Giving Thanks On Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 27, 2014
This is my 4th year celebrating American Thanksgiving, and I'm still in awe at how quickly time has flown. I haven't lived in Canada, specifically my lovely city of Toronto, for what seems like ages. It is painstakingly obvious that I've missed tremendous milestones of family and friends during this period, so I could pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. In order to keep my mind off of this predicament, I thought I'd share a list of the many aspects of my life I am truly grateful for:

+ Being healthy and in one piece. 
(This one comes from being in hospitals and seeing very sick, depressed patients.)

+ Having a great family, and a super-loving & self-sacrificing one to boot!

+ Friends that don't forget about me, especially when I hibernate. Thanks guys! *little hand wave*

+ Being in a relationship with someone who is accommodating, open-minded, and supportive.

+ The opportunity to study medicine & all the trials and tribulations that come with it.

+ Having a roof over my head, heat in the winter, and access to water & great food (be it the grocery store or restaurants).

+ Mentors

+ Great doctors who love teaching.

+ Review books for shelf exams.

+ French Vanilla Creamer

+ Netflix

+ My online friends!!! *.*

+ Great stationary, with cute designs and nice paper quality.

+ Blue pens that write smoothly and don't skip.

+ Fleece lined leggings and gloves. Oooh babyyy....

+ Information highway, aka The Internet.

Tell me friends, what's on your list?!
image source: papermag

Daily Inspo & Peds

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hey amigos!
I'm just starting my third week of pediatrics, and thus far it has been much more enjoyable than I thought. I have three really great doctors as my preceptors, and they've made learning difficult concepts so much easier. Peds docs in general are just super nice, friendly people. It's never intimidating to ask questions, and that is such a plus for a medical student. Textbooks teach you very 'standard' clinical situations, but reality is more complicated!
Currently, I'm cuddled up in bed, with a diving movie in the background, whilst blogging. I'm as happy as a clam right now. Yay!!

What are all of you up to this week? AAAaaand has anyone tried the peg pants from ASOS yet? (I love their patterns and colors, which I'd like to add to my work wardrobe.)

image sources: madamederosa, AKDO tile, Chanel Accessories, dance leap, collagevintage

Forest Trail

Saturday, November 08, 2014
Hey everyone!

Here's a quick update on life: I've moved to a different location for my new clerkship (Pediatrics!), and I've officially unpacked my winter wardrobe. It's mostly sweaters, but that's okay... I'll find pants eventually. Below are a few quick photos from a brunch & nature walk The Boy and I had a few weeks ago. It's always fun to get out of the medschool hermit life. I have the pleasure of seeing another Toronto friend this weekend, and I'm so so happy about it. I haven't been home since August and it's wonderful when a tiny slice of my city comes to see little ol' me. How have all of you been?! I hope you're enjoying the new season, and please stay bundled up!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Medical School Rotation: Psychiatry Clerkship

Sunday, November 02, 2014
source- northcoastjournal
What I liked
- Getting to see first hand a patient in a manic, or psychotic, or severely depressed state. As students we read how these cases would present themselves, but experiencing it in real life takes it to another level.
- Having the full role of an intern (we worked directly with attendings, no residents at this site). We would round on our patients in the morning, write progress notes and/or full psychiatric evaluations, and then present to the psychiatrist. She would encourage us to create our own treatment plan with drug dosages and all, which was challenging but a great learning experience.
- Since this is psychiatry, we get to spend a lot of time with patients learning about their life and challenges they've faced (and sometimes continue to face).
- Since this was an inpatient unit, I got to see VERY ILL patients directly from the ER. A few experiences that continue to stick out were 2 schizophrenic patients with severe auditory hallucinations, a bipolar patient with active psychosis, and pt in severe major depressive episode with no response to medication (she was schedule for ECT after my last day on the clerkship). I'm telling you guys, I was so lucky to end up at this site.
- Age and class status do not protect you from 'disease of the brain'. There continues to be this notion that being mentally ill is your fault, and you can think it away. IT IS NOT. I wish some of the more ignorant members of society could get to see what I did.
- I was at a hospital site that really enforced appropriate follow-up care. Okay, so what? Doesn't every medical institute do that? Not exactly. We were right in the middle of Chicago, and many admissions were of homeless men and women. The sad reality of poverty due to mental illness was ever present on the unit, and it was a mad cycle that fed itself. However, there was an amazing team of social workers that found shelters and doctors for their patients, and it allowed me to have a small glimmer of hope for their future.
- Psychiatrists are pretty awesome, chill, and have a good sense of humor. I liked that. Everyone was funny, including the staff!
- I had the opportunity to also see a child psych session, as well as an eating disorder management appointment. Both very eye-opening and something I would've loved to see more of.
- My attending had a meme wall about psychiatry. ITWASAWESOME.
- [Just an aside, I got to be at my apartment for this clerkship, walk to work, and see my roomies everyday! #winning]
- Also.....Psychiatry is totally my jam.

writing progress notes @ the hospital - pretty scarves - an afterwork snack & studying - quirky kids books
What I disliked
- Seeing a patient readmitted only a few weeks after his last discharge; it feels like you've 'failed' the patient, although there's no way to force someone into outpatient substance abuse treatment. Substance abuse is a difficult road to recovery.
- The full reality of mental health within the sphere of society and healthcare. As I mentioned before, there was a strong link between being mentally ill and being in poverty. A lot of these patients did not have access to appropriate medical experts when they first experienced pscyhotic/manic breaks, and they lived this self-destructive life that could have been less overwhelming if they had the right medication & psychiatrists to help them along.

Tips for studying 
Start UWorld early - I finished it in two weeks and had all of my notes written by the third week.
Lange Q&A for Psychiatry - completed one pass, and reviewed a few chapters I was weak on.
Psychiatry section of First Aid for Step 2 - I made little index cards off of this chapter (the first two weeks) and kept them in my pocket throughout the rotation to help me out.
Pocket Psychiatry book (from my medical school's bookstore; I cannot find it online!) - great resource to use while rotating.
UpToDate & AccessMedicine - I used these two sources for my presentations and pre-reading for other student's lunch presentations. Great information!
Notebook - Again, I carried around a notebook with me to track my patients, take notes, and do a little something different. I've started adding in commonly used medications for each rotation, and in this book I pasted in charts of pscyh meds + dosages + sideffects. You can find these charts on AccessMedicine if you look under Tables for Current Diagnosis Psychiatry and some of their Pharmacology textbooks.

My First Aid for Step 2 index cards, plus my BF's annotated Lange. I have a sheet to write notes on concepts not covered in UWorld or FA but may show up on the NBME.
Shelf exam tips
UWorld - reviewed my notes 2 times before the exam, and redid my incorrect questions. (Almost 2 passes)
Lange - reviewed my weak chapters after finishing all the Q's (Almost 2 passes)
Plussss, all the studying I did above throughout the clerkship.

Studying in bed before sleepy time!

That's it for now. Hopefully I will have my family medicine rotation in review post up much earlier! I'm crossing my fingers they will update my grade quickly this time around.