The Funny Current

is actually a current controlling heart rate.

Category: Downstate

Ob perks

I giggle inside a little bit everything I think of the fact that all the males in my track have period tracker apps on their phones.


To Do

It’s amazing how quickly showers fall to the bottom of the To-Do list

Dust to Dust

It seems like you can take on 1 of 2 attitudes when you’re working in a hospital– either good that you’re helping people, or a bit morose because you’re really being faced with an existential crisis everyday.

The first patient I was responsible for at this current hospital arrived as a very sick man. He was unlikely to do well purely because of a flagrant cancer that hadn’t been responding to treatment. Amazingly, he’s stuck around for almost 2 weeks, but at this point we’re discussing how to make his last moments peaceful. Having to go in every morning to check on this man always made me think of how we’re all ultimately going to die. Dust to Dust, right? No matter how high you “ascend” in life with your wealth, status, power, it doesn’t mean anything because when you get sick, you’ll be just as unkempt, smelly, undignified, and ill as anyone else. You start to go down the line of, “what’s the point?” And this must be what severely depressed people think about all the time.

(I can’t help but think of this funny story told at a contest… a man is describing how he and his friend always go to Pizza Hut, obviously for pizza. One day, he goes and asks for his usual, and the waitress says, “I’m sorry, but we’re out of pizza today”. The man just looks at her, completely side-lined, and takes a good look around the room, seeing a multitude of people similarly confused. And he starts to ask himself, “Why am I here? Why are any of us here … ” )

On the other hand, you’ve got people boasting about saving the day, or salvaging a lab value on a patient. Maybe they’re at peace with the idea that death is a great equalizer and you don’t take anything with you when you’re on your way out. Or is that a result of not thinking about it too much? It wouldn’t surprise me that there is a subconscious protective reflex built into us.

I think I’m just noticing this more because I’ve never had to spend any time in a hospital as a patient. Hospitals are kind of grisly. Yes, there is a lot of healing and miraculous recoveries, but ultimately it’s a place where for sick people. Another plus for Preventative medicine.

What’s in a name

I’m in a waiting room and the nurse calls in “candida”. I feel bad for this woman.


3rd year is all about figuring out what field you want to devote your life to. And as an inexperienced student, I find myself liking rotations where the preceptors are sharp and good-teachers. So I’m getting a really mixed experience right now, which is unfortunate, since I had Family Medicine on my radar, and as the rotation draws to a close, I find myself…shifting away from it.

Time is definitely a big problem. The schedule can be messed up for any number of reasons, ranging from patients being late, doctors being slow examiners, or being bogged down by having to confirm labs or radiology reports. The end result is that you get frustrated and are constantly watching the clock or bemoaning your extra hours. Logically, the only thing you really want to do after that is just get done and leave. But if you think about it retrospectively, you’d feel awful because you’re valuing your personal time over other people’s health.

So purely from a student POV, I had better structure in Internal Medicine (where you’d expect to be busier), because I actually got out of the hospital when I was supposed to. Here, it’s varies between 5-7PM. This pattern for however long I’m going to live doesn’t really appeal to me.

Prescription Writing Adventures

Today I learned you can write a prescription for magnum condoms. In fact, you can specify whichever kind of condom you want.


In a Jamaican accent, “Hemorrhoids” sounds exactly like “MRI”.

I thank God that Bates and several other old texts still use the term “piles”, because it had to get that far for me to get what was going on.

Babies and Nerves

Babies are just 4 limbs of perplexity. It makes me wonder about this “hard-coded” maternal instinct in women. I’m starting to think it doesn’t exist in my head because I see little children and I think:  What do I do with this thing? Why is it gurgling and making it difficult for me to hold them?!

I don’t think they’re particularly cute and I’m really more concerned with what’s wrong with them. Is this just another manifestation of my dislike for small-talk? “Hey, let’s fast-forward over darn this baby is so cute, and you just tell me if she’s been pooping, playing, and speaking?”

Babies cries are also just inherently so ….piercing. They’re almost the purest definition of noise. It’s sound propelled by all the oxygen they can spare. The only break you get is when they realize they’re not breathing. It’s impossible to ignore, which makes me realize that postpartum depression and neglect is that much more horrible. Nature, you are a fiend. Clever, but a fiend.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that neural development really does take a long time. There was a 6 year old running all over the exam room, but they were wobbling. I did a double take because I thought maybe there was some other pathology going on. But no, just a long time for everything to myelinate and get into working order. It makes me hate demyelinating disease and muscular dystrophies more. They’re literally just stripping your nerves and muscles, taking away years of critical development and training.



Existential medicine. Putting a stopper in death

I’ve realized that change is what’s scary. I’m thinking in particular about this patient I ended up talking to a lot partially because I had to translate.
They’re in end-stage renal disease (among other things), and it’s established in the back of everyone’s mind that this person is going to expire pretty soon.
It didn’t spook me as much when they were animated enough to have a conversation, but when there was a sudden change in their condition, the whole atmosphere became charged with this sense of nausea and impending doom. Rationally speaking, nothing has actually changed. The prognosis is the same and we all knew what the profession of events would be. But I guess this is where denial comes in, the last image I had was of a pretty cheerful person who made their spouse buy me coffee as a thank you. You’re mind tends to run away with you and you imagine someone in a hospital gown skipping away in fields of gold. Or the ridiculous idea of a “peaceful” end. I don’t think anyone really just dies in their sleep without looking horribly worse or being in some sort of distress.
Anyway, when I saw how much worse they got, I was thinking, “holy –, this person is going to die. They’re going to die. What am I doing? What can I do? Is my face right? Should I be more emotional, less? No, no crying, there’s enough wet eyes here to water a garden”.
And now, at the end of the day, that sense of essentially freaking out has subsided and I’m sort of thinking of them as gone. And that doesn’t bother me as much because its just something you can’t alter. I’m off for the weekend, and I said hi/goodbye to the couple, and I got this sense that I was leaving them in a static field of purgatory. One of them is hovering between life and death. The other is between a splintering point in their life. Right now, it’s tenuously held together. On Monday, the world is going to be different. I can almost imagine a whiteboard eraser going over their name on a family tree. It’s…some word between curious and morbid.
I’m going to make a pop culture reference. When Harry potter was really big, my favorite character was Snape. But at the second to last book, I decided to stop reading the series because I knew Snape would have to die in order to be redeemed. That was my version of time travel. Just stop right there and that canon never would have happened. This is the same thing. And I don’t know if I should hope/pray for them to last a little longer, because it really wouldn’t change anything.

Then again, I suppose We’re all postponing the inevitable.

Orientation Day and Cactus!

Transfer students got their own orientation day. Mostly run-of-the-mill stuff with how to study and what to expect in the coming year. But I think we all know no matter how much we prepare, we’ll still be surprised.

What everyone was really looking forward to was the phlebotomy training session. I ended up being paired with an MD/PhD student who claimed to be the only person in the room who had experience drawing blood before. Maybe he was talking about rats or something because he did a good job mangling both my arms.

Lesson learned: don’t try to go 90 degrees with a needle IN someone’s arm. It hurts a lot.

I wish the picture was more gruesome to make my point, but I couldn’t really use it without significant discomfort for a few days.

I wasn’t too bad, but I have to get the hang of what a vein feels like. I also have to stop pressing the safety on the butterfly needle before I use it–it makes the needle shoot inwards and garbage.

But best part of the week?

Kate mailed me a piece of the agave plant I dragged over one early morning!! This sucker is sharp. I stuck myself quite a few times while potting it. Hopefully it takes root and I can really have a piece of the desert with me.