Tag Archives: Medical school

A friend

“What is your definition of a friend?” I asked my friend today. He responded immediately ““The opposite of an enemy.”

A friend to me many times gives a listening ear. Someone I can bounce ideas and who I can confide in. Some that shares in my ups and downs of life.
I am an extrovert so I love to be around people. In fact, being around people re-energizes me. This is great because I’m studying to become a doctor and will inevitably be around many different types of people. I hope to be a “friendly” doctor to all. Even though many of my patients I may not be considered to be a friend I hope to gain his or her confidence and listen to them as a friend would. And like a friend help them to whatever degree and connect them with local resources available. A friend at times can also help give you that support as you endure a hardship or rejoice with you in victory.
I sometimes get random texts from people asking if I know someone that does ‘x-service’. For example, earlier this week a classmates & friend of mine, who is getting married soon, sent me a text message asking for musicians to play at the ceremony. A few names came to mind and after asking my musician friends to share their number (it is my policy to ask people if its okay to share their number because I expect to be asked if my number can be shared) I hooked up my classmate with the musicians. I am thankful for my broad network of friends (and I don’t mean ‘Facebook friends’) who have stuck by my side and continue to let me know that they care for me. When I was hospitalized at the beginning of this year I received many cards, text messages,flowers, calls, gifts, etc., from many of my friends. There were so many people that reached out to me and my family and showed their love and support for me. And would you believed it if I told you that I made more friends in the hospital? Yup, even when I’m sick and hospitalized I’m socializing, true story 🙂

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:
and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

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Preparation Day

Joshua, the son of Nun was given some promises on his preparation day when the LORD called him to lead God’s people in to the promised land. Now I haven’t been called to lead anyone but I believe that I can take comfort that as I prepare to go back to my clinical rotations this coming Monday. I have nothing to fear.

I’ve been on an extended medical leave of absence due to my hospitalization in early January. In my last doctor’s visit I was prescribed yet another medication and thankfully I seem to be responding well. I have been seizure free for about four weeks now. I am still not allowed to drive. My mother has been my designated driver for the past month and will continue to do so until my doctor says I can drive. But any who, back to the promises Joshua is given:

Joshua 1:5 “..as I was with Moses, so I will bee with thee: I will not fail thee, nore forsake thee.”

Joshua is told three times by the LORD: “Be strong and of a good courage” (See Joshua 1:6, 7, 9)

The words are again found in Joshua 1:18 “only be strong and of a good courage”

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I love the above quotation. I took this picture after meeting with my deans regrading my future here at this medical school and re-starting clinical rotations. So here I go to prepare myself mentally to start Preventative and Community Medicine. First off though I’ll prepare for Sabbath since today is Friday. 🙂

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Mr. Wise Man

As the sun was setting I made my way to the ninth floor of the hospital. I was not part of the medical team taking care of this patient but rather on a Senior year elective known as: Whole Person Care. The assignment was simple: interview a patient regarding his or her stay in the hospital. Then, after the interview, try to write down the interview verbatim. I had no idea how much this one patient interaction would impact me for the rest of my life.

I found Mr. Wise Man sitting up in his bed watching the evening news.  He motioned me over to his bed and turned down the television. He agreed to the interview and was happy to impart some words of wisdom. Mr. Wise Man began to tell me his life story. He grew up in this city and in fact was born at this hospital. He gave me a brief history lesson on how he had seen this university hospital and the surrounding area grow over the past 50 years, which he had witnessed. With the exception of a few years of service to our country in the U.S. Army, Mr. Wise Man has lived his entire life within 5 miles from this hospital bed.

Mr. Wise Man then began to tell me the painful story of how he ended up on the ninth floor of this hospital. He had always been an active person, exercising, and trying to eat balanced meals. Then all of a sudden, one day (just about two months before our interaction) he began to have intense abdominal pain and severe constipation. The pain was so excruciating that he felt a visit to the emergency room was warranted.

After a number of emergency room visits and follow up appointments with his primary care physician, he received the news that his white blood cells were “through the roof” and in fact his physician had never seen a number so high. Mr. Wise Man was referred to this hospital for further work-up and treatment options. Mr. Wise Man recounted the shock of receiving the diagnosis of cancer and the painful experience of having gone through the first round of chemotherapy with some tears in his eyes.

