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Hey y’all,

Shaza here, reporting from the tropical area of West Bloomfield, MI, where I’ve been sleeping late watching online television, reading the articles whose web addresses I’ve been saving for this very week, and forcing myself to bask in the sun (because I’ve been complaining about the lack of it this entire year, so I have to put my money where my mouth is). Yes, this is Summer Vacation 2013, the long-awaited week off between M3 and M4 year.  Having it only be a week long makes sense practically, and then you realize you’ve been trapped in a med school bubble where outsiders get confused when you explain that the break you’ve been excited for all semester long is just enough to fit in a few hang outs, plenty of family time (where everyone is either reading or on their laptop), and hopefully enough sleep such that you feel satisfied and ready to begin again- very, very soon.

Regardless, WEEE! I’m very happy to be done. I was slightly worried this day wouldn’t come, especially since surgery was my last rotation. I’m going to attempt to break it down for you all: Surgery is very dramatic. Patients can present on the brink of death and are attempted to be saved. Stories are usually more sad than you’re used to, the traumas are heart-breaking. The easiest procedure on Pediatric Surgery made me want to cry. Even the surgery personalities are hardly subtle. Some of the doctors are those I would want to emulate, those that give that extra pat on the shoulder for the mother whose son just had an appendectomy, and even those that seem abrasive and risk their likability but then compensate with better patient care. And some personalities are ones where you try to move your surgery schedule around to avoid. These residents and doctors are in the hospital the majority of their life, and you find that, if you’re patient enough (and you have to be on surgery), even the mean ones have hidden talents that you can learn from. Indeed, this was my most dramatic rotation, the closest I’ve been to clinical depression, and I probably would have been  more excited the moment I turned in my shelf exam if I hadn’t been so exhausted.

Needless to say, General Surgery was crossed off my list around the second day of my first surgery month. But I had a great time and got to see fascinating procedures and actually participate. I did a subspecialty week of Neurosurgery so I could see what my brother does on a daily basis as a resident. On my first day there, I was in a long surgery that I didn’t quite understand and was trying to distract myself from the unbearable pain in my feet, when I was told to head to the room over to see what the Neurosurg team was doing there. Without any background information on the case, I walked in to the next operating room and saw a horrific sight of a body completely covered with blue sterile cloth save for a football shaped uncovered area of a man’s scalp being sutured and stapled back together, with partially clotted blood dripping from the wound. Had it been Halloween I would have sworn it was bright red paint. I was floored by what I was seeing and said, and now I realize I probably sounded so naive, “I can’t believe someone is actually alive under there.” And he was. And he, fortunately, is doing much better than the state I saw him in that day. But it was truly remarkable, and I was very pleased that I had the unique opportunity to watch a week’s worth of what my brother does for a career.

Yay for gruesome details! So much for labeling this post “summer vacation,” huh? Well too bad! I’m going this weekend to visit my friend at Purdue University, so maybe afterward I can show you happy pictures. 🙂

Take care! And happy break!