My Doctor Reading List

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Looks like I'm rewriting :(

I got my score back and it was pretty much what I expected (I.e. crap). Sigh. I'm not disappointed per se... OK fine, I AM disappointed. But mostly because it means that I have to rewrite and I really, really don't want to.

I totally deserve what I got. And the only silver lining is that it was still the highest score I've ever received compared to all the practice tests I've taken (but don't take this to mean that it was good, it wasn't - it was below 30 - by a lot). But it sucks to have to face this reality.

The only section I did really well in was in the writing section, which of course is the one section no one cares about. I was hoping for higher than I got in verbal reasoning but I will admit I just didn't practice nearly enough, especially towards the end of my studying.

Well. So that's that. I've got to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ugh...results day tomorrow

I realized today that a month has passed since I wrote my MCAT. The realization was followed by a feeling of dread.

However I pushed that feeling aside and when on the AAMC website only to discover that the results won't be available until tomorrow evening (or late at night for me because of the time difference).

So now I'm in suspense. On one hand I really want to know and a part of me (a teeny, weeny part) is still hoping for a miracle but on the other hand I don't want to know because a very big part of me is convinced the score won't be good and it will make rewriting definite as opposed to just probable.

So now I wait...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Awesome!

Today I saw my first, real live birth! I was allowed to join med students doing their pediatrics rotation at the hospital to see the cesarean section birth of a baby girl.

I was really excited because I had no idea that I'd be allowed but when the director of the unit asked me if I would be interested, I jumped at the chance!

Because I was there with the neonatal team and not the obstetrics team I didn't get to see much of the actual c section itself as we were standing behind the mother's head and our focus was the child and not the mother, but it was thrilling nonetheless to see the baby come out and take her first breaths.

However, the neonatal team was there not out of routine but because it was known that the baby had both Downs Syndrome and a heart defect. My heart went out to the parents because not only was this their first pregnancy but also because they were both only 31. Luckily they were well aware of this but still.... Made me wonder about what I'm doing, if putting off having more kids till I'm in my mid 30s is such a good idea.

All that aside it was an amazing experience and I feel so privileged to witness something so spectacular.

And... There is also a chance that I might get to see BRAIN SURGERY next week!

I met with the head of neurosurgery at this well known children's hospital and he asked if if be interested. It's not definite but he said to check in with him at the end of the week and he'd let me know. Speaking of him, I want to write about the great talk I had with him but I'll leave that for another post. But I'll say that its was such a privilege to have that chat - I learned so much in a span of just 2 hours, it's incredible.

Now I'm off to do some more sight seeing around Warsaw :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Swamped!

I've now been here for a week and have already seen and experienced so much! Two days I spent with my mom's friend, the pediatric orthopedic surgeon and today I just finished shadowing a bunch of neonatologists.

So far my schedule looks like this:
Monday & Tuesday - shadowing and observing various neonatologists and pediatrictions.
Wednesday & Thursday - shadowing and assisting the pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
Friday - studying/resting.
Also one Saturday I'll be shadowing a pediatric neurosurgeon, which I think might be very interesting too.

I have to admit, that orthopedics probably isn't something that I find fascinating enough to pursue as a specialty (though it is definitely interesting, its not something I think would be for me day in and day out), based on what I've seen so far. Also, speaking with the doctor, she told me in general there are very few women in orthopedics - even in pediatric orthopedics because its physically very hard and the surgeon has to be very strong. She said its especially true now that children and youth (since pediatrics treat up to the age of 18) are often overweight and its just hard to get to the broken bones. Not that this in itself would discourage me if I was truly passionate, but I'm more interest in illnesses I think as well as preventative care.

Neonatal however, is a different story. I love babies and thought it would be hard to see so many sick babies. But even though I did see some sick babies (which I will elaborate on in a minute) it didn't put me off at all and its amazing to see these little things, some born as early as 25 weeks (when the normal gestation period is 40 weeks) thrive. So far, I love it and think I would enjoy working with newborns -  both healthy and ill. But obviously its too soon to make that kind of call (let's get into medical school first!).

