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summer vacation!

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!

Switch weekend!

Hey all,

Hope you’ve been doing well. I am currently enjoying the last day of my switch weekend, which is the weekend in between clinical rotations. It’s a magical weekend where you attempt to attend to the 30 errands/chores/friends you’ve been neglecting. It never works out how you want it to (we only get 2 days after all), but it’s something. This weekend I managed to clean my apartment, do laundry, see some classmates outside of the hospital, see my family, and tonight I’m going to catch up with high school classmates. Not too shabby for one weekend, but still never enough.

I just finished my pediatric rotation, which made me realize how much I prefer children as patients. Something to add to my list. And next I go on to surgery, which I’ve heard is an enjoyable but exhausting rotation, and I’ll look forward to going to bed 1/2 an hour after getting home every night..

Now as for what has happened since the last post, the most exciting thing was my brother getting married! Very exciting, and I have one entire slightly grainy photo to prove that I was there! (You’re welcome):

These are the friends that I snuck into the party, plus me in the middle with the sash. If you zoom the photo out, and then have the picture taker turn around, you can see my brother and his bride (this is what happens when your phone dies and you don’t have the official photos from the wedding).

The wedding was such a nice time to enjoy with family and friends, and I’m glad that even M3 year did not impede me from being a part of the celebration!

But for now, back to the grind. I promise to have exciting things to talk about next time:)


reflections on M3

Oh my goodness, it has been a long time. Last time I spoke with you, I was an innocent deer eating a candy wrapper on Fuller Road in Ann Arbor. I was on internal medicine, not realizing the youth and innocence I was being stripped of, then I finished it and did a month of Neurology, and now I’m in my last week of Family Med.

Since we spoke, I’ve developed some positivity, some cynicism, a thicker shell, both anger and indifference to grades, and a lot of clinical skills. There is no doubt that M3 year affects you the most in all facets of your life. I’m just hoping to come out of it a skilled medical student with the tools to be a great physician with compassion for her patients.

There have been some really great, sad, funny, awkward, crappy times. These have come from all types of situations: with fellow med students, with patients, with attendings. I’m happy to be almost at winter break still feeling things, whether it be happiness, anger, or grief. I guess I was worried that eventually I wouldn’t feel for patients, but I’ve found that I cry over things still, like a woman grieving over her son, or an old man with a debilitating brain tumor. I’m happy to know I still do this.

I’m also starting to realize the pressure of my opinions of my rotations. Not only must I decide what rotation I am currently enjoying, but I must also discern if I would enjoy it for the rest of my life, and make sure that coincides with my previous dreams and goals of becoming a physician before I entered medical school. Some rotations were easily crossed off, others more difficult. There is also the sad reality that I will miss the specialities that I choose to disregard. For example, while on Neurology, we had patients with psychiatric issues, and I forgot how much I enjoyed taking the life history on a patient like I did on Psych, not just the history of someone’s illness. It made me sad that if I picked a different specialty, I would never get that again.

But alas, this is M3 year, and medicine in general, and life for that matter.

Enough serious talk, back to my serious paper I have to write for Family Medicine. I’ll talk to yall later! I had an AWESOME weekend because my brother just got married, so I’m very excited to show some pictures in my next post! Take care everyone!

Internal medicine months

Hey everyone,

Sorry it’s been a while. I’ve been on my internal medicine rotation, so everything for the past two months has been a major blur. It’s three months long and considered the most difficult rotation of the year (up there with surgery). It deals with nearly everything we learned the first two years of med school, so it’s an overwhelming rotation to take on.

I’ll admit, it’s a little draining. It’s also a tough balancing act to stay on top of patients and work, but still remind yourself to study when you get home. I think that’s been the most challenging part of M3 year overall: you work long hours, which I’ve thankfully found to be tolerable and not excessive (so far), but then you come home and need to prepare for the next day or prepare for the HUGE test at the end of the sequence. It’s tough man.

I have had some fun outside of the hospital, though. On Labor Day weekend, which we had off, I went with friends to Sister Lakes, Michigan, on the west side of the state. We rented a house on a lake, and just rested, read, and ate good food (see photos below). The weather was nice, the phone service was terrible, and it was perfect. The area’s serenity was so contrasted with the chaos of the inpatient month at the VA that I had just completed. And a week later, I traveled to LA for the first time for my brother’s engagement. Very exciting stuff!

Today I began my first day of my last internal medicine month. I am at St. Joe’s Hospital in Ann Arbor for inpatient general medicine. I’m looking forward to being in a new environment, learning a lot, and having a good time. Wish me luck!

Take care,

The car we took for the trip. Just the essentials

The house's backyard

Lily pads!

Bonfire on the last night! We were well equipped with moon, smores, and lighter fluid

And another one

Hey everyone,

Psych is over! It was both laid back and overwhelming, and I picked up a lot of skills. There were times when I felt hopeless about helping a patient get better, and times where I caught a glimpse of how rewarding being a psychiatrist could be. A great experience all in all:)

So, after 6 very interesting weeks, I took the psych shelf exam (it’s the standardized end-of-rotation exam) yesterday, and .. that’s it. I’m done. This is weird. A completely free weekend. I haven’t felt this in.. about 6 weeks.

Unfortunately, I can’t exactly fulfill my switch weekend dreams as I had imagined them, because it’s Ramadan, and most of my dreams entail food, and more specifically brunch. But it’s alright, what I lack in food is made up for in the sense of community. Just last week, a group of the Muslim med students and other friends went to IHOP to eat food before the sun came up:

Surprisingly not too tired looking for 4am

Don’t worry, I ate healthy and put bananas on my pancakes.

Alright, time to enjoy this beautiful free weekend!