Wednesday, November 28, 2007

another day, another sleep plagued with dreams about hypercalcemia.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You know it's close to exam time when you go to bed with a textbook instead of the usual mystery novel. Argh.

Monday, November 26, 2007

busy day

I had gyne clinic this morning - looking at cervixes, yay. This afternoon I have a technical OSCE and I feel exhausted. I don't think I slept very well last night at all. This OSCE seems like a waste of time to me. Each station is 5 minutes, we perform two technical skills (lumbar puncture, IV, ABG, airways and bag/mask ventilation, suture) and then we demonstrate our technique for getting in and out of an isolation room. The whole thing is just pointless because we keep being told we don't have to do certain things: put in anesthetic, clean wounds, etc. but we have to say that we would do these things. It's just so unrealistic. And I'm tired dammit. I just want to go home. We have our class photo tonight so I can't even really go home after the OSCE. I have lots of studying to do but I'm just not in the right frame of mind. Argh. At least tomorrow we have the day off so I can sleep in a bit.

Friday, November 23, 2007

How medicine gets easier

Studying in first and second year I hadn't had time to really develop the catalog of patients' stories that I now carry around with me. Studying the GI system this semester I've been able to pull on a lot of personal experiences to remind me of the real consequences of diseases and the real suffering that goes along with them. For instance, a woman I saw in palliative care with gastric cancer last year (she is probably dead now) who used to take her chemo bag out dancing. She was so unlucky, quite young, horribly disabled by her disease, and knew she didn't have long. She was diagnosed late, so she had a 10% 5 year survival statistic to beat. People said she wouldn't go for a visit overseas, she did. People said she would never make another trip, the last time I saw her she was planning one. I hope to god she made it before she passed. I was honored to share half an hour with her and learn from her courage and optimism.

Liver lectures conjure up my friend with jaundice who is waiting for a procedure to make his quality of life better. He was so friendly and open about his disease and was willing to let me poke and prod him until I was satisfied that I had learned everything. He shared his story with me and his frustration with the medical system and how complicated it was to coordinate care between our center and another larger center. I remember each of his lab tests, complications and medications, because he is real.

So, medical students out there, don't despair, the stories really do help the heaps of information become real and memorable.

You know you're a big nerd (or your exams are super early) when you're one of 3 people in the biggest study room of the library.

We like to call this room "Harry Potter" because it has a air of old tyme charm to it with sliding ladders, book lined walls, brass carrel lamps and dark wooden desks. This is my favorite study place. Not only is it pretty, there are also hardly any medical students in it because it's not in the main library or the health sciences library. I'm getting back to my roots at the engineering library and I love it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Swedish berries are slowly taking over my life.

Today i found a very large occipital palpable lymph node on my head. I did a quick survey for scalp lesions and didn't find any. I feel fine. This leaves me curious. Also, my left armpit is sore. I think I'm coming down with a case of medstudentitis.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sometimes review sessions for exams do more harm than good. They freak the shit out of me that I haven't got enough done and don't know all of the answers. They make me more nervous than I should be. And, they make everyone in the class starting talking about how hard the exam is going to be. Argh. If they didn't hint at what was on the exam, I wouldn't go. But, alas, they do give good hints.

The semester we've covered endocrinology, obs/gyn and GI. GI is worth a ridiculously large part of our mark and is taught ridiculously badly. It makes me want to cry just looking at all the shit I gotta learn.

In other news, I tested my blood sugar today at the diabetes education center and it was 3.2 I guess I don't have diabetes. **** Note: this is in mmol/L

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm off to place my first IV in a real person - my victim is my housemate. In return, I will allow her to blow my vein. Friendships are built on such things.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


So, as a result of my blood giving last week I have developed a rather large hematoma. Basically my upper forearm is bruised with petechiae and quite sore. It developed the day after giving blood (last Tuesday) and is still persisting. I'm now wondering if I should go see someone about it and get my clotting factors checked. But, if it goes away by Friday I'm going to leave it. I've never had this happen to me before and have given blood several times. It makes me wonder what happened. It seemed to me that they left the tourniquet on pretty tight during the entire procedure so I guess that could have caused some back pressure and a bleed. I also took pressure off the wound for a couple of seconds to find my phone in my bag after donating. I dunno, it's weird though. This is a very small picture of what it looks like (sorry, taken on my phone).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh Pizza

Oh pizza, why do you torment me with your delicious smells and then burn my mouth to blistering bits? Darnit all to heck.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Ben and I made a plan tonight to go to Ottawa for remembrance day next year. For Better or For Worse today was really good - it made me tear up a little. Remembrance day always does that to me.

