Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More input, more confusion

I spoke with a long-time mentor who is an academic obgyn this morning.  She currently has a career that I imagine myself wanting for my future.  The gist of a long conversation is that she thinks I should seriously reconsider OB, and should opt instead for peds or family medicine.  She thinks my personality would do better in something truly primary care.  According to her, too many OB programs are malignant and for good reason.  She also stated that she would reconsider family for herself if she could do it all over again.

It's looking like a research year might be the only option.  Not necessarily to build up my CV, but to buy myself another year before having to make this decision.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bad news from my dean

He is worried that I wont match in OB.  He said that no one from our school with a failed step 1 has matched in OBGYN for the past 5 years.  He wants me to lower my expectations of the type of program that I may end up matching in.  He also wants to make sure I don't end up screwed. 

1) apply in both obgyn & peds or in ob & family
2) forget ob and just apply in peds or in family
3) take a year off to make connections and strengthen my application (which means looking for new funding sources)

Ugh.  One stupid test...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another MD voice in the conversation

I really appreciated reading "Rated R, or perhaps NC-1" over at gravity circus.  She's pretty wonderful and also someone I'd be more than happy to have as my own doctor.  I believe that the more medical voices are out there in this conversation, the better.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dear Doctor Anonymous,

Thank you.  Thank you for this post on state mandated transvaginal ultrasounds.  Thank you for expressing your outrage so eloquently in writing.  Thank you for remembering that the patient is the one and only priority in this equation.  Thank you for remembering your responsibility to your patient as their physician. 

As a patient, I hope that all physicians I see are like you, focusing on evidence based medicine practices and not on conservative politics.  As a future physician, and a future provider, I hope to be like you.  I pray that I don't forget the power of my actions, a problem that I have seen some physicians fall victim to.  I hope that, like you, I can keep my patients in the focus and remember that a little civil disobedience can go a long way when necessary.

Thank you,

update: A friend pointed me to another article
'We Have No Choice': One Woman's Ordeal with Texas' New Sonogram Law posted in the Texas Observer on March 15th, that is very much worth the read.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Anxiety about next year

The uncertainty about next year is making me slightly ill.  I was hoping to know by now if I'll be taking a research year or going on to 4th year, but alas, nope.  Having not been offered a fellowship in the first round of selections, I get to keep waiting until all the spots are officially filled up.  Who knows how long this whole process will last...  It is so much worse than sitting by the phone for a date to call!

My peers are fervently filling out VSAS (visiting student application service) applications for audition rotations.  Rumor has it that spots fill up super fast and one must be very strategic about these things.  I haven't opened the email sent from my dean about registering for VSAS.  I have yet to figure out where I'd even want to do an audition rotation!

To make matters worse: my experience speaking at the conference of Friday, seeing where the 4th years matched, and a conversation between ob-headed peers and an OBGYN attending we greatly respect have me wondering if I should go into peds instead.  I LOVE obgyn.  I love everything about it and like what my life could look like.  I can do perinatal care, high risk OB, adolescent health, trans reproductive health, provide abortions, surgery, and the list goes on and on... But a lot of obgyn programs are malignant, conservative, and have seemingly unhappy residents.  I also worry that the all female environment will bring out the competitiveness in me.

I like peds a lot.  I can still do adolescent reproductive health, medical education, trans health, and public health based work.  I can maybe, probably, also provide abortions.  The pediatric community is all so happy, nice, and welcoming.  If I'm going to have my own family, peds will allow for a better balanced life.  Plus, I have many a connection that will help me get into a good peds residency.

Taking a year off would slow down the process a bit, but it will also slow down the process a bit.  Translation: I'll buy myself a little more time before making a decision.  I'll make more noteworthy connections in the obgyn world that should help me for residency.  However, I'll be 30 when I graduate medical school!!!  Yes, yes, I know that age is only a number.  But 30 is a really big number.  It'll also mean that I'll spend the next 2 years nomadicly as I move for the research year and then travel all around for 4th year.

Anyone have a crystal ball?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Match day 2012

Good luck 4th years!  Hoping that tomorrow brings only joyous news as you embark on the newest phase of the medical education adventure!  Crazy to think it is already your turn to match and our turn to be 4th years...  how quickly med school is flying by.  I'm so very excited to see where you all end up [and wise enough to avoid all hospitals come July].

(stolen for facebook)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The line has been crossed = time to protest!

This political attack on women's bodies and personal medical decisions has gone too damn far.  It is one thing when Mitt Romney takes a stance to defund planed parenthood if elected president; while far from desirable, no one is in immediate danger.  However, it is totally crossing a line when state legislators vote on whether a doctor can straight up lie to his/her patient in order to ensure she doesn't opt for an abortion. 