Despite all this pain and suffering, Mr. Wise Man felt God had spared his life. He is a man of prayer and great faith in God. Now all Mr. Wise Man wanted to do was spend time with his loved ones at home.

Here are some of Mr. Wise Man’s words of wisdom that I will always remember:

Life is short. Live like everyday is your last. Why waste your day frowning? Smile!

If there is something that you’d like to do, why not go ahead and do it?

Remember that tomorrow is not guaranteed. God has given you today, which is the same 24 hours that everyone else got. Use these hours wisely.

Most importantly, spend some quiet time with Jesus everyday and get to know him through prayer and reading the Holy Bible.

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Revelation 21:3-4

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Personal Wholeness Day #1

Today I was told that I was to go away to a place to reflect. Ideally, I was to go to a place far from home to get away to reflect. When I think of where I am in life now (finishing up medical school) as much as I would have liked to go away today I really just wanted to enjoy personal quiet time at home. For me, my home is a little sanctuary of peace and rest. There are all kinds of trees , shrubs, and flowers around my home. As I was taking time enjoying my backyard filled with chirping birds and sweet smelling roses I realized how blessed I am to not have to travel far to take in nature. In the future I want to continue to have my home be a sanctuary of peace. Presently I am in limbo as I am extending my senior year of medical school. As I look back at my time here in medical school I know for certain that it has been a growing experience. Not only in knowledge but in just about every area of my life. More on that later.

I also took time today to do one of my favorite hobbies that unfortunately I don’t get to do enough of if I’m not at home: bake. My fascination with the oven began in childhood around the age of 7. Captivated by the commercials for the “Easy-Bake” oven toy, I asked my mother if I could get one even though I knew the answer was going to most likely be “no” due to the fact that there wasn’t enough money for extra things of that sort and I already had enough toys.
So being the stubborn and determine little girl, I figured I’d learn to use the real oven we had. I climbed up a chair onto the kitchen counter to better reach a cabinet where I knew my mother kept her cookbooks and started looking for a recipe. I had previously attended a Vacation Bible School where I had learned some basics about cooking with recipes, measuring ingredients, etc and so when I found a simple sugar cookie recipe, I began the hunt for the needed items. I preheated the oven and found the electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar.
It was the noise of the mixer that got my mother’s attention. She came over to the kitchen to see what I was doing and just stood by my side allowing me to continue with my project. She didn’t scold me for touching the oven. She didn’t try to take over my baking project. She allowed me to continue as I was so that by doing I would learn.
My mother has always been supportive of my efforts. She has always been there to watch me as I grow and has allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them. I did bake those cookies all by myself with only my mother’s aid to get them out of the oven. Some of the cookies were a little burnt and many subsequent batches of dough have been scorched since that time but each time I’ve learned how to do it a little better. Now every Christmas season I make sugar cookies to decorate with colored frosting with close friends or family depending on where I happen to be that year. Thanks to my mother (who is not a baker) I have honed my skills as a baker and its this same loving support she has given me that has enabled me to pursue a career in medicine.

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contacts

Today I finally got around to seeing the optometrist. And I got contacts! May astigmatism continues to worsen and I have to get toric lenses. I’m just glad to finally have the chance to have a check up as last school year got so crazy busy I didn’t have much time to do anything other than school.

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Saying Good-bye

Another day of call had ended and I had developed a habit of visiting with my patient in the intensive care unit (ICU) before I went home everyday. I was glad to see his progression from when I had first met him almost two weeks ago when his heart went into atrial fibrillation and he began to go into acute respiratory distress and was subsequently sedated and intubated to protect his airway, along with having other medical management to stablize his vital signs. His liver was continuing to fail and his morning laboratory studies were now pointing to deteriorating kidneys. However, he was now awake and slightly conversant although confused from time to time and had only a couple of days ago been successfully extubated and now required supplemental oxygen via a nasal cannula. There was also hope of taking out the nasal gastric tube if the residual output from it continued to decrease and speech therapy gave the blessing of a passed swallow evaluation. To the casual outside observer my patient had made drastic improvements but when the numbers were crunched with his worsening electrolytes and the scores calculated, his prognosis was grim. This man was dying.

