple or 3 weeks ago, my car started puffing out smoke whenever I started it up. Of course, my first thing would be to go get an oil change. It had been a good number of miles (probably 7-8,000... the factory recomended is 7,500, so I am not negligent). And that didn't help my problem. I then got a tune up and that didn't fix it. Then this weekend I remembered a thing I got in the mail about my car relating to an oil gel problem. I read the form and it said if you car is blowing smoke and using excessive amounts of oil then you could have this problem. The thing is, there is a class action suit for this problem and if my car has it, then Toyota needs to replace my engine (even at 100,000 miles).

So I dropped off my car yesterday and ever since, they have been giving me a runaround. I have only been contacted when I call them. They started accusing me of not taking good care of my car and blah blah blah, I am pretty frustrated at Toyota right now. I'm headed in tomorrow to talk to them to try and straighten things out.

After a phone call from a friend tonight though, things seem on a better track. It is pretty nice to know that tomorrow (well, now today) is Thursday and the weekend is upon us. I had an awesome weekend in Richmond last weekend, and now I'm looking forward to having a weekend to relax some... and get a little studying in.

still waiting,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Texas Ranger and the horrible Colts

So even though I've been in class for about a week now, I haven't actually begun that whole "studying" thing. I have spent a few hours looking at the books trying to get up to speed on some of the subjects, but have found the "out of school" opportunities a little bit more (ok, a lot) enticing. Our biochem class is... well it's hard to describe. Our professor, Dr. Walker (Texas Ranger) likes to talk. And talk he does. Ramblings on about who knows what half the time. This week he's rambling about protein structure and function, which the nerd in me says is kind of cool... I also did take a class in college called "Protein Structure and Function." So one would think it would be understandable and interesting for me to see it the material again but with a perspective from the end point. (Like when you read a book for a second time... you can see the foreshadowing even better). But the class has been kind of boring. Maybe it will pick up.

The other class is Physiology. Right now we are on cardiovascular physiology. That's actually pretty cool. Our professor has brought in props every day to describe a lot of things which is kind of cool. And we learned that a giraffe's heart is about 2 feet long. That's long. But they also have a pretty tall body. Giraffe's also have a black tongue. But I don't think that's related to the heart.

This weekend is going to be exciting. The Colts are coming (back) to Baltimore in a divisional playoff game. This should be an exciting game to watch as the high powered Indianapolis offense led by Peyton Manning goes up against the league leading Raven defense. They say defense wins championships... so let's go Ravens!

For those unaware of the history of the Colts, the team is formerly the Baltimore Colts. In the glory days (late 50's-60's) of the Colts, they had an amazing quarterback in Johnny Unitas (Johnny U, who I have actually met), and won the NFL Championships in '58, '59, '68 and the Super Bowl III in 1970. Essentially in Baltimore, they have a pretty storied franchise, even with media calling them the best team of all time. The team then started going a little downhill, until 1982 when they had the worst record in the league. The owner of the time, Robert Irsay, a man who is still hated in Baltimore, then threatened to move the team from Baltimore, but later decided to not move the team.

But secretly, Irsay was in talks with Indianapolis. The city offered a lucrative offer that he could not refuse. Then, in a move that has scarred Baltimore forever, Irsay brought in the Mayflower Trucks on the snowy night of March 28th to pack up the Colts, and move them to Baltimore. (The picture is from that night). It is my understanding that Baltimore was promised a team, but it was not until 11 years later did this finally come through, hence the birth of the new Baltimore team, the Ravens. To be fair, I do realize that Baltimore ended up having the team from Cleveland; however there are many differences in the two transactions. The first being that Cleveland retained all rights to the name and the colors of their team, the Browns. Baltimore, however, was stripped of the name and the colors of the team that had defined a city. In the intervening years, Baltimore had a team in the CFL, and wanted to name them the Colts, an homage to the team that was Baltimore. Indianapolis ended up suing this football team claiming they had fill rights to the name. Unfortunately for Baltimore, Indianapolis won. Cleveland was also guaranteed a team within 3 years of the team leaving Cleveland, which actually game true.

