As the title alludes to, I have an exam in the morning to start my day at 8 AM. Followed by that, I think I have a free spat of time in the afternoon to hang out with friends (since I’m away from home, all of my friends in Boston are now medical students or doctors now). Though, around 3 PM, I’ll do my service learning experience — I’ll be in the anatomy lab with high school students and talking about lungs, should be fun. A lot of medical students, at least the one I go to, pursue a lot of special interests on the side. It’s common for medical students, I assume across the country, to volunteer their time outside of their coursework. I assume, like me, a lot of people find having an experience outside of syllabi to be mentally therapeutic. I’ll get home at around 6 PM, maybe eat dinner and
watch rewatch Scrubs, or maybe make it a date night.
The interesting thing is, all of this is happening tomorrow and the exam bothers me the list bit. I’m actually looking forward to it, mostly because I get a week’s vacation (minus clinic hours) from class. While I still have a lot to learn, I’m learning to really value what’s important in medical school: being healthy. So, though I’m really looking forward to the vacation I’ve also tried to follow the stride of some of my other classmates’, and strive for a better work-life balance. My days of taking vacations like this are numbered, so it’s important to learn how to just enjoy what I’m doing instead of just waiting till the next extended vacation to get affairs in order.
After weathering the storm of an over committed first year, I’ve (and I hope others) found second year to be both healthy challenges and at the same time an epically better experience than the first year. I’ve grown a lot closer to my classmates, and think of some of them as family (cousins perhaps), and when working together everyone is extremely helpful and bright. This year, I participated in a program where I shadowed charge nurses at one an “away” hospital. This was a great experience. I tossed on my short white coat, tied my stethoscope into a loose pretzel knot and stuffed it into the white coat pockets. Jammed my pocket Bates into the other, I thought about smuggling a sandwich but that seemed obsessive. I clipped on my name tag and called a Lyft to give me a ride to the hospital, as it was quite a trip with public transportation — and really, time is money. I arrived, and after wandering around the maze of the new hospital, I found my station and charge nurse I’d be shadowing for the day — okay, actually what really happened was I saw one of those robots that travel around the hospital, followed that a bit, then ran into a new rotation 3rd year who was also wandering around, then I found the cardio nurses station.
In any event, the nurses were all great people and taught me a lot of things, I got to see the hard work nurses put in, and working and eating together we all had a lot of laughs together. The hospital EHR was not exactly the same as our, but it was similar enough to jump on the computer to learn more about the patients we were rounding on. We were keeping close watch on one patient with Clostridium difficile, complicated by heart failure, arrhythmias, and many years of smoking cigarettes. I gave listened to his breath sounds with the charge nurse — he still heard crackling sounds in both his lungs, typically a sign of a fluid that shouldn’t be there. We then gave him his nebulizer treatment. I stretched out the hunter green elastic strap of the nebulizer mask, tossed in the dose the nurse gave me, and turned on the air. I’ve seen this done many times, but usually it was having someone do it to me. At that time, and though I have a long haul ahead of me, I realized more than ever that I’ve truly happy with my decision to attend medical school including all of the bumps that come along with it. I remembered that one of the big reasons why I wanted to be here is because I wanted to feel like I was “paying it forward” for all the times physicians and nurses helped me growing up. And, I remembered that I never predicted I’d actually be in this position to fulfill my wish as a kid to validate myself by paying it forward. So, despite there being a huge looming exam in the morning, and the mountains of debt, I’m sort of totally okay with it.
Wish me luck!