So first of all, two disclaimers: one, usually I exaggerate the absurdity of things that happen to me, but what follows is a thoroughly un-enhanced edition of a travel nightmare. Two, this is not at all related to medicine.
I’ve just returned to my home in the Southeast after a ski trip in Lake Tahoe. The voyage back from Tahoe took three days, and is a story unto itself.
Let’s start with a throwback to my surgery rotation.
Allow me to describe, briefly, the scene before a minor surgery. Like a lipoma excision, or a skin graft. The room is sterilized about fifteen minutes before the patient is wheeled back; no one is allowed in without a mask. Once the patient comes in and is put under anesthesia, they’re sterilely draped. You can’t even touch the lights without a special sterile holder, and anyone near the sterile field has to wear a ridiculous-looking full-length gown and specially-sized gloves. Continue reading →
(I’m off the soapbox to give y’all a break. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more faux-righteous anger, probably about how white coats are pretentious germ blankets that we should categorically ban from medicine, next week or so.) Continue reading →
On Friday, the Washington Post published an interesting profile of a cardiologist in Arizona named Jack Wolfson. Dr. Wolfson has made a name for himself recently as a physician who encourages his patients to not vaccinate their children. Also, he goes on TV a lot now to talk anti-vaccine stuff, even as children in the southwestern United States have measles.
Upon returning from winter break, I started up rotations again with psychiatry. Psych is unlike every other block in so many ways: there’s no physical exam, you spend tons of time with patients, and we have basically no idea why any major treatment works. Really.
I need to qualify the rest of this post, as usual when I say untoward things about people or fields where I’m working: patients here are clearly sick and need intense treatment, and there is nothing funny about people who are seriously mentally ill. Continue reading →
Back when we were working our way through our microbiology block, I wrote a post called “We Are All Going To Die.” If you remember back that far, it was about a phenomenon called medical student syndrome, where nervous medical students think they have the diseases they are studying. Depending on the day, I either had Ebola, anthrax, hookworm, a particularly virulent strain of E. coli, or a face-eating fungus called blastomycosis. It’s a miracle I stand before you today on my psych rotation.
Alas, not all is well in the world of Nate. You see, in one of the great all-time ironies of medical education, your writer has managed to contract a somewhat common condition known as “Bell’s palsy,” or in fancy medical words a “peripheral seventh cranial nerve palsy.”
My time on trauma was probably the most intense three weeks of medical school so far – even compared to the three weeks leading up to a major block exam, like I’ve written about before. When you hear “trauma,” you think of crazy accidents and dramatic TLC reenactments and emergency surgeries. There is some of that, but the majority of the time is spent in the ICU after someone has been stabilized “status post” getting hit by a Volvo. In other words, critical care. Continue reading →