So there is the history. And hopefully now you can see why any person from Baltimore can never, ever, ever, EVER like the Colts. And also why this game is so important.

I'll be watching, will you?


still waiting,

Sunday, January 07, 2007

2nd Semester and Little Miss Sunshine

2nd semester started this week, which means no longer can I sit around and have absolutely nothing to worry about. Of course, that didn't stop me from taking advantage of the 70 degree weather yesterday and hitting the driving range. That was real nice.

I also finally watched Little Miss Sunshine yesterday afternoon (after the driving range). It is an absolutely hilarious movie if you have not had the chance to see it. It's about a family and that's about really all you can say. I found myself laughing out loud by myself in my apartment. It is one of those "awkward" movies (like Meet the Parents) and I usually have trouble with those, but not this one. It was great.

So being that I did start Med School again this week, I guess I can give a brief rundown of where I am in school. In the fall, I took Gross Anatomy and Neuroscience and I placed out of Microscopic Anatomy. In the 2 classes that I did take, I ended up doing very well, so I am very pleased with how everything started. Basically... the fall was more like "What is in the body?" and this spring will answer the question "How does the body work?" as we are taking Biochemistry, Physiology, and Immunology. These classes are a bit more thought provoking and not as much rote memorization (though, being that we are in med school, there is still a lot of that).

Alright, well I am going to try and write more this semester. We'll see how that goes.

still waiting,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fall semester completed!

Yeah yeah yeah. It's been a month or so. All I can say is... well like normal, I have no excuse. But I'll dive into where I've been.

So for the past month, I've been in medical school. And that should be explanation enough. But, I will go into it a bit further. As of last Friday, I completed my first semester of medical school, and did so with flying colors. I managed to do very well in Neurobiology, and the grades for Gross Anatomy have not come out yet. I expect them in a couple days and seeing as I needed something ridiculous to pass the class (like a 22% on the final or something) I have a pretty good feeling that I passed the class and thus am not really worried about that.

On Friday we took the Gross Anatomy final which was on the Head and Neck, and the pelvis. Two amazing areas to be studying out in public. I was definitely at a Starbucks once or twice and took a step back at the pictures that I was looking at and realized that I was either looking at a genitalia or pictures of a face with the skin taken off. Not exactly what you would expect to see when walking into a Starbucks a couple weeks before Christmas. Something hit me about a week before the final and that was the fact that I had dissected an entire human body over the previous 4 months. Only once in my life will I ever dissect a body to the extent that all of us just had completed. Most people in the world never have that oppurtunity and I have just complted it. I also feel like this course is the one course that every doctor has had and knows that every other doctor has had. Sort of a weird bonding experience, if you will. This just brought me pause in that I was now through that course.

That being said, I am officially 1/8th of a doctor. I know I know, that still means I have a ton of stuff left to do, but baby steps here, baby steps. I ended up writing "1/8th Doctor" on a T-Shirt and wore that under my lucky sweatshirt to my last final and upon handing in the exam, I took off the sweatshirt and stretched in front of the class... it was cool. I laughed, the professor laughed, and so did the couple people who saw laughed. I also wore it out on Friday night (under the Polo shirt) and people laughed more then as they saw it. I ended up having a fun time after the exam, hanging out at a friends apartment (this friend got his PhD in Japan and he is an associate professor over there -- which means he needs to teach 2 lectures all year, which would be how he can also be in medical school in Washington D.C.) and then we all went out to Dupont Circle (Front Page then Rumors).

I woke up at 11:30 on Saturday morning and I opened my email and one of my emails was the Google Calendar reminders of my agenda which I get every morning at precisely 4:56 A.M. The great thing about this email was that it said "You have no events scheduled for today." That brought a smile to my face because for the first time since August I woke up with absolutely nothing to study. It felt pretty awesome.

