A Different World

The completion of my Neurology shelf last Friday marked the end of the fifth block of my third-year.

Wild huh?

If that isn’t wild enough, I’m about to start my 8-week long Surgery rotation this week, which is, from what I hear, a very different world than what I’ve been used to. The services that I was granted the opportunity to work on are Surgical Oncology, Ophthalmology and Anesthesia. That’s not a bad lineup at all, if I do say so myself. I’m excited about being one of those selected to rotate through Ophthalmology because as you know, I have had a strong interest in it for years now. It will be cool to get to work side-by-side with the residents and attendings in this specialty for three weeks straight, and I’m sure that I will get to learn so much about vision care and treating various conditions of the eye in general! Although I’m pretty much set on a career in Pediatrics at this point, I’m still planning on going into the Ophthalmology service with an open mind and will allow myself to really appreciate everything that this service has to offer. I will absorb as much knowledge as I can from everyone that I encounter and will deeply engage myself with the patients that I will be helping care for.

I will, of course, keep this mentality throughout my time on the other two services. I haven’t really had any experience in Anesthesia before, so I’m really interested to see what that service has to offer. And as for Surgical Oncology, which is the service that I’ll be spending the next three weeks working in, I don’t even really know what I’m about to walk into. All I know is that I’ll be in the Operating Room all day every day learning a ton about how to remove tumors from people while being constantly refreshed *cough* PIMPED *cough cough* on human anatomy. I’ve also heard that the days in this service can be very long. I’m talking about 5 AM – 7 PM type days. And here I was, thinking that starting at 6 AM was early. I’m not gonna lie, although it’s really dope that I’m getting the chance to engage in this learning opportunity, I’m a bit apprehensive about the fact that I’ll potentially have almost no time at all to do anything else outside of school these next three weeks. I’m also not sure how I’ll fare in the surgical cases that will run for 5+ hours at a time. It takes a ton of willpower and discipline to be able to concentrate on something for that long while standing up and remaining sterile. Plus, if you start to get really hungry, tired or you suddenly have the urge to use the bathroom, things can get really uncomfortable really fast. Aside from those two concerns though, I feel that my experience on the Surg-Onc service will be a dynamic and positive one. In regards to my Surgery rotation as a whole, I’m quite intrigued as to how everything will end up playing out!

In contrast to two weeks ago, where I didn’t have time to do much of anything outside of the hospital, I had an ample amount of free time last week due to the combination of MLK Day, shelf day and all the snow that got dumped on the region. I actually only worked three half-days throughout the week, and a good amount of patients ended up not showing up to their appointments due to the weather. However, I did get to interact with patients that were recovering from strokes and with patients who were dealing with conditions such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and muscular dystrophy. I also was able to get a lot of studying in for the shelf exam (shoutout to being trapped in the snow) and participated in a lumbar puncture simulation, where we practiced performing an LP on dummies. I must say, I was successful on my first attempt. 😊 Please don’t ask me to perform one on a real patient though…I don’t think I’m ready to take that next step yet lol.

Neurology was a fantastic rotation overall, and I learned so much while rotating through it. I’ve vastly improved on my Neuro physical exam and even developed a system so that it would be hard for me to forget how to perform the exam. I saw a ton of neurological conditions in person that I had previously only read about, I had some unforgettable interactions with some of my patients and I got the opportunity to work with and learn from some phenomenal physicians. I sincerely hope that they realize how much their teaching is appreciated. I also hope that I had a great performance on my shelf exam. Although I feel like I did fine, you never really know with these standardized exams until you get your actual score back. At the end of the day though, this exam was only worth 10% of my overall grade, so I’m not too pressed about it. 😄

Make sure to have a spectacular week! And I’ll let you know how my first week of Surgery goes in my next post!

“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” – Arianna Huffington

– Black Man, M.D.

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