lifestyle

14 Signs You Work in a Hospital

1. You don’t have to look at your badge when a code gets called anymore because you’ve already memorized what they all mean… But if you got dropped in a new hospital, you’d probably be lost because there isn’t a standardized system for code labeling in the U.S.   2. You’re either BFF’s with the kitchen staff, maintenance staff, switchboard operators or all of the above, because you know they are the reason the hospital keeps running.   3. At any given moment, any location in the hospital, you know where the nearest coffee pot is.   4. You know which shoes in your closet are 1) too clicky 2) too scuffy or 3) too squeaky to be worn throughout the hospital corridors.   5. You also know what items of clothing you can clip your badge too, and what pieces will require you to wear a lanyard.   6. You have a minimum of three lanyards, at least one of which is silly and/or sparkly.   7. You have hidden in the hospital Chapel at least once; and if you haven’t yet, trust me, you will.   8. You know which bathrooms are the least used and you try to make a beeline for them on your break.   9. You weren’t sure what I meant by the word “break” just then.   10. You know which departments...

Just Call Me Doctor

Every once in a while, a nurse or patient mistakenly calls me doctor and I giggle. Me? A doctor?  Did I really look authoritative or seem to know what I was doing? You mean those poised people in long white coats, who have the ability to reassure with a few sentences, and have seemingly boundless, wiki-level knowledge in their brains? Surely it’s obvious that I’m just a bottom of the totem pole, work 60 hours a week for free med student. Recently, though, it’s beginning to sink in that in less than a year, I really will be a doctor I remember the first few weeks of MS1, mainly just shadowing my preceptor in the continuity clinic. Then, I was figuring out how to address patients or how to drape them properly, and thinking to myself, man I’ll never know as much as Dr. R.  She had only been out of residency for about half a decade, but I couldn’t imagine a time when she was any less composed or knowledgeable than the physician I knew. She was able to relate to patients so well, immediately knew the answers to questions they asked her, and even when she didn’t, was able to reply confidently and in such a manner that they were satisfied with anything she said. I understood that I was still a little baby stem cell in the infancy...

How I’ve Handled Life as an MD/PhD Candidate

As Voltaire said, “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position,” and the transition to medical school or grad school (or both!) often comes with much uncertainty. For many of us, we move away from home, leaving loved ones and everything that we’ve known. If you’re like me, you went to college close to home so the transition wasn’t too bad. So this is really the first time on your own and this is the first time you’ve felt such a massive shift in your life. At the same time that we move away and start our new adventure, our undergrad friends get real jobs and start to figure out their lives in our absence. While we struggled to get into school before they started their job search, now they are the ones trying to figure things out while we are set for the next 4+ years or 8+ years for MD/PhD students – I like to call it “putting off getting a real job.” As we go in different directions with our lives, it can be hard to handle. But this is not our first rodeo. The same thing happened when we began college as we left our high school friends behind. We made new awesome friends who perhaps shared a major, career interest, extracurricular interest (for me, most of my friends were made through the marching band), or love of alcohol and...

She Trusted You

She trusted you. In her hospital bed, listening attentively to your words, she couldn’t help but think of how badly she just wanted to go home. She missed her cat, though embarrassed to admit it. She longed for her own bed. After a few days, you came to her bedside, you said she could go home. You gave her pills and said, “Take these, they’ll make you well.” She didn’t question you; she was thrilled to be going home. Her cat greeted her. Her bed was soft, warm, welcoming. She dutifully took the pills you gave her. But she did not feel better. And she came back. You had assumed that she would know that the pills you gave her were blood thinners. You also assumed that since she was already taking one, she would know that she would need to stop taking her old pills before she started taking the new ones. You assumed that she knew that even though they had different names, they were the same medication. You assumed that she must know taking both of them would be dangerous; irresponsible. But she didn’t know that. And she didn’t think to ask. She knew about her cat, and how much she missed him. She knew the thread count of the sheets on her bed, and how much she missed their softness. She knew all about her...

Top 10 Epic Libraries You Wish You Could Study In

Here’s to life, liberty, and the pursuit of an EPIC library. Go big (or go home, literally).   10. Trinity College Library | Dublin, Ireland Jedi Archives? Or renowned Irish library?   9. Your Private Study “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” —Anna Quindlen      8. Bookshop Selexyz Dominicanen | Maastricht, Netherlands  An old cathedral renovated into a library. So much yes.   7. The NoMad Hotel | New York City, NY  Where classy meets classwork.   6. José Vasconcelos Library | Mexico City, Mexico Because who doesn’t want to look at the inside of a dinosaur while going over histology slides?!    5. The All-Nighter Library Lock me up and throw away the keys.   4. Of course, the quintessential bathroom library Dare to dream.   3. Bibliotheca Alexandrina | Alexandria, Egypt    Just hope that Caesar doesn’t stop by.   2. Library at the Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum | Osaka, Japan   Any library where you have to climb the equivalent of a small mountain to check out a volume just wins.   1. Wherever this is + a time machine.   Sometimes it’s not about where you study, but the people you choose to waste away your youth with under a stack of books.       Featured image from Tumblr...

Every Career in Medicine Begins With a Story…Here’s Mine

In his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee says, “Medicine … begins with storytelling. Patients tell stories to describe illness; doctors tell stories to understand it. Science tells its own story to explain diseases.” It is stories that give meaning to what we do, and so, I wish to tell you my grandmother’s story. I could barely recognize my grandmother’s frail body as she lay on a hospital bed in the room that was once her dining room. She asked what the weather was like outside. Fighting back tears, I told her it was a nice sunny day and there were robins on the bird feeders that she liked to watch on her deck. It was comforting to see her face light up at the thought, but I knew it was really a gloomy April day with no birds in sight. I did everything that I could to not think of the tumor growing in her bladder that day, but like a tumor in my mind, the realization that this was her end was growing into an overwhelming force. Each time she exhaled, there would be a long pause where I would stroke her hand fearing she would never breathe again. Her sister told her what I did not have the strength to: “You are dying.” The family knew since her diagnosis that...

The Art of Choosing Who You Want To Be

When I was four, playing with toy cars meant smashing them together as hard as their plastic bumpers could handle. My favorites included a yellow Tonka dump truck, a police sheriff’s car with flashing lights, and a fire truck with a retractable ladder. I didn’t know much then, but I did know that garbage smelled bad, so I wanted to become either a policeman or fireman—mostly so I could drive a cool car with a siren and not have to wait in traffic. When I turned seven, my true calling arrived on the scene in a big way. Everything else seemed like a waste of time—I would become a Pokémon Master. Upon turning eight, my family caved to my demands for a dog, and I finally found myself sitting in the backseat with a tiny yellow Labrador puppy. She was wrapped in a blanket on my lap, like a stuffed animal that had finally heard my prayers and started to wag its tail. Over the course of less than an hour in that car, I abandoned all hopes of becoming a Pokémon Master. I instead set my sights on something far more pragmatic—becoming a veterinarian—so I could take care of my new puppy, if she ever got sick. At thirteen, I wanted to become a baseball player so I could play for the Yankees, maybe next to Derek Jeter,...