One of the highlights of exam week was that this was the week that Senator Johnson was admitted to the George Washington Hospital and so there was a ton of press and security was pretty tight. I just thought it was kind of cool. I say it's a highlight because let's be honest: studying for a gagillion hours a day isn't exactly "fun." I do like the material we are learning - I find everything pretty cool -- it's just pretty daunting when you realize that you are being tested on every single muscle, nerve, artery and vein in the head and neck. And in case you didn't know, there's a lot there.

Right now I am sitting on my porch in Ft. Lauderdale. I flew down here yesterday by way of Columbus, Ohio. (I started in D.C., so that made no sense whatsoever). I'll be here for a couple of weeks, shifting into neutral and recharing the batteries. (point to who can point out what movie that comes from). It's a nice 70 degrees with the breeze flowing through my hair that is way too long.

Well that's all I got for now. I think it might be my New Year's Resolution to post more. We'll see.....

still waiting,

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thanksgiving and Borat

Well here's a random post for you. I haven't posted in a couple days (and by a couple I mean, 12) and really there's no impetus for this post. Not that I need one.

Right now we're cruising through the head and neck region of the body, as well as the pelvis, which was described quite in detail in the last post. The overall mood in the class is definintely one of "let's just get to Thanksgiving." It hit me last week at some point, and hit a lot of more people this weekend, and by now, I haven't talked to anyone who is not excited to get out of here for a few days break before we gear up to finish the semester. And it helps that we only have class on Monday, which means lots of people are skipping Monday and going home on Friday getting to spend a good 9 days at home.

As for me, I am not spending the whole 9 days at home, but rather, I am headed to Richmond on Saturday for Colin and Jules' wedding. I keep talking to more and more people who are going to be at this wedding, so it should be a lot of fun getting to see everyone. It's been a couple years for a lot of these people. I'm then headed back to DC and Baltimore before Thanksgiving and hanging out up in Baltimore for the holiday, and just some time at home. I'm sure there will be some other stuff going on too. And it's going to be weird because I am going to be seeing non-medical school people. We have all joked how we don't know know how to converse with non-medical school people. Hopefully, I can actually do that.

Tomorrow, shockingly, we have class, like every other day of the week. That's one of the reasons I don't post all that often because it's all the same everyday. Class, study, eat, sleep.

I did see Borat which was really funny, offensive, and all that stuff all rolled into one. My favorite scene was probably the naked wrestling..... wait, what??? No really, my favorite part might have been when Borat had just gotten off the Winnebego and threw his bag down, and the chicken is bag squaked (or whatever a chicken does, cock-a-doodle doo? isn't that a rooster? ba-gak? something like that. I really have no idea. This probably shows that whole "I can't do anything out of medical school thing")

still waiting,

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Long awaited 100th post

Well here it is. The long awaited 100th post. I say long awaited, because its been forever since I have updated. I am pretty sure that none of you actually knew this was the 100th post. I'm also pretty sure that everyone has pretty much stopped reading this because it's been so long since I decided to write anything.

In the intervening time between posts, lots has happened. If I recall correctly (which I can by going back and reading) the last thing I talked about was how much of an idiot I was on the Metro. But more importantly, was the fact that we had just finished the first block of exams. And as I write today, we have just finished the 2nd block of exams. As far as grades go, I said I wasn't ever going to post numbers, and I'm going to stick to that... but I am going to say that I am doing pretty well. I was happy with the first set of exams, and we got back our 2nd set of Gross Anatomy grades today, and I was pleasantly surprised yet again.

One of the main reasons I hadn't posted was because I hung out a lot after the first set of exams was over, and then all of the sudden I looked up, and we had so much material and I was stunned when I realized that after a week of class, we had essentially received all of the material about the chest (thorax in medical-speak).

So now we have finished the thorax and the abdomen, meaning the only part of the body that we have left is the pelvis area and the head and neck. In lab today, we definitely had a day that I probably won't ever forget. While I started the day taking skin off of my cadaver's face, an hour or so later, things got a little more intense. We read the instructions, and were informed that we needed to take the handsaw from the box, and cut the body between the 3rd and 4th Lumbar vertebrae. See picture. This was pretty intense. I completed the cut through the body separating it into an upper, and lower half.

