Tuesday, August 22, 2006

the possibilities for a rambling are endless...

(note: it took many steps to get pictures to load and I'm not certain it worked; if you see bright red x's check back later...)

I could show you pictures of my current digs - a cinderblock dorm room with built in furniture and a nifty seventies style faux bamboo closet sideways-shade/ door. The room isn't much to write home about, but the location is key - below my window are the ambulance bays and off to the side of the bays is the heliport. Yes, I do see and hear everything that goes on - even the high powered (also from the seventies, complete with a few buttons missing) air conditioner (guess what brand - yes, it's a York!) can't cover up the sounds of an approaching chopper. I love to see them land and take off - especially at night, but I'm a bit tired...

(the ambulances dock under the white "roof" and if you look closely you can see the tail of a helicopter on the heliport)

Then there's the story of the (lack of) parking here - a three story parking garage is being torn down so that a seven story garage can go up in it's place - eventually there will be plenty! of! parking! for! everyone!

Until then, my car (that has almost everything I need in it) is parked a 15 minute shuttle bus drive away, at a strip mall. The hospital has an agreement with both a shuttle service and the mall, and being that I'm a lowly med student (who lives here! in the dorm!) I have to park there.

My yarn is there. My other clean socks are there. My cheerios are there. Overall it's strange to commute to my yarn and socks and cheerios. (the idea of moving it all in here - up three flights of stairs full of stagnant air - only to move it out again in three weeks - seemed overwhelming.) (they did give us 2 gig jump drives with the hospital logo on them...I guess that's something?)

Murphy's law rang true when my almost-completely-unpredictable period showed up and my stash of tampax was in the farfarfar'away car; there's nothing like asking around for a tampon (my second day into the rotation) to bond me to a group of women assistants.

My sewing machine is being held captive in the backseat of the car, and I can't use it in the dorm unless the biomedical engineers deem it safe and NotGoingToBurnTheBuildingDown'able. (they might not use that exact language, but really, that's what they mean.)

I doubt an early model Kenmore sewing machine has such potential - but having them look at it means I'd need to figure out where the biomeds are; considering I still get lost trying to find my way to the north end of the hospital (where the cafeteria and all of the classic overcooked cafeteria food is) from the south end of the building (I am literally in "south" hall), I think trying to find an unmarked door in this compound is near impossible. (Nevermind how many tries it takes me to find the "imaging" department each morning - I don't think I've taken the same route twice, and that certainly wasn't intentional!) (I'm neglecting to mention that the hospital is on a hill, and the dorm is in a building "up" on the hill when compared to the hospital. Overall this means that the first floor of the dorm = the third floor of the hospital. I'm not telling how long it took me to figure that one out...)

I could show you a picture of the sock I'm working on - it's a simple picot edged basic sock knit out of socks that rock. This is my first socks that rock experience, and I'm not sure I get what the big deal is. It's yarn. It is doing a strange alternating spiral stripe thing (that I'm not a big fan of) and I'm suspicious that I'm going to run out of it. I realize the fear of not enough could be irrational, especially since this is a hank of the new put-up, but overall, I'm just not sure I'm feeling the socks that rock love. Time will tell, and I might enjoy it more once this heel is turned.

Or I could go on and on about how my classmates seem to be procreating at an alarming rate and how many fairisle hats I have on my "to do" list. Current standings include two ladybugs, one bunny and two snowflake renditions. I'd be working on them now if it weren't for the fact that I'm weeks behind on something else and don't have any fingering/sport weight superwash yarn (with cotton for a soft and comfortable knit liner). Thank goodness Uncommon Threads is open "late" tomorrow night...

(I am holding out hope that I can find it. I tried to get to the Harley-Davidson Plant but instead wound up turned around and lost in the wrong part of town to be lost in. That happy yipping sound you heard last Saturday? that we me, finally getting un-lost in a Target parking lot. I’ve never been so happy to see something that looked almost vaguely familiar before…)

Or I could ramble about how hard it is to write a personal statement, and how much I want to talk about wool and how it kept me (almost?) sane through my first two (three?) years of medical school. How my application should be complete by now, but it still isn't, and how I need to register and pay for the other part of my national boards.

Then there's how to explain what it's like to spend hours on end in twilight'ish bat caves (aka: radiology reading rooms) listening to doctors dictate their findings. After the first three days I found myself speaking in "dictation'ese" - a strange combination of the written word spelled out.
for example:
This would be a great thing to blog about comma if I could find the time comma and a wireless connection condusive to such an activity period you'd think a wireless hospital would be able to provide the student dorm with wireless too exclamation point new paragraph

it's a bit un-nerving. (more about the experience of radiology in the future; I'm enjoying myself but don't want to do this forever.)

or about how happy I am that I am wearing this shirt –

- a "happy fourth year" gift that I have been saving for the perfect "OhMyThisIsMyFourthYear" moment. 13+ hours in the radiology dept feels like a good a time as any to bring it out....


instead I think I'll show you pictures of my college friend Katie's cats (cats that I had the pleasure of sitting on the weekend before I started this rotation). (Katie - bestfriendforever - is kind enough to let both Robin and Lyle hang out in her living room for a little while - anyone want to borrow a Louet?) They are cats that she has inherited from another college friend of ours and I think it's safe to say that they've made themselves at home. One of them is blind, but don’t let him fool you - he can scale piles of clothes, yarn, and other obstacles in his way if he even *thinks* he smells catnip. He also thinks that he makes a lovely travel accessory. (I did not, contrary to these pictures, bring him along for the ride. He did not, contrary to these pictures, convince the bear to stay. I think it'll be a long-distance relationship.)

