31 January 2010


i just finished my four weeks of inpatient pediatrics. the first few days helped me realize that pediatrics is not my life's path.

somewhere in the middle of the month, one of the other teams' residents mentioned to my resident that she was about to go admit a 'crappy patient.' it didn't register for me until a few minutes later that she used the adjective 'crappy' to describe her newest admit. understandably, crap is not a foreign substance to a children's hospital, so this is not surprising. but in this case, the resident was talking about the patient being crappy - an undesirable patient. the patient had a chromosomal abnormality, present from conception, that caused a constellation of medical problems.

it hit me later that day why pediatrics wasn't appealing to me. on inpatient pediatrics, all of our patients were as the residents' newest admit - complicated and suffering some type of long-term incurable illness - or incredibly uncomplicated. by uncomplicated i mean: has a cold and can't eat, so has to be admitted for IV fluids and will go home the next day. obviously this is a gross generalization, but surprisingly accurate.

there's a list of other things that don't appeal to me about pediatrics: working with 75% female residents, dealing with primarily non-verbal/non-history-giving patients, dealing with parents, being out-of-touch with adult medicine, and calculating medicine/fluid/calories based on weight of individual patients among others. then there's the list of illnesses common in a pediatric population, many of which have some connection to embryology and/or genetics (neither of which hold my interest much).

after all is said and done, i also realized about myself - surprisingly - that i don't like taking care of kids medically. i've always been someone who is passionate about understanding people and helping others understand things. enter - pediatrics. it's impossible to explain to a 5-year-old why it's necessary to place stitches on her lacerated chin. impossible. i tried. don't get me wrong - i don't expect every patient i ever have to understand. it's just going to be a much more plausible task in a 30 yr old vs a 3 yr old.

nonetheless, pediatrics has taught me loads about myself and how i relate to people of different ages. prior to starting pediatrics, i was certain it was my career path. halfway through, i'm certain it's not. disorienting? yes. exciting? double-yes. can't wait to see how much more 3rd year will shape my own self-awareness.

07 January 2010


although i have done an incredibly poor job of updating my blog more recently, i'm now on a new clerkship -- and i might actually have time to write something thoughtful. yippee!

news since last i updated:

-surgery ended well... as well as expected. i was incredibly burnt out physically and emotionally, but i think the shelf exam went ok. i was glad to spend the last few weeks at children's... people who take care of sick kids just seem a little easier to deal with?

-one of the last few weeks of surgery i got a new phone -- a droid eris. it's a smartphone, which is a new thing for me! i'm still getting used to its touch screen, but i really like it.

-got two whole weeks off for the holidays (!) it was beautiful. henry and i travelled up to nashville for my little sister's college graduation, then we spent the first week celebrating christmas with our families in birmingham. i spent those few days off before christmas doing shopping, wrapping, house-cleaning, and baking. i tried my hand at gingerbread cookies this year, and they turned out great!

-spent the week between christmas and the new year in philadelphia visiting extended family. i love cold weather, cheesesteaks, big cities, and of course my family. henry got to meet a few of my relatives he had never met. we were also able to meet up with a childhood friend of henry's/med school classmate of mine who is a first year resident in Philly. we explored downtown a little, ate a LOT, and rang in the new year with a bunch of my cousins and pictionary. all-in-all a fun way to spend break!

-started pediatrics on monday. went into it thinking i was going to love it. i don't hate it... but i definitely don't see it being the fit for me. shocking, eh? it has really surprised me, actually, especially since this is what i've told everyone i'm interested in. i'll talk more about this in the future, but i guess this is what third year of medical school is all about.

.... over and out! more soon.