This week my university gave us Friday morning off to attend the ceremony for students of the school who have been killed in war. My PBL group decided to have PBL in that time instead. I didn't object too much, but raised the point that some of us might want to attend the ceremony. My tutor laughed and said that he hadn't observed remembrance day since grade school and he was too busy "saving people's lives" in the hospital to observe it. I think this is a pretty short sited and callous attitude. I'm sure he does a lot of good every day in his job, but there are a lot of men, women and boys who have gone off to war and given the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. I may not agree with a lot of things that are going on in the world today with respect to combat, but I still think it's a mournful thing for anyone to die in war. I remember.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Study Study Study

Well, finals are just around the corner again and I'm struggling to get enough work done and do the other things that have come to be important to me (spend time with Ben, go to the gym, sleep 8 hours). This week was the week that the gym got sacrificed so i would have time to participate in our yearly medical school talent night. With that over, it's back to the books and the gym (hopefully). Ben just left and I have 6 more lectures to review tonight in order to meet this week's study goal. eek. Wish me luck.

I also bought some awesome looking beets today and I'm hoping to make some delicious study food from them - I'll post more about that once it gets accomplished.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ben's Dad got a new dog. His name is Fiddich - he's sooo cute. Here's a pic:
I think he's pretty much the cutest dog I've ever seen. And he looks so playful. Ben's dad found him as a stray that someone had left on their summer holiday property after they'd gone home for the season. So, Fiddich has been rescued. Apparently he spends a lot of time outside because he has a new affection for shoes. That face just makes me want a dog.

In other news, I've been studying at home this morning and I live next to a daycare. There has been a kid who has cried non-stop for the past hour and a half since I sat down. I don't know how he does it - it's major staying power. With determination like that, maybe he'll be a doctor one day! Right now, he's doing his best to prevent me from becoming one!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You know what the worst thing about finding my perfect engagement ring is? The fact that I'm not getting married.

Edit: I haven't put the picture up because I think I'm reserving the right to change my mind between now and when i'm 75 and get engaged :)

On second thought.... I like this one:

My arm feels like it's going to fall off. Guess I might not be able to go to the gym tonight.

Blood - it's in you to give

I'm off to give blood. Wish me luck not getting rejected!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Body Jam

I just got home from Body Jam. If you don't know what it is, it's a class offered at goodlife fitness clubs. It's basically a dance/cardio class and it's super fun. I can never come out of that class feeling bad, which is why it's perfect for mondays. I always go into it feeling like I'm going to die or vomit or shit my pants after doing RPM (the goodlife spinning class) but then make a nice recovery in Jam. Usually on a Monday I would then do Body Flow (tai chi, pilates, yoga) after, but we have another rehearsal for our class dance tonight so I had to come home and shower and eat an apple. By the way, I've discovered my favorite kind of apple - honey crisp. They are SO GOOD. Crunchy and juicy and not too sweet and not too sour. Oh Granny Smith you've been replaced, and it feels so good.

Friday, November 02, 2007

This week I dropped below 130 lbs for the first time in approximately 10 years. Not because I've been trying to lose weight but because i've been trying to get into a shape that wouldn't frighten people if they were to accidentally see me naked. I've been eating the same old crap I usually do, which means I could probably look more fit than I do, but I like to eat crap so I'm happy as is. I was preparing for my session today on adolescent interviews and one of the questions is "How do you feel about your body? If there was something you could change, what would it be?" and I was trying to think back to highschool and what I thought of my body then. For the most part I remember being pretty satisfied, except for my small boobs. I was pretty athletic and was figure skating all the time, although a coach (not mine) once told me I could lose a few pounds... I knew I wasn't fat. This makes me wonder what it was with my upbringing that made me so secure about my body when other people I knew were very insecure. I was friends with at least 2 anorexic girls in highschool. One was a bit overweight and went on to become very very thin and the other started off as a thin athlete and became absolutely skeletal. Is it because my mom always told me that I was ok just the way I was, even though in the later years of highschool I had blue and pink hair and dressed like a punk? Is it because my family all ate dinner dogether and watched Star Trek the next generation? Is it because my brother and I got along so well?

I think about the anorexic girls I knew's lives and they seemed very much like mine. What was the crucial difference? Am I setting a bad example for other people by talking about my weight now? Am I buying into the weight loss obsession that seems to be gripping North America but isn't resulting in any less obesity (if anything, more obesity)?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I got it!!!!!

I am so stoked. I just got my U of T elective. Wooohoooooo! No more worries about that then.

So, here's what my elective schedule looks like:

4 weeks U of T ER
3 weeks in Moose Factory
3 weeks McMaster Obs/Gyn

Then hopefully I'll get my 2 weeks at UBC either in reproductive health or psych but that's until next summer so I'm supposing the information won't come through for a while. This is the most wonderful news I've had a while - what a load off my mind!