I am neck deep in our neuroscience module now and have two exams on Friday, after which I will go directly to the airport and fly back to San Francisco. Where did this semester even go?
I have a few updates I'd like to mention in this post, some important and some not. This post, of course, is also to share some photos I took of a recent hike in Middlesex Fells Reservation, which I visited in the early autumn. Taking pictures of the outdoors and fiddling around on VSCO is one of my favorite hobbies nowadays.
I also realize that I've included a potentially graphic story of a surgery I saw, so be warned.
I lost my LL Bean flannel on this very hike, actually. It was a bit warm so I put it in my backpack and fell out somewhere along the way. When I realized it was gone, we had already gone seven labyrinthine miles through the park and I was certain I could not find it again. I usually take pretty good care of my things so I was very annoyed and disappointed at myself, but I eventually did repurchase the same shirt. I liked it quite a lot and have realized that there is no way I can survive a Boston winter short on long sleeves. That's how I justified it.
School is going pretty well. I realized that I never wrote a summary or reflection post about gross anatomy, which is probably one of the most unique aspects of medical school, and one of the oldest and most arcane parts of medicine. I have time during winter break and should really do that. I also recently went to two talks: one about the history of surgery as told through advances in anatomy, anesthesia, and antisepsis; the other about the ethical transgressions in medicine and anatomy during the Third Reich. I have more research to do in both those topics.
My actual research is going well. I have a plan, a good mentor, a pile of work to do, and an abstract to revise. The project is something very important to me, and is in orthopedics, a specialty that I have long wanted to enter. I have shadowed the residents on call a few times and like the culture, like the work they do, and like their perspective. Of course, the surgery itself is cool beyond my wildest dreams.
I wrote back in the springtime about being utterly starstruck and sick with dreams after attending an orthopedics conference. I felt similarly after observing a trauma case that went to the OR. Long story short, a man in his 30s presented with a proximal and open distal femur fracture, a proximal tibia fracture, and lateral compartment syndrome. I'll spare the details for another post, but I was completely absorbed into the scene, the jagged ends of the femur sticking out of his bloody thigh, bits of plastic and glass removed, the red and yawning gash in his calf from the fasciotomy, the methodical placement of all the rods and pins and spacers to externally fix the limb...if this is bread and butter orthopedic surgery, I am all in. I've retold the story a dozen times and still go over the details. It was some parts carpentry, some parts butchery, all surgery. I want to see more.
For next semester's clinical skills class, I was placed with a general surgeon at our hospital. General surgery is second on my list for specialties and I am very excited to meet my preceptor.
Last week, some friends and I won a prize in our school's gingerbread house contest. A few hours later, some of more of us began our first Dungeons & Dragons campaign of medical school. We spent the week reading the player's handbook, building our characters, and telling each other how excited we were. Having a regular board game group has been great fun, but D&D will be even better.
Lastly, good luck on exams if you are taking them, and have safe travels if you are going somewhere.