Saturday, September 09, 2006

more (overdue) ramblings from a scatterbrained fourth year

I feel like I am continuously behind in everything and it's more than a little frustrating. (if I were on a treadmill I'd be scampering to keep up with the motorized belt and contemplating how bad a crash landing onto the floor would be.)

At some point (maybe in the next week?) I'll get pictures of my ksks package (and dig up the site of my kind pal!), do a true inventory of all that I am knitting, and, hopefully, get my personal statement finished up.

If you ask those who know me well, they'd tell you that I tend to forget that I'm in my fourth year of med school, and often bite off more than I can chew. They'd tell you about my great (and mostly unrealistic) aspirations of what I was going to knit this year (sweaters! socks! sweaters!), dare you to look into the unmarked cardboard box in my trunk and count how many fiction books I'm toting around with me (most bought at thrift stores and off of bargain shelves) and then make me count up how many weeks I've been saying I'd watch the netflix film (that is holding up my parents being able to get three movies at a time instead of two).

I can't compete with those points, and have slowly realized that I'm not going to get it all done this year. My sewing machine is no longer in the back of my car, and most of my fabric is in another state right now. Robin is with me, but only because I keep thinking I'll be able to take a trip to Gil's to get the drive band fixed and screws replaced with bolts. After she's good to go I'll make the trip down to Mass and introduce her to a new wheel'sitter. Perhaps I'll get a chance to see her again this fall, but otherwise it's outtasight'outtamind, and my spindle and I will get to know each other again.


I have several (mostly incomplete at this time) thoughts about radiology, and feel like I could go on and on about what I learned in my three short weeks. It was my first time at a major trauma center and the sheer number of patients they take care of still blows my mind. I had a chance to spend some quality time at the women's imaging center and learned a lot about mammography and what happens when a breast biopsy is done. The doctors I worked with at the women's center were kind, patient and enjoyed working directly with people - that experience alone blew my preconceived notions (of the classic radiologist antisocial personality) out of the water. One of the doctors I followed at the hospital oversaw the newborn hip ultrasounds (to assess hip dysplasia) and preemie brain ultrasounds. She was amazing with the little ones and knew how to keep them happy AND get the pictures she wanted. I don't miss getting lost in the urban area of York, and must say that the last week in the dorm (the week in which my roommate showed up - the rooms were bad enough without an extra person in them) was hard, but I feel like I could do another few weeks with them and learn even more.

(there is more to ramble about, but my thoughts about what it is like to look at an x-ray of someone's bones without knowing their name, age, race, medical history or insurance type are scattered. They diagnosed cancers and said, sometimes under their breath, "this person doesn't have long.")


There are several requirements for my fourth year - I need to complete four weeks in internal medicine, four weeks of manipulation, four weeks in a surgery subspecialty and four weeks in a rural family practice (one that is assigned to us, we have no real say where they choose to send us). The month of September is my rural fp month and I, a true country mouse, am glad to be back in the woods.

This month I am living in a room of a local'ish resident (20-30 minutes away, also someone that is assigned to me) and it's a 180 degree switch from a dorm room. The bedroom isn't fancy but has a comforter that matches the window valances (maroon and gold), a small reading light near the bed and the closet has a real door - not something bambooish. The woman I am living with has a Harley in her garage, fish in a 25 gallon tank in the living room and a "things to do before I turn 60" list on her refrigerator. (I should add that she doesn't look a day over 39) We share the bathroom (full of original 70's gold tones - toilet, sink and tub/tub surround) and occasionally write notes to let the other one know what we're doing/when we'll be back. I come and go on my own and she has her usual company come over - I've met a great collection of locals and been warned, many times, about how bad hitting a moose can be.


If you mentioned the name of this area to anyone who knows anything about the Northeast they'd laugh when told that it's a "rural" area. I could justify the rural'ness by explaining that I am in the "somewhere" that exists in the middle of "nowhere." There is a small downtown with local shops (yarn store, bookstores, and a high end clothing store), a small coffee shop with free wireless (with odd hours that make it hard for me to get there) and a small local grocery store. My first stop today was to the grocery store to pick a few things up and so I could write a check $20 over so I'd have some cash for a cup of coffee.

On my way out of the market I swung by my car to drop off the applesauce, water and bread. I smiled at the locals, wishing them a good morning, when one gentleman on the sidewalk saw which car I was heading towards. He quickly turned around and followed me (to make sure it was indeed my car?) before looking me in the eye and pointing to the Robin sitting in my front seat. "Is that yours?" he asked, and when I replied (a little hesitantly) yes, he smiled a huge smile and said that I just HAD to meet his wife. They owned one of the shops on Main Street, and she'd love to meet someone else who spins. When I told him I was the new med student working over at the clinic he smiled and said he'd heard there was a new one in town. Before turning around he pointed up the street to make sure I knew which store was theirs, and then apologized for being so nosey - he was just excited to see a spinning wheel.

I went by the shop a little bit later and talked to her about knitting and spinning. She showed me the sock she's working on and we talked about knitting sweaters and, eventually, fiber. (it was at that point that she passed along information on an alpaca farm a few miles away...) Her venture into the world of spinning is fairly new as she just made herself a drop spindle and has been teaching herself how to use it. I promised her that I'd come by again, but with my spindle and lots of roving to play with, simply saying that I learned a lot by watching others spin. I am by no means a spinner, but am more than willing to sit and share what I know with her.


This area has recently lost some outstanding community members to a senseless crime, and being here hasn’t been easy. I am sensitive to the fact that I am “an outsider” and watching how things unfold is a lesson in pulling together and then, eventually, moving on. I have learned a lot in my first week here, and forsee the next three weeks being full of just as many lessons.