Last weekend, I took a train upstate to Storm King Art Center and the nearby Schunemuck State Park. It was a solitary trip by design, and it gave me a lot of time and space — about 8 hours and 23 miles — with nothing but the vibrant autumn trees, my music, and chilly air to keep me company. Well… rather, it let me spend some quality time reflecting upon my Brain and Mind.
Call me a wimp, but a flesh wound to my left pinky has crippled me for an entire week and counting. Continue reading A crippling finger wound
“Quick, somebody help!!” A man rushes out of a room and looks about the hospital hallway in a panic. He spots me standing there in my white coat and races toward me. “She’s having trouble breathing! Please, come do something!”
After relaying the message, I hurry into the room to see if I can help. There she is, a woman is lying there on the bed, barely conscious. Her heart is racing, and she is so short of breath that she couldn’t get any words out even if she wanted to.
The panicked man glances back and forth between her, lying there helpless, and me, standing there unhelpfully. “She just came in for some heart problems! Why can’t she breathe?”
I glance around while my mind races to connect the dots. The pulse is 133. Tachycardia. The EKG looks a little funny, irregularly irregular. Atrial fibrillation. Oxygen saturation: 91%. Hypoxemia. I bring stethoscope straight to the mid-sternal line listen. “Heart failure,” I say. “Her heart is struggling to pump, so blood pressure is starting to back up into her lungs, causing fluid to leak into the airspace.”
He looks at me, apparently confused by the lingo. “Well, can’t you give her some drugs to help?”
The question catches me off guard, and my heart skips. What can I give her? Continue reading Magical to Medicinal Memory
“Some days feel like years and some years feel like days.”
That’s a saying my PBL leader Dr. Meyer told us that is invoked in medicine, describing the bizarre time warp that consumes us. Yes, there are days, patient after patient, that never seem like they never end, but there are also entire years and projects that rush by in a blink of an eye.
The beginning of medical school has felt precisely like that. Every day — chock full of classes and labs back-to-back, interest group meetings sprinkled in, shadowing opportunities if I can manage, then hard-core studying too, and somewhere in there things like eating, sleeping, running, and attempting to do normal life things. Yet, somehow, 3 full months have already gone on by?! We’ve almost completed our basic science curriculum and all of gross anatomy?!
Why yes. Yes we have. Continue reading Med School Reflection