Anyway, I was lucky to see a set of twins, born a few minutes before I saw them, at 29 weeks via an emergency C-section. They had something called "Twin-to-twin Trasfusion Syndrome" , which is a rare condition and has a high mortality rate. I watched as the doctors interested IV's into them via their belly buttons and start treating them. It's amazing that these little ones are alive, especially after doing a bit of research about the condition. Apparently, the mother (who has had a miscarriage and then had a child die of a heart defect at age 20 months) wasn't aware that her twins had this problem and had come in for a routine follow-up. The head of the Neonatal unit at the hospital that I'm shadowing at was very concerned, as this is usually a problem that is discovered much earlier in the pregnancy, during a time when some treatments can be applied - but at 29 weeks it was too late, so they had to deliver the babies.

I'm going back tomorrow morning and am curious to see how they are faring. They were both stable when I left and I pray that they are going to be ok. While at the hospital, I read many letters and cards from parents who had children born so early (one set of twin at 24 weeks!) with updates on how their children are doing 6, 7+ years later. I was very uplifting to see.

Unfortunately, as a result of my busy, busy schedule, my MCAT studying has been sadly lagging and I'm going to have to figure out how to balance everything. The first two days I was so jetlagged and then was thrown into the shadowing immediately and I've been returning totally exhausted. I didn't expect such an overwhelming response from all these doctors and now have too much planned! But I'll take it as this has been as an amazing experience and I'm lucky to be able to see it all.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

first days in Poland

It's amazing - I've been here a grand total of two days and have already spent 10 straight hours in a hospital!

My mom really pulled through and organized for me to shadow/assist her friend who is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

First of all i have to say that this woman is the nicest person I've ever met. She is blonde, bubbly and incredibly friendly and her patients absolutely love her. Heck, I absolutely love her!

Anyway, I spent today with her doing follow ups in her office. Mostly patients with breaks and sprains came in for follow up from minor operations, breaks that were set and some miscellaneous joint pain.

This was very different from the work I was doing with my family doctor because there was a lot of very similar cases - it got to the point where I could probably give the recommendations of what the patient should do following the removal of their cast.

I also learned a lot about the Polish medical system, which unlike Canada is two tier - public and private. I'd like to write more about it but I'm exhausted because of my long day and jet lag so I've decided to leave my musings on the Polish medical system for a different post.

Oh! One thing I forgot to mention is that one day this month I'm going to shadow the chief of pediatric neurosurgery! I met him today and he agreed as a favor this this orthopedic surgeon. That should be really interesting. I don't think neurosurgery (or any surgery for that matter) is going to be my thing but I still find it fascinating.

Anyway, my eyes are starting to close, so I'll finish up for today.

Oh! On a side note, I want to congratulate to all those who received acceptances to medical school yesterday! I hope this time next year, one of those lucky people will be me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Back to the grind

I'd like to say that my week off was nice and relaxing and got a lot done, unfortunately though, it wasn't.

We have a basement apartment that finally, finally, finally was finished. We had some expensive renovations done to our house and had banked on renting the basement to help pay for them but soon found a TON of problems down there, which took almost a year to fix and cost us MORE money. But we were finally able to put it up for rent this week.

We live in an awesome neighborhood, so it wasn't surprising that we had a lot of interest in it. We found a great couple who wanted to rent the basement, however they were looking to rent it furnished AND needed it immediately (i.e. two days after viewing it!) so my husband and I had to really scramble to get it cleaned and find the necessary furniture. We got it done, but it was exhausting!

Then to treat ourselves, we went away for an overnight trip to Niagara Falls. Jordan and I had wanted to do this for ages but something always came up - no one available to watch Tubes, funds were short, had to work etc.. Finally the stars were aligned and we jumped at the opportunity. It was fantastic (though we both agreed that one night isn't enough and we need to plan something for at least two nights next time).

But now I'm really behind on my list of things that I wanted to do last week and those tasks are spilling into this week. This includes coming up with a study schedule for my second MCAT attempt. And speaking of the MCAT, I've registered for it again to be taken on August 17th. I was hoping for the 23rd, however there were no spots and I didn't feel like playing the waiting game, so I just bit the bullet and chose the 17th. The positives of this is that at least I'll have a few weeks of summer to enjoy afterwards. And who knows, maybe all my praying that my MCAT from my 1st attempt will be amazing might pay off :)

Anyway, I need to get started on catching up and planning for my month in Poland.