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….


Blogger Cari said...

oh my. decontamination sounds quite unpleasant. Especially the blowing-up part.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Cordelia said...

Hee hee -- Monsters Inc.
Every time I read your blog I think about how I am so very much not suited to be a doctor. How do you remember/do all that???

3:34 PM  
Blogger katiedid said...

On the other hand, your blog is making me rethink my plans to never work in the health field...

3:48 PM  
Blogger Bagpuss said...

I'm just about to apply for grad med school in UK (am about start third year of biomedical science degree)- hope we don't have to be contaminated. Good luck! Just think of all the cute firemem!

3:49 PM  
Blogger Kellee said...


Just READING this makes me feel rushed and excited. Congratulations.

Here's what I remember about York, PA from when we lived (sort of) in the area (near Aberdeen, MD).
1. The York Fair (I think it might be the state fair) is there and it should be pretty soon and it kicks ass.
2. It is very close to Hershey, PA. Yes, that is what it sounds like it should be. You should go there.
3. It's pretty darned close to Amish country. Make sure to visit if you can. Cheese. Yum.
4. It's also very close to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and we are in the peak of crab season. Don't miss a full-on crab feast if you can find one. It ain't cheap, but there's nothing else like it anywhere.
5. It's hot there.

In other news, Ms Concateknit and I are thinking of making a day-run up to Barton, VT for the annual Cherry Tree Hill warehouse sale on 9/1. Is that sufficiently 'on the way' home for you to consider siding up that way with us? 'Cuz, I know you need more yarn, yes?

3:49 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Hang in there with the boxes and move - that's what I did with my 4th year and it's great fun to be reunited with your stuff at the end. If only I had lids to all my tupperware . . .

4:28 PM  
Blogger margene said...

Your topsy turvy life continues. Can't wait to officially call you a doc;-)

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Juno said...

122 miles to York from me. I'm just sayin'.

8:32 AM  
Blogger CrazyFiberLady said...

You're welcome to come over and play with the twins, the cats, the wheels and swim in Northern NJ :)

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Nancy J said...

You'll be close to The Mannings -- you definitely should go there if you can!

12:36 PM  
Blogger "Grandi" said...

I sure enjoy the way you write! If your "writing personality" comes through to your patients you will be a much loved doctor!! My dad is dealing with lung cancer, and we have been in the presence of a lot of medical folks lately. Knowledge is imperitive, but your personality will make all the difference in the world to the folks you treat and their families!
Good luck on this next year's chapter!!

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

The peripatetic life makes it very easy to appreciate normal life afterwards. I know that's small comfort now.

They can't stop the clock.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous naomi said...

I second Nancy's comment--you should go to the Mannings.

And say hi if you wind up in Philly, which is even closer than Juno's. :)

10:46 PM  
Blogger Fran said...

Inner Harbor in Baltimore is a day trip from York. The Baltimore zoo and National Aquarium would be a day trip as well.(83 South will take you straight there).

Hershey is fun. If you're going to the amusement park, get a discount ticket at Giant food store. Chocolate World is free. And if you get to Hershey you might want to at least drive past the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, also a teaching hospital.

Yarn shops? One in Lancaster called Oh Susannah. I've never been there but I hear it is so crowded with yarn it's possible to get clunked on the head by falling objects. In Linglestown area near Hershey I think it is called Knitter's Dream or Knitting Heaven. Yarn Over Ewe is in Lebanon. That's about 20 minutes from Hershey and that's just because of stopping for traffic lights.

Hope you enjoy PA. Don't forget to try shoo fly pie. If you need anything at all please ask, I've lived here my whole life(plus I also work for the Hershey Company) and would be thrilled to help you enjoy your stay.

8:21 AM  
Blogger mf said...

Your almost there!

10:02 PM  

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