I made my way from the hectic emergency department after finishing my last admission for the night taking the stairs two-by-two in order to reach the second floor where my patient was located. As I walked toward the end of the hall to where my patient was alone in his room watching late night shows, I passed by a dimly lit ICU room. My glance was caught by  the glow of a screen being held in front of a patient lying in an ICU bed, surrounded by many people. It took me a moment to make sense of this scene. The glowing screen was being used, as a channel to communicate between the patient and his other loved ones who for whatever reason could not physically be in the room at that precise moment. As my glance unlocked from the glow and swept the faces of the rest of the people surrounding the patient it was evident that they also had come to say goodbye to their loved one. From the tears following down the many down cast faces and crumpled tissues clenched in the various hands, I gathered that this moment was the last time these strangers to me but know to the man laying in the bed were to see him alive. Gathered with them was an audience via the mobile device, which was streaming live video from some other part of the world. I managed to hear the tiny voice of a toddler coming through the device saying goodbye in a cheery voice breaking through the bleak moment in a way that only a child can.

I continued on and entered the room of my patient and he turned down the volume of the television set. I greeted him and we made small talk as we shared how our days had gone from the last time I had seen him in the earlier part of the morning. He mentioned he had had some of his family visit and had gotten to spend time with them. He shared how more family would be flying out west from various parts of the country to see him and he was hoping they could visit him at his home and not see him in the hospital. Drawings from his grandchildren had been brought and were neatly taped near his bed. He shared with me how he had 16 grandchildren and how he longed to see each of them. He shared his frustration about being in the hospital and how he knew his prognosis was poor. He wanted to go home soon so that he could say goodbye to everyone. He pointed a small yellow piece of construction paper with some multi-colored scribbles and told me that was from his youngest grandson who is almost four years old now and wants his “Grampy” to make it to his upcoming birthday party. I encouraged him to keep his spirits up and bid my farewell for the evening.

As I thought about what had transpired on the drive home I realized how precious it is to savor the moments with people in our lives. I would never have thought of using a mobile device with video capabilities to bring family and loved ones together to say good-bye to a fellow loved one in his or her final moments of life. I was happy to see people utilizing technology in this way but at the same time was sadden that the people on the other side of the screen could for whatever reason not be physically present to hold their loved one. I learned to value those extra moments I spent with my patient as the last time I said good-bye to him, he had chosen to go home on hospice so that he could say his good-byes.

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Hello world!

Meet Steth & Cardia. During this year, Steth here has become a dear friend of mine. Surely his purpose been more than to help me to auscultate various Cardias of my patients (he’s also helpful for breath sounds, bruits, bowel sounds, etc.). I’m told that apparently I can use him on the eye but not sure that manuever would instill confidence in my patients. He has been my partner in crime in early dark hours when resident physicians and medical students, like myself on inpatient rotations, harass the patients assigned to our medical team and begin rattling off various questions such as, “How are you doing? Have any pain? Have you passed gas? How about that new medication we just started giving you, have you noticed any changes?” while simultaneously proceeding to place cold Steth to the skin (as we have been taught to NEVER auscultate through any clothing! The bell of the stethoscope is to be placed directly on the skin). Steth has kept me company whether in my short white coat pocket or riding on my neck these past few months as I have made the transition from book work to seeing and caring for live patients with pathology and diseases I was supposed to have learned about during the first two years of medical school.

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New week

Today was the start of a new work week for most people but for me it’s a school week since that is my full time occupation. I didn’t even realize that today was Columbus Day and that the banks and post offices were closed. My mom was the one who reminded me today that it was Columbus Day since she called and asked if I gotten the day off. I reminded her that this is med school and there’s no way we would get that day off. I can’t remember the last time I got Columbus Day off.

I actually went to the bank this morning to deposit some checks in the ATM, only to realize that I had forgotten my debit card at home. I didn’t think twice about going into the bank (wouldn’t have mattered since they were closed) to talk to the teller because I don’t like waiting in line.I do most of my banking online because of convenience. I also try to avoid the line at the post office. I pay most of my bills online as well. In doing this I have become efficient in managing my time (and finances) but I do miss the human interaction.

Anyways…I realized that I need to start getting used to the idea that I will most likely have to end up working some holidays later in life as a practicing physician since most physicians don’t just decide to not go to work because it is a holiday and there are times when I will have to take call on a holiday. Soon summer breaks, Thanksgiving breaks, and Christmas breaks will disappear as I progress through medical education and transition into a full-time employee. I’m okay with that 🙂

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