This all seems way too similar to the ethics lecture I recently heard: "Deadly Medicine in the Nazi Era: What Turned Physician Healers into Killers?" (this article touches on some of the factors that were discussed in the talk).   The idea that doctors are following this moral extremism with disregard for reality, not realizing or not caring that their moral belief is directly harmful to their patients... so damn scary what power and knowledge in the wrong hands can lead to.

Anyhow, I'm more frustrated at the politicians who we are currently paying to sit in office and debate away our right to choice, education, and honesty.   They are wasting our time and our money.  They are degrading women all across America by belittling us into a category of those incapable of thing for our self.  They are putting us at risk for unplanned pregnancies, incomplete healthcare, and clandestine abortions.  They are personally pissing me off!

What can we do about it?  VOTE.  Get these fools out of office.  However the election is a little while away so in the meantime there is a National Protest Against the War on Women being planned for April 28, 2012.  Taken from facebook:

National Protest Against the War on Women
Saturday, April 28, 2012 
10:00am until 2:00pm
State Capitols in all 50 States and DC
Join our organizing page: http://on.fb.me/wBUDYu

Organize your friends and go take a stance!  For the medical students and professional out there, please please please wear your white coat when you do.  It makes a difference for people to see that we're fed up with this BS.

Busy week

-Last weekend I was away at a national conference.  While it was amazing and inspiring, being stuck at the airport for 12 hours on the way back due to weather drained the little energy I had left.
-This Friday I'm presenting some of my past research at another conference (that conveniently happens to be just a short drive away).  I'm a bit terrified about this as I've never done this type of platform presentation before! Hopefully they only ask questions I know the answer to.
- The neuro shelf is a week from Friday.  I'm feeling totally unprepared and overwhelmed with studying.
- It's match week!  While this isn't my year to match, it's so exciting to watch all my 4th year friends.  I can't wait to hear where everyone is going!  It's crazy to imagine that this may be me next year.
- In theory, research fellowship responses are to be released this week.  Crossing my fingers that I'm accepted for the one I want.  Either way, I should hopefully know soon if I'm taking next year off or continuing on to 4th year.
-My mom's birthday.  I can not forget to call her!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bentching gomel

There is a Jewish tradition to publicly acknowledge when you've survived a dangerous situation (eg serious illness, long travel, childbirth, etc).  It is traditionally done at one's first opportunity in front of a minyan and often done with a Torah present.

Last Friday night I was driving home around 8pm when I heard a loud bang and my car rattled.  [Aside: Yes, I know it was already shabbos, but after working a long week and having to work through the weekend it was the only time I had to run the errands that desperately needed to happen. Story of my life as a med student.]  I was on a pretty well traveled 4 lane road in a safe area, though there weren't really any other cars directly around me.  It took me 2 or so blocks to realize that my entire back windshield had shattered and another two or so blocks to realize that I probably should pull over.  I was in complete shock and baffled as to what had happened.  I then pulled into the first driveway I saw which happened to be a well lit grocery store & restaurant with people around.  Thank G!d!!!

Though I'm in my late 20s, and nearly a doctor, the first thing I did was to call my mom in tears.  While on the phone with her, still sitting in my car in shock, a sketchy silver car pulled into the lot, quickly turned around, and speed back out onto the street.  I thought it was strange but didn't make anything of it.  I called the police who came out to write an incident report.  The best idea we all could come up with was that maybe some kids were messing around with a BB gun or that a car in the opposite direction kicked up a big rock.

I have subsequently learned that an hour or two later that evening, on the same road, a friend of a friend's tire blew out while he was driving.  He pulled over immediately to see what happened. When he got out of his car he was jumped by 4 men.  They had thrown a brick at his tire.  He was badly beat up, robbed, and car jacked.  The police later told him that it was a gang initiation.  Thank G!d he's still alive. 

While it is possible that these two events are unrelated, it is pretty likely that they are directly linked.  I have no idea how many other people, if any, were injured or had property vandalized that night.  However, I'm pretty sure that had I gotten out of the car, as a single female in the dark, I would have fared a lot worse than the $250 it cost to replace the glass.

Birkhat Ha‑Gomeyl

hebrew from http://www.berachot.org/hebrew/hagomel.htm

"Blessing: "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe, Who bestows good things on the unworthy, and has bestowed on me every goodness."
Congregational Response: "Amen. He Who has bestowed on you every goodness, may He continue to bestow on you every goodness. Selah."