Monday, February 28, 2011

It has been much harder to stay focused on school now that I have matched and found a house. It feels like my mind is already in Dayton at times. My fellow classmates still haven't found out where they will be going - they won't find out until March 17!! Maybe the stress of not knowing keeps them working hard on their rotations. I think it wouldn't be so bad for me except I've used up all of my Pediatric time for 4th year and have to find adult rotations that A) haven't filled up and B) are interesting to me. So this is how I've spent my time since January:

PM&R - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
I wasn't able to get a Neurology rotation so I thought I would see a lot of neurological disorders through this rotation. I saw several people who were debilitated by strokes, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries who needed coordinated care with a doctor and their therapists (physical, occupational, speech). We took care of their medical needs to make sure they were healthy enough for therapy. I also saw many patients post orthopedic surgery who were recovering. I saw A LOT of chronic back pain and people trying to manage their lives while taking narcotics - I think it will be difficult to judge who deserves narcotics and who doesn't. Luckily chronic pain in pediatrics is not as common as it was during this rotation!

I spent two weeks with the ophthalmologists (12 at the office I worked in) learning about all kinds of different eye disorders. We really don't get that much exposure to eyes during medical school, even though eye disorders are fair game on all of our board tests. I spent several days during this rotation with a pediatric ophthalmologist studying various conditions like strabismus, amblyopia, nasolacrimal duct obstruction and others. I even spent a morning in the NICU evaluating the preemies for retinopathy of prematurity. I finally understood why my sister worked with an eye doctor and a plastic surgeon in her office; plastic surgery is a fellowship within ophthalmology that specializes in surgeries from the neck up.

Forensic Pathology
I spent a few weeks in the Coroner's office learning about death. Every morning was the parade of dead bodies to autopsy and determine their cause of death. I saw drug overdoses, victims of car accidents, suicides, even a murder. The murder investigation was just like you see in movies! The detectives were there with cameras, fingerprinting kits and DNA sampling. The victim was shot in the head and put in the trunk of his own car. He wasn't discovered for several days - luckily it has been super cold and his body was frozen. I can only imagine how a dead body stuffed in a trunk for several days in the hot, humid, mid-western summer would smell. Blech! I even saw an autopsy of a three year old. This was so difficult to watch. I thought of Zeb the entire time. This little boy was sick at home, climbed into bed early in the morning with his dad, and was found unresponsive 30 minutes later. I couldn't believe how teeny tiny and pristine all of his organs were. Holding his little heart in my hands was surreal. This rotation offered a lot to learn about general anatomy, pathology and forensics. I loved it - but couldn't do it for a living.

I figured if I didn't get the rotations I really wanted, and I can't do any more pediatric rotations, then I'm going to look for rotations with easy hours. I have really enjoyed sleeping in, long lunch breaks and early afternoons (or afternoons completely off)! I have spent lots of time with Leisy and the kids, spent some extra hours in the gym, and have read for leisure for the first time in years. I'm really enjoying 4th year! I realize I will have quite the rude awakening when residency starts - but at least the crazy hours will be pediatrics!!