It’s done

Can’t believe its over.¬†

6 years of school. Thats 4 of an undergraduate degree, and 2 in a professional program. Working through each and every summer. Blood, sweat and tears into exams, assignments, labs. Then my last and final year doing clinical placements throughout different areas of the hospital.

Some memorable moments

  • The Australian medical resident who looked like Dr. House
  • Icecream everyday at 4 pm for 2 weeks with a certain preceptor in internal medicine
  • Being called “Anna” or Dr Anna, on every rotation despite introducing myself as “Anne, the PA Student”
  • Being able to be first assist in every orthopedic surgery I attended
  • Being mistaken for a medical student, or resident
  • Overnight call at a hospital while I was doing my surgery rotation, and SM stayed with me at the hospital all night, even brought pho to the hospital, when I was hungry!
  • Free sushi at a big city academic hospital for rounds!
  • Being told I had the qualities and potential to become a physician by many of my preceptors
  • Getting to know the patients and their families
  • Being able to take the time to provide quality care, and receiving appreciation from patients
  • Discovering things I never realized about myself:
    • Emotionally and physically, I am a lot stronger than I thought I would be
    • That I probably can’t do shift work
    • I love team work (I’m usually shy)
    • When receiving didactic-type lecturesthat the rotation I dreaded the most (internal medicine) ended up being the rotation I loved most!
    • I’ve finally grown up.
After everything, I made it. Sorry if I sound cheesy, I’m simply overwhelmed. Glad to be done ūüôā


Back home after 6 years

I remember how scary and exciting it was to be graduated high school, leaving home to a University town/community to embark in undergraduate studies for four years. A lot has changed, I went from being extremely conservative, shy, and timid to free-spirited, adventurous, forthcoming and confident (although a small part of me says I should be more modest when I say things like that!). I don’t think I could have made this kind of growth without having left home and the protective womb of my parents care and constant supervision (its an asian parent thing).

Spring Cleaning –¬†One thing I’ve noticed, is that somehow I have this unintentional propensity to accumulate so much stuff, which makes for miserable moving missions every time I move (which is once or twice a year for the past 6 years). I think a goal of mine, when living at home is too cut down a lot of the stuff. I know clutter has never ever made me feel good. Somehow I am able to manage through the “organized mess”, however, some days more than others I find it stressful to come home to so much stuffSort out things I need to throw out, clothes I can donate.

No place like home ūüôā

My last week in orthopedics

One of the reasons why I chose this rotation was how drawn I was to Emergency Medicine. I felt it would strengthen my knowledge base and skills to increase my chances of employment in that area. I also had the opportunity to see a graduated PA working with a doc. My previous experience with a general rotation was, well, miserable, excruciating, and competitive. The team  I was put on previously had TWO residents, TWO fellows, and THREE medical students per physician. So, we got to do nothing in the OR, very little teaching time, and most of the time left to our own devices without very much guidance or mentorship. We rarely if ever got to scrub in.

This rotation, for orthopedics, I scrubbed in and assisted in every single surgery. I saw 20-30 patients at every clinic, with a review and feedback with the physician after EACH case I had seen. I worked on a weekly basis on my goals which my preceptor helped me set and achieve, and I received constructive feedback. By far the most structured learning environment and rewarding rotation (my second last one too!) I’ve had so far. Good teachers are hard to come by.

Upon conclusion of finishing my last week in orthopedic surgery, I feel like I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I love how fast-paced the environment was, the variety of work you get to do – whether it is clinic, the OR watching the surgeon performing cutting-edge techniques, teaching sessions and research – and this was something I didn’t anticipate going into the clinic, just how much I could learn. It was originally a placement I did because I wanted to supplement my knowledge in the context of Family Medicine and ER, but it seems I’ve broadened my horizons a bit and am now considering a possibility of a career in Orthopedics (of course this depends on job opportunities upon graduation).

I definitely got used to seeing a lot of “carpentry” tools in the OR. Things I used to see my dad take out of his tool box in his garage. Surgeon to scrub nurse: ¬†“Mallet, Spectrum, Screw, Anchors, Drill!” ¬†The surgeries were quick too, 1.5 – 2 hours for most routine procedures. I enjoyed and got the hang of retracting, local, staples, stitching. It was a great experience!

The residents and staff were amazing to work with. It’s fantastic being able to work in a high-efficiency, high-yield environment – and this structural organization, attitude and leadership of all members of the team is something I want to take with me. ¬†I knew that I enjoyed this rotation, simply because I just loved coming to the hospital/clinic everyday.

Last rotation is coming up next week before graduation. Can’t believe its so soon!

Review: Bridesmaids (2011)

I finally got the opportunity to watch this movie after recommendations from a few friends.