The other fine feline quickly mastered one of my all time favorite games - cat in a box. I love seeing how quickly they can find a box and then how many positions they can create while in the box. I always throw in extra points if they stay long enough for me to get my camera.

I can't wait until I can have a cat (or cats?) of my own...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

if a picture is worth a thousand words....here's 11,300+ words

it's somewhat hard to see, but he has crimp in there. Actual, honest to goodness, crimp.

(I've tried for four years to get a picture of a cat with his tounge out, or in mid-yawn. A week with him and I had a yawn and several tounge-out shots. Who knew?) I think I looked forward to his daily brushings as much as he did. (fiber is fiber....)

ah ha! I do have a micro setting on my camera!

(why did that take four years to figure out?)

before.....(damp from the night before's shower)

and after - 10 1/2 - 11 inches gone! (the hair was donated to locks of love)


and after. My car will be lived out of over the next several months, and so I made an attempt to keep relevant things together and important things easy to find and reach. (notice that bin of sock yarn and it's position....)

four infant/kid quilts to donate to Project Linus. My mom worked on them and I did some of the basic piecing. (I can't take credit for the blue/yellow log cabin) My mom also whipped up another four fleece blankets (bigger in size) to send to Camp Sunshine. My fabric stash has been sorted and several of my larger pieces of fabric were used in the cause - a good thing. (less to pack, less to carry around and store!)

and last but not least - decontamination. "Decon" isn't anything I hope to have to do in the future,

but at least now I can say I've done it. (pictures of knitting were accidentally erased and I didn't get additional shots tonight. Tomorrow I hit the road to visit a friend in Rhode Island before heading on to York for three weeks. I have Aug, Sept, Oct and Dec set up with where I'm going to be when, but November isn't finalized yet. I've spent the last few nights thinking about where I want to be...Rhode Island? Long Island? Ohio? California? Vermont? I settled on applying to a program in Memphis and with any luck that'll work out. (Jan-May is in the air though, and the list of potential places spans the whole country....))

Thursday, August 03, 2006

cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, burn management, life-threatening metabolic inbalances and decontamination (oh my!)

it's been a long time since I've posted from my medical school classroom, and it will be another ~40 weeks before I'm back here again. (that time it'll be for the much anticipated "senior" week and I'll be counting days til gradution...)

We're all here for a week of emergency medicine training and review; this morning had me putting breathing tubes in very inflexible dummies (difficult, very difficult), “sticking” realistic looking plastic torsos with (anatomically placed) iv tubing filled with red dye in order to practice central lines in subclavian and internal jugular veins and then hearing about all of the settings on mechanical ventilators. This afternoon I’ll wrap up my “hands on” training with arterial cath line reviews, talking through emergency scenarios, and a whirlwind ek(c?)g session; a full day, if I do say so. It’ll end with a test (that has become take-home, thankgoodness) and then we’ll be back early tomorrow morning for disaster training.

yes, disaster training.

As in, what to do if any of the following happens: biological/chemical/radiation emergency, blast or crush injuries occur, and there are sessions on defining mass casualties and the psychological impact that presents itself if any of the aforementioned things does take place. Then, we end our last day here, the last technical day of our third year of school (I counted my last day as the last day of my rotation – which was a week ago) by being “decontaminated” by the local fire department.

Yes, the fire department.

We were instructed to bring swimsuits and towels and a change of clothing because we WILL get wet. (the sheet of paper in my hand actually reads:


emphasis is theirs so I’m fairly certain they aren’t kidding. I don’t want to be decontaminated, especially in my swimsuit with my classmates. I’ve seen Monsters Inc – to decontaminate they put a yellow bowl over the spot, hit a button and it blows up. What more do I need to know?!?

After I’m deemed “decontaminated” I’ll head back to my parent’s house to resume going through everything. I’ve moved boxes and bins three times now, and still have things to throw out and re-organize. I’m tired of packing and trying to find room for things but the only other option is to throw everything out, and that just seems silly. I’ve set aside the things I can’t live without for the next 10+ months and eventually my car will be organized in a way that makes it easy to find things. (or so the theory goes…) Next week I'm off to York, PA for a three week stint in radiology (which I liken to hiding out in a batcave for a little while); I have one good reccomendation for yarn stores - do any of you want to meet up on my trip down/back or while I'm there? (I can travel, I think, on weekends...) Labor Day weekend I head back for four week family practice rotation in rural New England - it's one requirement that I'm not dreading.

I cut off 11 inches of hair this week and it’s made a big difference in dealing with this awful heat and humidity. I had been growing it out to donate it (and, well, finding time to get it cut isn’t always a priority of mine) and do have before and after pictures. Once I get back to a somewhat stable site (meaning: I have time to upload pictures, wireless internet to post them) I’ll put pictures up – there are many but I’ll pick out the good ones.

I am so glad that this year is (almost?) over. Just 43w1d before I can officially call myself a doctor….