After reading the instructions further, we found out that we needed to bisect (cut in 1/2) the lower half of the body that we had just separated. We were told that we needed to use the scalpel for the soft tissue and the saw for the bone. So the three girls of our group decided they did not want to hemisect the penis. (I had to just say it. Hopefully I don't get hits on Google...). So the three guys took over. One took the scalpel, and I just stood there, but I soon realized he needed some help as things were moving. So I took my hand, and placed it on either side of the scalpel holding the penis in place as it was bisected.

So that was weird. Not every day that you can say you cut someone in half. Not everyday that you want to say you cut someone in half. Unless you are a magician.

So today I think was one of those days that made me do some introspection on the whole experience of Gross Anatomy. On one hand, we were given this body to learn all about the ins and outs of the human body, from head to ankle (Podiatrists take care of the feet). And on the other, this body that was given to us, once had life in it... blood flowing through all of the arteries that I discovering, muscles moving, air in the lungs, and everything. So I don't know, it's kind of weird. Some days I don't even think about it. I simply head into lab with the scalpel and probe and just go at it. And then there are days like today when I am taking the skin off the face, or cutting him in half, and I think about what kind of life he lived.

They say we go through stages when becoming a doctor. This is from an article that the librarian for my PBL group sent us:
"When young whippersnappers arrive at medical school in the fall of their first year, it'’s not uncommon to hear them declare, in a voice giddy with idealism, that they want to cure cancer or save babies or dedicate their careers to small inner-city clinics. But check back in with them four years later —after they've racked up $200,000 in debt, contemplated having kiddies and been scared witless by the prospect of piddling reimbursements —and many of them will say they want nothing so much as good pay, flexible hours and few midnight emergencies. Your future lifesaver wants, in a word, a nice lifestyle." (http://www.observer.com/20061030/20061030_Lizzy_Ratner_pageone_featurebox.asp)

And maybe I am starting to see a different stage now... the dissassociation that many doctors have when interacting with patients. I guess it's my hope that I don't become as disassociated with my patients as I feel I am with my cadaver, where I just kind of suppress everything, even though I wouldn't ever admit that to anyone (please note the irony here).

still waiting,

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Metro faux pas

So I did it. I did the thing that annoys every single Metro rider.

I was on the down escalator in the Rosslyn Metro this morning and as I stepped off the final step of the escalator, I saw it. The train had just arrived. Now I know that at 8:40, there is another train right behind this one, and usually I simply stroll to the train, knowing I will probably miss that train.

This morning was different. I was running a few minutes ahead of schedule, which actually makes this even more of a curious situation. As the train came into view on my descent on the escalator, the doors of the train just opened and I knew I wanted to get on the train. I started the half walk half run that has been done by every single Metro rider in an attempt to make a train, but my tired self would only allow me to move so fast.

I was getting closer and closer to the train and my goal was getting more and more in sight: I was going to make this train! As I approach the doors they remain open and I gently step on the train hearing the voice "Please step back the doors are closing." I did it. I made the train. Pleased with myself, I begin wondering if I have stepped enough on the train so that my messenger bag has made it on the train as well. The doors begin closing and WHAM. They close between my body and my bag.

I helplessly stand there caught between what I feel like are the jaws of life. The doors have closed about 2/3 of the way, but my bag has stopped them from closing the rest of the way. I next wonder if the train operator recognizes this, and if he hasn't, is there enough space between the wall of the tube and the train that it won't really matter. No, I didn't think about trying to reopen the doors.

Luckily the guy next to me thought about that. After a nice slam to the door, the doors reopen, and I am freed from the grip of the door. And then I hear it. The bell and the voice saying "Please step back, the doors are closing" go off for the 2nd time. And I was the cause of the 2nd time. I always laughed at those people. The one's who have caused all of the doors to the train to reopen. While laughing, I also always got a little annoyed by those people. Can't they make the train like the next one?

So for those of you who may have been on the Orange Line this morning at Rosslyn at around 8:40, I apologize for the pain I may have caused. I know that pain, and for it, I am deeply sorry.

still waiting,