Sunday, October 29, 2006


This weekend was our medicine halloween party. It's funny how when you get a whole bunch of really intelligent people together and give them alcohol they turn into absolute idiots. Especially when they spend too much time studying on a regular basis so feel this is one of their only chances to have fun. There was some nudity, some passing out, and a lot of medcest. I went as the paperbag princess (from the Robert Munsch book) and Ben went as Maverick from top-gun. The highlight costumes of the night were "alopecia ariata" and "dermatomes" - the guy who went as the dermatomes actually let someone draw all of the dermatomes on his almost naked body with a permanent marker... I bet he's regretting that now!

All in all, I was feeling pretty good this morning, which many people in my class aren't going to be able to say!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The outcome

So I actually sat through the entire 8 hours of the domestic violence workshop. Believe me, all of us who stayed deserve a medal. Take everything I mentioned yesterday, add a stupid lecture in which they defined "interprofessional", "interprofessional teams", "teams", etc. ad nauseum for 45 minutes and a lame lunchtime activity. The lunchtime interprofessional activity involved not having enough sandwhiches to go around and discussing cases for which we had to answer questions in "interdisciplinary groups" that were aimed to elicit responses of how great things are in the hospital when people act as a team (duh!). It was truly mind numbing. The only two good sessions of the whole day were the talk from a police officer on police roles in domestic violence and the talk from a woman who works at interval house - our local women's shelter. Everything that was useful from the day could be summed up in approximately 30 minutes of material. Sometimes I really hate med school!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Medical School

I'm not sure if it's all med schools or just my med school that has the ability to take something that sounds really interesting and useful and turn it into the most dull/boring/useless thing in the universe. This is why I'm not looking forward to the day-long seminar I have tomorrow on domestic violence. I think that domestic violence is an important issue and that we definitely need special training on domestic violence in our curriculum. I hope that if someone affected by domestic abuse comes into my clinic one day I'll be able to help him/her figure out a way to get out of the situation and make a better life for him/herself.

This all being said, I'm not looking forward to my med school taking something so important and turning it into a 8 hour lecture-heavy experience in which I won't learn anything on how to actually manage patients in a domestic abuse situation. Inevitably this day is going to turn into a series of lectures on statistics of how many abused women need facial reconstructive surgery and exactly how many proline sutures are used each year to treat domestic abuse. There will be statistics about how many women affected by domestic violence live on streets starting with the letter 'B'. It will turn into discussions on "interdisciplinary care" that use lots of buzz words like SYNERGY and COOPERATION but actually don't SAY anything useful about how to locate resources or when to call law enforcement. I'm not sure how they can work a pharmacology lecture full of drawings of molecular structures and the cytochrome P450 cycle into domestic abuse, but I assure you, they will.

I really really hope that the workshop doesn't turn into yet another med school debacle, but judging from our AIDS symposium last year, I feel it coming on. I'm going to try to be optimistic. As you can tell, I'm not very good at it. So, expect a follow-up post tomorrow or the next day with the final thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I'm a bit under the weather, so this will be a short one, but I promise a longer post soon...

In the past week I've had a few interesting tests as a volunteer for demonstrations in our expanded clinical skills sessions. I've had an EEG, a needle EMG, a nerve conduction test, some hearing tests and electronystagmography. It has definitely been interesting. In the past I've also had MRIs and ultrasounds as parts of research projects. I'm a big supporter of doing the tests to know what these things feel like to your patients. Obviously, I wouldn't support putting med students through tests with high risk associated with them (CTs because of the x-ray dose, LPs, etc) but I think it's definitely a worthy learning experience to feel what the battery of common tests patients go through feels like. Some are scary (MRIs of the head) some are uncomfortable (EMG, nerve conduction) and some are not scary at all (hearing tests, EEG) and I think it's good to have gone through them so we can warn our patients about what to expect.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On Turning 25....

I turned 25 yesterday. I didn't think it would be a big deal until yesterday. When I said "you're 25" to myself, I suddenly started using other 25 year olds I know as a yardstick...
- I am not married (my parents and my brother were both married by 25)
- I have not got a real job (all of my friends have real jobs)
- I can't support myself (see above)
- many other stupid things I was thinking

The hardest thing for me was thinking that next year I would be 26. 26 seems really old to me. It's considered "late twenties". I swear I'm 18 years old.

Thankfully I do have a few things going for me:
- A wonderful boyfriend
- In training for a career I'm going to love
- Parents to pay my way through med school who love me
- Great brother and sister and inlaws
- <5 wrinkles
- a nice booty :)

So, now I'm off to my birthday party and I hope my birthday blues don't come back. I'm going to try and refrain from drinking too much sake...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Finally felt a liver!

In medical school you learn all your examinations on normal people. You learn to palpate the liver on someone without a palpable liver. You palpate systematically up from the suprapubic area to the costal margin on the right side with two hands asking the person to breathe in and out through their mouth. They tell you that when the person inspires the liver will brush up against your fingers and then recede on expiration back upwards (sometimes under the costal margin). This has remained a mystery to me for the past year and a half. I never felt a liver.

Yesterday I felt a liver for the first time. Mr. Yellow was a patient on medical service in for investigations into the source of his jaundice. His liver was HUGE. If you pulled up his shirt and inspected his belly you could actually see the outline of his liver. It took up almost the entire right side of the abdomen and part of the upper left quadrant. I palpated, and felt it, the kiss of a liver on my fingertips. Due to his condition his liver was nodular and I could actually feel the texture as it moved under my hand. Sadly, Mr. Y's CT scan revealed multiple liver mets from an unknown primary CA. I'm impressed that Mr. Y allowed 10 students to come in and palpate his belly and I'm very greatful. Without willing patients on the wards, medical students would only be able to practice on standardized patients and volunteer patients who usually do not have positive findings. They're doing a real service to the medical community by participating in our education.

To anyone who has ever been seen by a medical student: thank you. We all very much appreciate it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I like curry but it never ever agrees with me. I have a very sensitive tummy and I have a psychosomatic tummy too. Whenever I know something sad is coming up I start to feel very nauseated. It used to happen to me whenever I was traveling between Scotland and Canada because even though both countries were something to look forward to, I was also always leaving something behind. Anyways, enough about that, let's talk curry.

I made curry last night for Ben and I and I used Patak's tikka masala sauce. It was VERY good. I made a chickpea curry with potatoes and a few green veggies (green beans and broccoli). It was just as great as take away curry from Scotland. Scotland has very good take away curry due to the large Indian immigrant population. I made rice in our steamer for the first time too, and it was fab.

BUT the best part of the meal was the chapattis! I usually make naan bread or poppadums but we went to an asian grocery yesterday and they had chapattis that can be cooked from frozen. They were SO GOOD. I highly recommend Shana frozen chapattis. All you have to do is head up a non-stick pan and slap in the frozen chapatti. Move them around for 2 minutes, flip and repeat, and eat! I recommend a curry burrito made with a chapatti and some fabulous chickpea masala.

In other news, Ben bought me my birthday present yesterday ( my birthday is next Monday - Canadian thanksgiving) and I LOVE it. He bought me the winter boots I have been drooling over for a month. They are going to last me for YEARS and I've already been proofing them like crazy so they won't get damaged in the rain. They are so warm they were making my calves sweat at brunch today. They're shearling on the inside and I could wear them with bare feet but that would probably stink them up :) I love my boyfriend who listens to what I am yammering on about all the time (not just because he bought me a great present though!).