Synopsis:¬†Picked as her best friend’s maid of honor, lovelorn and broke Annie looks to bluff her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals with an oddball group of bridesmaids. (IMDB)

Review:¬†A movie that isn’t entirely boring, with its share of interesting characters and quirky funny moments. I realize that in a lot of movies recently, directors have been trying to portray protagonists that are ‘imperfect’. Perhaps it started with “Ante Vigils” in The Dark Knight. Perhaps its a way of ¬†that movie makers feel that they can get audiences to relate to these ‘imperfect’ characters.¬†Well, not so much with our heroine in this movie, I think they made her a bit too flawed that it seemed unrealistic (of course it is a movie). ¬†Annie (played by Kristen Wiig) has had a lot of difficulty and struggles financially, romantically, and also as a best friend or bridesmaid. A good portion (too much) of the movie is spent with her in self-pity and spiraling down this path of self-destruction, where at no point is she really in control of her life.

Given the theme of this movie (friendship, bridesmaids), its relatively superficial comedy about responsibilities of a maid of honour, they try to go much deeper but I felt they failed to do so. Perhaps its because I’ve never been in “Annie’s” situation, but I found that rather than¬†empathizing¬†with the character, I found it difficult to relate to her, and to be honest, didn’t really have a lot of respect for the way she reacted in the movie (me asking for some situations, “Do people really do this in real life?”). Perhaps its just a me, I don’t like movies where women are portrayed as having low self-esteem and throwing themselves at any man that will take them (take for¬†instance, the character Gigi from “He’s Not that Into You” (2009)).

Conclusion: A relatively good movie about friendship. Perhaps a good one to see with some girlfriends, but don’t goo too much out of your way.

Rating: 2+/4


Almost there

It’s terrible that almost all of my past entries have been about school, but I’ve been so entrenched in my placements and studying that I’ve barely had time for my life outside of school.

SM enlightened me to the fact that I was only 2 months away from finishing, then 7 weeks, then now… it’s hard to believe I am only 6 weeks away from finishing my program, and possibly university – forever!!

That moment, seemed so far away a mere few weeks ago. I’ve started preparing my resume, my cover letters, gathering my references, and preparing what may be a permanent move back away from my university town and back to my home city.

I’ve had a long list of things I wanted to do once I finished. ¬†Pay off my student loans first and foremost, move out, get my own place…

This seems strange, I’ve been used to being a student for so long, the idea of not having classes in the fall, purchasing binders, pens, organizing a class schedule. Life will definitely be different, but I have to say the thought of no more midterms or exams is exciting.

Case of the Strep

Last night I knew my cousin Lynne wasn`t feeling too well after finishing work. She came home, throat killing her. She passed out, and I went to school the next morning to do my OSCE – an evaluation.

I had been practising my clinical skills all week with my friends. History taking and a focused cardiac, resp, abdominal and MSK exam. After completing the two hour OSCE, I drove immediately home. Found Lynne passed out looking feverish, her arms splayed, not being able to open her eyes.

Having done an entire OSCE this morning, I grabbed my stethoscope, and a light. I sat her down asked a few questions. So my history:

“20 year old female presents with sore throat. Onset of soreness began approximately yesterday. She describes no cough, no rhinorrhea or other coryza symptoms. No ear pain. A slight headache. She has fever and chills, as well as generalized weakness.”

Listened to her chest, palpated her cervical lymph nodes, which a few were tender. Look inside her throat, and bingo.

“Strep throat, you have strep throat.”

Also known as bacterial pharyngitis, or streptococcal pharyngitis. Here’s what I saw at the back of her throat:

A normal vs. strep throat. Notice the white exudates at the back, a key feature of strep.

I immediately took her to the doctor, who gave her some antibiotics, a 10 day course of Penicillin V. I suspected the symptoms were too severe for “just the flu”. Of course I had seen dozens of strep throat during my family medicine rotation.

I took her to Tim Hortons where she had some soup and hot chocolate (no milk). Now some R & R.

Lost and found

So I purchased a roots “flat” handbag for my internal medicine rotation. Opting in to sport a bag rather than a white coat with all of its pockets. I am able to fit a few pocket handbooks, as well as having something to hook my pager onto.

Well, I realized since the start of this morning that I had no idea where my handbag was. I knew it had to be somewhere in my house. I searched every conceivable place, even calling up SM to see if it was there with him.

As I became frantic, I realized my bag has my pager. So I called the hospital’s paging system, and explained that I lost my pager and required just a few “pings”.

I heard it, and to my relief I heard it somewhere in the house (that pager is LOUD). I ran upstairs to my mom’s room, called the hospital again to ping my pager and they did. I discovered it hidden behind a towel hanging behind the door. How embarassing T_T My mom started lecturing me and my dad came in laughing, since he witnessed my relentless search and then my victorious find almost an hour later.

My aunt then said to me, “Some things never change…” in reference to all the things I used to lose when I was little (my sweater, my lunch bag, my gloves, my socks, my toys, the list goes on). I guess I’m just more clever at finding it (versus the lost and found at daycare for the things I lost when I was little) – really is just a matter of time.