It IS brain surgery

So far I'm s/p day two of week two in my neurosurgery rotation and I have:
performed my first lumbar puncture
observed a craniectomy and tumor resection
watched a patient go into surgery talking and emerge aphasic
witnessed seizures and gotten crash courses in how to read an EEG and prescribe AEDs
assisted in a subdural hematoma resection x 2
seen a stroke patient in his final hours
held hands with patients pre and post-op
seen all varieties of aneurysms: s/p rupture, coil and clip
worked with three amazing residents that take the time to teach
scrubbed for surgery four times
been told I need to read and I should know this or that
been told I am the best medical student in a long time and that I should consider applying to neurosx

It is fascinating, it is exciting. It makes being at the hospital from 5:30am until 6pm or 7pm or 9pm seem like a blink of the eye. Clinical rotations make the first two years worth it. I know that I am only starting my third year and that I don't really know that much, but I know that I like clinic and I like patients and I like talking to their family members. I like being at the hospital. I don't always know what to do but at the same time, I feel like I belong. And so- being an MS III is a good thing. (And now it is time for bed.) I'll have lots more to share once I am done with my rotation (only three more days, -tear-sigh) and have had time to properly reflect...
Stay tuned.


Lost (and Found?)

Since I'm on the "study hall" portion of my surgery core I have a bit of time to roam the hospital and ponder life. And I am studying. I've read/outlined the first 19 chapters of Lawrence's "Essentials of General Surgery" but it doesn't take an entire day to read three chapters so I have some time.

Last week I went to the ladies room and found a very well-loved lost lion in my stall.

I found him propped up, just like this so I have to think that he fell out of a stroller or was dropped and someone hung him here in hopes he would be reclaimed. I checked the restroom later in the day and he was gone so hopefully his owner was happily reunited.

I don't have any patient stories or amazing tidbits of info to share with you (yet) but I'm one week closer to being on a team, writing notes, rounding on patients and all of that fun stuff. In the meantime I'll leave you with this fun fact: the liver has over 2000 metabolic functions. So love your liver, because it loves you! Oh, and good luck to any and all of those "already brave" lost lions (and other well-loved stuffed animals) out there.

-Kudos if you read a rather amazing blog and get the reference!


False Start

So,  I have been orientated. I am at my surgical site and new home for the next three months. But due to new SGU guidelines our 12 weeks of surgery now includes protected study time. Which is great, but guess what? I ended up getting my two weeks of study time upfront and my six weeks of general surgery at the very end until the day before exams. Yippee for me! (NOT.)

So no early morning rounding for me or scrubbing in to watch a case, or any of that. Just sitting in the assigned library or conference room from 8am-4pm. Of course I can take breaks and leave for lunch but it kind of feels just like studying for Step 1. Sure I get to walk around the hospital in my short white coat and attend all the resident and academic lectures but I just don't feel like a third year. I know, my time will come. Pretty soon I'll be wishing I was back in the library with the entire day to read (at least this is what I am telling myself.) I have entertained the idea of just walking into a patient's room and assuming her care like I belong there, no one will call if there are extra notes in her chart, right?  Fine, I suppose I will just stick to pre-reading for surgery. It has been a long day. In a quiet/boring kind of way.

Time for Fun Facts:
-A normal healthy person sighs 9-10 x per hour. This protects the lungs from atelectasis. (Patients undergoing and awakening from anasthesia do not sigh or cough and thus this is a possible complication. I'd never thought of sighing as protective, had you?)

-Licorice consumption can lead to renal potassium loss. (Okay, I think I knew this one, but it is still pretty cool, so be careful what you eat!)

There are more, but I don't want to bore you. I am 90 pages in to Lawrence's "Essentials of General Surgery" and I have to say, I wouldn't be if it were not for this protected study time, so yay!?!

13 days until my neurosurgery rotation, at least I have that to look forward to!



Tomorrow is my first day of third year. I think I am ready but it seems like I can't really be ready because I have no idea what this will be. It feels like the first day of school and the start of first year all over again.

For those of you playing along at home I got my first choice in that I got to stay in California (for now). I was assigned surgery as my first rotation which is 12 weeks long.  And while I am not at a clinical center I am within driving distance of Dr. Boyfriend for weekends, etc. Of course after surgery I will have to most likely move and then move again and again but I don't know what comes next so I really can't worry about it right now. Instead I just have to focus on remembering my anatomy and being the best third year I can be.

The new apartment is set up and unpacked. My fridge and freezer are stocked. I have clean laundry. I guess I'm ready. In the meantime I am enjoying a glass of chilled wine. Cheers to surgery!