Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
My gorgeous cousin Jossie.
My aunt Linda, Mom, Dad, Ron and directing the scene...Romy.
Last but certainly not least...I got to spend a wonderful afternoon with my grandparents on New Years Eve. It was great to see each other again!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Lucky me, they sell it in "pound plus" sizes, so one bar lasts quite a while. Unlucky me, we ran out the other day. This upset me.
We do not live with easy access to Trader Joes, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I figured out if I took two buses and walked about ten minutes I could get there.
Relieved to see a full supply of them, I loaded ten bars in my basket and got in line. The woman behind me in line said, "Wow! That's a lot of chocolate! What are you going to do with all that?"
"Eat it." I said, totally straight-faced.
"Oh!" she said, nervously laughing. "Well, enjoy!"
"I will." What's wrong with these people. This is awesome chocolate. Why would I need to "do" something with it?
I get to the checkout. The clerk says, "Oh my! 10 lbs of chocolate! Are you having a big party or something? Fondue?"
"No. I just like it. We ran out."
"I'd say so!" Same nervous laughter. Weird, what's wrong with everyone here.
I walk in the door with ten lbs of chocolate in my arms. Ron looks at me, a little surprised, but with a huge smile on his face and says, "maybe we shouldn't have sent you there this time of the month."
Monday, February 15, 2010
When I'm in the exam room I am not a person, a woman, a wife, a daughter...I am a doctor. When I greeted a teenage boy patient...I have never been looked at so utilitarianly in my life. It was as though I was the most uninteresting thing in the world. I wasn't a girl, I was a doctor.
I think it says something about how we rationalize the gross invasion of privacy. I go to the doctor, he is a man, I am a woman...about the same age. In any other circumstances him instructing me to remove my clothes, then touch, look, ask probing questions...this would be totally inappropriate. But, when it's a doctor, it's ok. Even when you're little and they teach you about stranger danger and everything...they say no one should touch your bathing suit areas, except your doctor. It's really intimate. So it's like everyone involved compensates by detaching. I, the doctor, see you as this machine that needs fixing. You, the patient, see me as the mechanic who can help you figure out this problem. So, I think it's a little weird.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I want to hold it! I want to love it. I want him to know it's going to be ok. God is so incredible.
This nerve between my fingers is how he could smell. This right here is how he saw the world for 83 years. This one gave him the ability to wiggle his tongue.
This was him. All of him. In my hands. I want to love it and hold it.
What an incredible honor. An intimacy beyond all intimacy.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I have to say though, I am learning so much. It is fascinating to watch it all come together. We have spent the past many months absorbing incredible amounts of information. To see why it matters and how it fits is wonderful.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
I didn’t expect to feel much the day we met our cadaver. I took Anatomy in college, studied on a cadaver. I remembered that each day my heart would catch in my throat when I first glimpsed a skinless body from the door. But, one deep breath later, I saw Flexor Digiti Minimi, not someone’s finger.
I walk in the room. We unzip the bag. It’s a man. His legs, stomach and arms don't trouble me. Fingernails. Earlobes. Forehead wrinkles. It isn't passing. He still looked like he, not that. We gently wrap his hands, feet and head to preserve the delicate structures. I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t covering up the most “human-looking” parts of him to make it easier for us to begin cutting into him.
This man lays before me, a wonderland of learning. The pinnacle of biology, chemistry, physics, all wrapped up into what was…a life. I’m going to get to do something no lay person gets to. I get to look inside. I get to see how it works. Touch it, feel it, look at the actual inside of a human body. It’s amazing.
The first cut is the hardest. Piercing the skin seems violating. His outer shell now has this penetrable opening. Task at hand is removing the skin of the back. We’re trying to “find a plane” and not cut anything too important. Not a lot of time to feel how weird and gross it is that we are taking the skin off a person. Not until I close my eyes to go to sleep. The dreams aren’t upsetting, and that’s upsetting. It’s so matter-of-fact to visualize skin systematically removed.
By the second lab, removing skin isn’t a big deal. It’s a hassle, and we are flying through it.
Third lab, we are dissecting his Axilla and Cubital Fossa. I don't have any idea where that is. The armpit. Why can't they just say armpit? To get to his armpit and visualize his Brachial Plexus, we have to put a rope around his wrist and tie it to the post at the head of the table. I'm holding his hand as I'm awkwardly trying to tie up his wrist. It feels good and strange all at once. I drop my tweezers and as I bend over to pick them up, his hand slips into my scrub pocket. I jump, and laugh and the whole thing is just so weird. How am I supposed to feel about a dead man's hand in your pocket?
The experience of lab feels increasingly normal. Ron has to remind me to take off my scrubs before I come in the kitchen because I don't notice the smell anymore. I don't know his name. We've taken to calling him "our guy." Officially he's Pod 1, Table 1, but by the time we've reflected his biceps brachii, it seems like he's ours.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
I think the human body is amazing. It is utterly complicated, yet filled with elegant patterns. It’s inspiring. I think it’s because it’s so immediate. The concepts are so instantly relevant. Where does my Sartorius attach? Where does the cleaned blood from my liver meet up with the inferior vena cava? What happens to the triglycerides I ate at lunch? Unlike a lot of my classmates who are so eager for the “clinical correlations” (aka what can go wrong with this part of the body), I’m eager to understand how it goes right. It really does seem like a miracle that eating top ramen doesn’t completely throw off my sodium/potassium balance, that drinking toxins (alcohol) doesn’t poison me and don’t even get me started on how in the world a baby comes to be and be born. Points for creativity there, but whoa. Not exactly run of the mill.
It’s intoxicating. The wonder of it all. I like to glory in the wonder. I imagine next year, which is devoted to pathophysiology (what goes wrong) might leave me a depressed, hypochondriac mess, but for now, I’m soaring.
The only interruptions to my ecstatic happiness are the occasional exam and the beginnings of clinical instruction. As they say over and over, “During your career, most of what you learn in medical school will become obsolete, but anatomy never changes.” So, the material stands alone. It is the obturator internus. Lining the inside of the obturator foramen, pierced by the obturator nerve. That’s just what it is.
But, what about teaching us to interact with patients? The same approach is taken and I find it a little offensive. There is a way. A professional, best practice, code of conduct way to interact with patients. But, patients aren’t body parts. They’re people. “Yes, of course. That’s why we’re teaching you Human Behavior in Medicine. We’ll cover the typical personality types, methods for handling them and ‘anomalies’ you might encounter.” Really? I’m already impressed and upset that you can teach me the entire anatomy of the human body in sixteen weeks. But, now you’re going to logically and coherently explain to me human behavior!?
I don’t buy it. I understand that there’s a level of professional distance that must be developed and maintained to function as a physician. But, my humanity must be tempered so I can do my profession?