Fuzzy Lines

The school year “began” on August 7. The first two weeks, however, were not spent in the lecture hall. Instead, we had two weeks of wards experience. Most people were assigned to a third or fourth year student and we followed them on their two-week rotation.

I was assigned to a fourth year student who happened to be doing a rotation through MICU/CCU. During the first week, our attending was a cardiologist and so the majority of our patients were on the CCU service; although there were times when we did venture out of the CCU.

On one of the mornings I came in and sat as the fourth year student I was assigned to wrote his notes. We were sitting at the nurses’ station in the CCU. A nurse came and stood beside me. She looked like she was getting something at the printer. But then, another nurse called her for help and off she ran to a patient’s room. Then the blue light above the doorway of that room began flashing and an alarm went off.

Chaos ensued. Nurses, medical students, and residents ran to do the room. I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I follow? Should I stand at the nurses’ station? Could I go watch? I ended standing near the doorway so as to peer in at what was unfolding.

The team grabbed the crash cart. Someone got the defibrilator ready. A loud voice yelled, “Clear!”

Nothing happened. They tried again. Still, nothing happened. They yelled for another machine. Someone rushed one over from down the hallway…

A couple other first-year students gathered with me outside the room. Someone yelled to page surgery because the patient was a surgery patient. Soon a surgical resident arrived and asked us (the first year students) who the resident was inside. He just looked inside and started working on his pager…

As we stood outside watching we saw a medical student (3rd or 4th year) get on the bed and begin chest compressions. He would trade off with another person every few minutes. I am not too sure what happened about using the defibrilator….

A nurse walks into the room and tells the team that the family has asked that they stop. The patient was coding for over 15 minutes. I heard the resident call the time of death…

I had always thought of the line between life and death as a solid line. One was either dead or alive, right (and please don’t bring up Schrödinger’s cat)? There is no in between. But for over a quarter of an hour, I watched as a patient lay on a bed with no change in condition. There was no breathing throughout that time, nor was there a heartbeat. But only when they declared the time of death was the patient “dead.” If you ask me, that’s a pretty fuzzy line…

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White Coat Ceremony

Loma Linda University held a White Coat Ceremony for the incoming class of 2010 on Thursday evening (after our first day of orientation). Prior to this ceremony I had heard many opinions that the White Coat ceremony was just a big waste of time. After all, the faculty members just help the students to put on a short white coat. These same people conceded that the ceremony was more for the families, spouses, and significant others than for the medical student.

Is it worthless? Well the opposing viewpoint is that the White Coat ceremony symbolizes transition from layperson to physician. It marks the beginning of one’s journey into the profession of medicine.

In the morning, during orientation, the Dean of the School of Medicine (Dr. Hadley) spoke to us about the significance of the white coat. He spoke on the responsibilities of a doctor – responsibilities and obligations that continue to exist outside the walls of a hospital and in the absence of any white coats. That evening Dr. _____, famous for the first infant transplant surgery, spoke to us about being a doctor.

So maybe it was useless. Maybe it was worthless. The white coat ceremony was probably of little use to the students, as far as our medical education goes. But we were warmly “welcomed into the profession.” Maybe it was our first baby steps as we received our new white coats and stethoscopes, and recited the Physician’s Oath.

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Registration & Orientation

On Thursday and Friday (August 3-4) Loma Linda University had an orientation for the incoming freshman class. By 8:00 AM on Thursday morning, 175 eager, anxious, excited, and nervous students had found their way into the Wong Kerlee International Conference Center located on the basement level of Coleman Pavilion (home to the Loma Linda University School of Medicine).

Over the next two days we sat through hours of presentations which ranged in topics from “How to succeed in medical school” to expected behavior and dress of students. On the first day we were deluged with “welcomes” from deans, administrators, faculty, and other students. We were also captive audiences to the marketing from various on-campus groups that wanted us to sign-up with them.

Afternoons were left for us to do as we pleased. However, those students who had not yet finished all the registration requirements were advised to go and complete them. This involved asking the records office to sign one up for classes, obtaining financial clearance, requesting a parking permit from security, and taking pictures for a school ID as well as a medical center ID.

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Alright, I finally got back from my trip on July 14. The trip, which I took with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and little sister, took us to Australia, Indonesia, and Thailand. That trip was really fun. We got to see many different things. I posted a few highlights from the trip at flickr.

On July 19 I had to go to the oral surgeon. Why? They said I needed to extract all four of my wisdom teeth. Yippeee. The appointment was at 8 AM and they had me take a valium pill an hour beforehand. Before the surgery began, I asked how long it would take and one lady said about 45 minutes. Regardless I think I was home before 10.

The rest of the day I just ate three cups of yogurt. One for lunch and almost two for dinner. By 9 PM my front lip was no longer numb. Its a weird feeling to touch your lip and not feel your finger on it…lol

Now I have a scheduled appointment with my doctor on July 21 for a physical and TB test which is required for Loma Linda University. I think only the TB test is required to complete my immunization history. I don’t think the physical is necessary. I might even be loaded up on vicodin for the pain. My dad scheduled the appointment for me while I was out of the country. So I guess I’ll just go.

Orientation for LLU is at 8 AM on August 3. They want us to “dress professionally” so that we can take ID pictures. Then on August 4 (Friday evening) we will be having the whitecoat ceremony.

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My trip, White Coat Ceremony, and Financial Aid

Melbourne, Australia
Originally uploaded by semperjeffrei.

These past few days I have been in Melbourne, Australia. My sister and I are here with my Uncle, Aunt, and cousin. We are on a trip that begins here in Australia and will take us to Indonesia before concluding in Thailand. This is a photo from downtown (or as the Aussies call it: the Central Business District).

As far as medical school goes, not too much is going on. The beginning is just around the corner though. I just completed my background check last week and I still need to order my white coat for the ceremony that will be held on August 4.

The White Coat Ceremony is a program in which someone will put on a white coat in a symbolic gesture of one’s entrance into the medical community. The feeling I get from reading some messages from current med students is that it is a useless ceremony that signifies nothing and only really means anything to parents, spouses, and significant others. So much for my excitement…

Another thing that I have to do is sort out my financial aid. I just got an email from Loma Linda University that said that I had an incomplete financial aid file. Last week I sent in what I thought was the last remaining document, the Master Promissory Note (which I am able to borrow against throughout the four years of medical school). Well this week, Loma Linda’s website still says that I need to turn it in. This whole process is quite frustrating. Thus far, I would say that Loma Linda needs to update its web services website. Not user-friendly enough.

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It ends, It begins

Today was commencement. I am now a college graduate. I am now an Alumnus of Walla Walla College. As I sat on my chair during the program, I told myself to look around and remember everything I could. After all, you only graduate college once.

The whole wekend culminated in the commencement that started at 8:30 AM on Centennial Green by the side of Peterson Memorial Library and in front of Sittner Hall.

The speaker for the ceremony was Jose Rojas. He has spent five years as an advisor to the President of the United States. He reminded us that although this marks the end of our college journey, the word “commencement” means a beginning. And this is a beginning. And since I am now a college graduate, I’m sure the Alumni Association will be calling me and asking for money soon.

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Medical Humor – Prescription Medication

A distraught patient phoned her doctor’s office. “Is it true,” the woman wanted to know, “that the medication the doctor had prescribed was for the rest of my life?” She was told that it was. There was a moment of silence before the woman continued, “I’m wondering then just how serious is my condition? This prescription is marked ‘No Refills.'”

– Another true story brought to you by the medical community

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