Friday, May 31, 2013

6 and a half weeks...

Oh wow... I started this blog four months before we even began classes and now we're looking at six and a half weeks until the program ends. We're picking out the menu for our going away party (er, or we will be. I'm going to make a survey and then we'll do it that way).

I've learned so much and feel really comfortable that I could be dropped into any situation and do fine. I'm so pleased with that. I don't know what the future will be since I'll be limited to SC but even if I'm traveling, I don't worry that I will be overwhelmed.

Speaking of overwhelmed (potentially but not at the moment!) I'm working on my slides this weekend for the seminar presentation. I wish I could come up with a cute title, but at present nothing is coming to me. Maybe inspiration will strike in the next few days!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Free knowledge makes me happy!

I'm using some downtime on autopsy to work on my seminar case. I wanted to look at the WHO classification of bone tumors and in trying to track down a hard copy I found out that it is available free online. Which made my day, so I thought I'd share.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seminar and the reality of change

The last thing we do as students is present a case study or disease process at a seminar with all of our classmates, some family, and various staff (attendings, course director, some staff PAs, etc). I spent my memorial day immersed in patient history and looking up things in pubmed. The Duke library system is really good about emailing electronic copies of articles not otherwise available, which means I have more reading to do tonight. Ha! I thought I could buy myself a day off with that.

I have a general outline and a meeting with the attending that is advising me so we can go over the outline to see if I'm on track. This week will be spent fleshing out the outline and doing my slides. The class has a preliminary meeting next Monday to go over everyone's rough draft, which will be good. I don't want to go too far with the work if I'm going in the wrong direction all together.

Meanwhile, I looked over past year's presentations over the past few weeks and I've decided autopsy cases are so handy because you have so many more things you can take gross photos of. Unfortunately, there weren't any cases I had that stood out to me as seminar-worthy. There was a very interesting case a few weeks back but I wasn't on it and only heard about it after the fact, which was disappointing. Surgical pathology offers up a lot of good cases and fairly rare conditions to choose from but you only get the specimen for photos. I do have a lot of slides I have a lot of different things I can use for microscopic photos (and I do like the microscopic photo set up). I just have to meet with the attending and figure out what exactly I'm looking for in all of those slides and special stains.

My husband came up this weekend and drove off with my dining room table and boxes of assorted non-essentials. We have about ten days before the kids are done with school and we do the big shuffle. Most of the things in the apartment will go to our new house, but a few things will go a hundred miles west to my parents' house and we'll pick some things up from my parents' for the new house (since they're selling it, they are kindly handing down some furniture. Great timing!). Not having a dining room table and having the boxes around the apartment make the move seem more concrete. It is almost scary how quickly time has been passing! Still so much to do and learn! No time to slack off now.

My autopsy rotation has been productive. We're faster than we were at the beginning of rotations by a lot. No where close to the staff PAs, but not doing too badly I think.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

12.5 miles down the road


Duke and UNC are 12.5 miles away from each other. There are a lot of connections between the two schools... academic collaborations, love of NC barbeque, medical residents from one school who go on to fellowships at the other, basketball (okay, so that's a rivalry, but both schools like basketball, that has to count for something right?), etc.

And the staff PAs at UNC are either Duke graduates, worked at Duke, or both. That doesn't mean that being at UNC is like being at Duke. The grossing stations are set up around the periphery of the room in little nooks. I'm in the front of the room and I've felt relatively on my own all week. The person I'm working with this week is available when I have a question or I want him to check out my blocks but otherwise it is just me and my specimens.

I've been on GI large, which has involved a lot of searching for lymph nodes in mesenteric fat and a lot of cleaning out colons. I like the templates they have, which seem fairly comprehensive. And I like that all of their specimens have bar codes. I'm a fan of scanning a bar code and having the blocks print for the case based on that bar code. I know Duke is in the process of upgrading to Cerner Millennium and with moving to the new gross room will be adding new printers and technology. I can only assume that bar codes will be a part of that. It really reduces the incidence of mislabeled blocks to basically nothing.

Tomorrow things change and I will be assigned to some other service. We'll have to wait to see what that is!

In completely unrelated news, house closing was today! Three weeks until the kids are out of school and everyone else moves into our new house! My husband will move there this weekend, but he won't have much furniture for a while. Still, it will be nicer for him there than our old house which is mid-kitchen remodel. I hope the dog adjusts, he's a little neurotic about certain things.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Graduation day!

Don't get too ahead of yourselves, we still have another two months of clinical rotations (we do the May graduation because otherwise we wouldn't get our degrees until well after rotations end) but it was still nice to get the degree. To have a reminder of what we are doing here and give us a boost to make it through the tail end of our second year. My staff PA for the week mentioned on Friday that the next time I'm at North it'll be time to start training the first years to be the new second years.

It is terrifying how little time it feels like it has been since I was taking a few hours out of my studying to go to graduation for the class of 2012! And how we only have a few weeks left until our seminar presentations and we are truly done... Of the 8 of us, 5 have contracts signed and one more has an offer on the table and interviews lined up. The two of us with limited geographical options are still working on it.

But still, even if I'm unemployed, it is good to have the degree. Considering there were times in my past where everyone despaired of me even obtaining a bachelors, it is extremely gratifying to have a masters.

I honestly couldn't have done it without my family. Literally--without my father's willingness to pack up and move here, I wouldn't have been able to juggle family and classes. And he's had to put up with me at my most stressed out and frazzled and short tempered. My husband came up every test weekend and took care of the kids and cleaned up. And my mother... oh my mother. She worried most of all that this would never happen and I hope she enjoyed the graduation ceremony. It might have taken up quite a bit of our Mother's Day but I'm pretty sure there's no other way she would have preferred to spend it (of course, maybe we all would have been happier if we hadn't been running late this morning! I made it to the field with three minutes to spare before the deadline!).

So congratulations to all of my classmates. Two more months to go!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It is May... yikes!

So my entire family, plus my best friend (who is family in everything but genetics) will be at my apartment this weekend for graduation. I have a funny hat, the sashy thing, and the black gown...and on Sunday I'll have a Masters Degree. If it weren't also my mom's birthday in a couple days I might have tried to skate by on Mother's Day with presenting her with that, but I'll have to figure out a real present instead ;D

I'm at North again. It is so different from when I started out there at the beginning of second year... I'm not even phased by grossing specimens that were incredibly intimidating nine months ago! I made it through my first three weeks but was worried that I'd never survive the year. And now? Now whatever come across the gross bench is fine, I know I can gross it.

Lungs are definitely my favorite specimen type and legs are my least favorite. Not that I really dislike legs, they're just a bit unwieldy and a pain in the rear end to unwrap. If they came in really large ziplock bags, they would be so much easier to do! Instead they come in a giant biohazard bag, usually in another giant biohazard bag, with so many layers of bandages over the limb itself. It is a lot of unwrapping! So a silly reason to make a specimen my least favorite, but something has to be at the bottom.

In personal news, closing on the new house is next week! I'm excited! We're doing this in stages. My husband is moving in next weekend, the kids move as soon as school lets out in a month, and then I'll join everyone six weeks after that! We'll all get to live together, and it will be lovely! After the beginning of June I'll basically have a bed and a few cooking pots. Which I kind of feel bad about. The apartment will finally be tidy enough to have folks over, but I won't have any furniture... I've been intending to have a dinner party (it is much harder during clinical rotations!) and just haven't. Boo :(