Monthly Archive for April, 2006

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of white coats and stethoscopes…

Some medical schools have moved away from the white coat ceremony tradition to embrace a new tradition of presenting students with stethoscopes to symbolize the beginning of their journey to becoming physicians. The white coat separates doctors from patients by creating professional distance, whereas stethoscopes are tools that connect doctors and patients. A white coat is not necessarily essential to being a physician while a stethoscope is. Along the same lines, white coats are so prevalent in the health care industry that it diminishes the significance of the ceremony. Current ad campaigns depict pharmacists as “the other white coat.” What’s next? Physicians are so much more than a white coat. We are healers. We are patient advocates. We are lifetime students of medicine. So I think a stethoscope ceremony is a great idea—give us something that we can use to help us listen to patients’ bodies and not a rather useless coat that doesn’t really set us apart from any number of health care professionals.

when i grow up…

House is my hero. Well, maybe not quite. But when I become a doctor, I want to be just like House. I don’t care if that’s not what patients want. Well, maybe I don’t want to throw drugs at patients to eliminate possible diagnoses. But I do want to not have to apologize for being me. I’m just not good at being warm and fuzzy (my mother-in-law can very well attest to that) even though I’ve tried and tried. Does that mean that I won’t make a good doctor? Does it mean that I shouldn’t have even gotten into medical school? I sure hope not. But I’m tired of feeling inadequate because I’m a little lacking in the warm and fuzzy department. I’d like to think that I can still be a good doctor, that I’ll find my own way. And though House is extreme and so not real, he gives me hope that I’ll be okay after all.

so now we’re doctors?

Before we even started our classes, we participated in the White Coat Ceremony in which each entering student is presented with a white coat (a short one, mind you…we’re not quite doctors yet and they don’t want anyone mistaking us for doctors and neither do we). Somehow, they expect that putting on this white coat will magically transform a bunch of not-so-long-ago immature college graduates into responsible doctors-to-be. I felt more than a little silly in mine, as if I were trying to pretend to be someone I’m not (at least not yet). The fact that they don’t make white coats small enough for petite little me also didn’t help. I’ve worn it many times since to go to clinics and preceptorships, but I still feel like such a poseur in it. I still feel horribly inadequate. Seriously, I wouldn’t let myself be treated by me. Maybe my feelings have something to do with the inherent disconnect between the basic sciences and clinical application/relevance. Even though we’re filling our heads with more information than imaginable, there really is no way to learn how to apply that information until we actually have clinical experiences and learn by doing and not so much by memorizing. I doubt that I’ll wake up one day sure that I belong in that white coat. Rather, as I gain more clinical experience and confidence over time, I will feel more at-ease in my white coat as I slowly, imperceptibly to me, instinctively begin to take on the role symbolized by the coat.

oh how i miss medical school…

So I’ve been away from medical school for almost two years now and I’m suffering from major burnout withdrawal. Yes, I WANT to be burnt out. I WANT to go to class at 8am. Come home at 4pm if I’m lucky. And study. Maybe eat. But mostly study. Go to bed at 2am and wake up at 7am to do it all over again. And again. And again. All the while still feeling woefully inadequate and undeserving of the trust placed in me by patients who trust me, a complete stranger, with seeing and caring for them at their most vulnerable. When I was going through it, I despised it. I was wrong. I miss it. I crave it. So much that I try to turn my current non-med student life into my med student life. But I can’t. So I’ll write about it instead.

sand people are hazardous to dogs

So I have nothing against sand people…they just annoy me. As long as they stay out of my way, we can coexist peacefully. But it’s appalling what sand people are capable of. On my way home from a trip to Ikea, I caught view of an object moving in the back of a utility truck. My heart literally sank to the floor when I realized what the object was: a dog. It was running around frantically in the tiny space that is the bed of such a truck as the truck was barreling along at 70+ mph. Not only that but it was NOT in any way tied to anything and the sides of the truck were so low that one misstep would have led to dead dog on my windshield. Dogs shouldn’t be placed in the back of trucks to begin with, but if you’re going to do it, at least tie the dog to something! Would you put your kids back there? I would hope not. So it really evades me as to why these people choose to do so with their dogs, which are as helpless and reckless as children. This particular guy was also yapping away on his cell phone, so he probably didn’t even notice his dog freaking out in the back of his truck, whereas everyone behind him was switching lanes to avoid having a dog fly into their windshield. He probably won’t notice until he arrives at his destination one day with no dog. For the sake of his dog, I really hope it doesn’t come to that. PLEASE restrain your dog if you have to put it in the back of your truck.

sand people?

What are sand people? The simple answer is that sand people are people who annoy me. But of course, such an answer is a gross over-simplification. Some people can’t help but be annoying…like the person with the misfortune of being born with a naturally squeaky voice or a girl who is really ditzy through no fault of her own. These people would not be considered sand people. A sand person is one who purposely does annoying things such as making her voice squeaky and/or acting dumb in order to get noticed by guys. The true but somewhat vaguer definition of sand people is people who are mediocre and are content with being mediocre. They know better but choose not to do any better, hence the term “sand people;” they have their heads in the sand and refuse to pull them out and are actually quite content to leave them in the sand. A subcategory of sand people that is particularly annoying includes those who, when faced with those who are not mediocre, fight against and hate them because those who choose to excel remind them of how mediocre they really are. Instead of using their energy to rise above such mediocrity, they waste their efforts unsuccessfully trying to take down those who excel. Well, that’s sand people in a nutshell. Keep in mind that this concept is still evolving—I will add more details as this concept is further refined and as I encounter more sand people.

hi, everybody!

Welcome to My Life, My Pace, where you’ll find my random, hopefully somewhat interesting, musings as I live my life as a medical student/graduate student/wife/human being…at my pace! For more about me, go to My H&P. Enjoy!