Hello, Readers! How ya’ll doin’?

Have been up to my elbows in paperwork–much to do before September–asking for more LORs, investigating electives, completing forms for the school, trying to get signed up for my Step 2’s, emailing folks with “connections.” I never knew medicine was so political. The paper-pushing’s tedious at times, but not that difficult. Just keeps me from doing fun things, like blogging. :/

So, when we last chatted I was being grouchy about not getting my grades on time. Well, you’ll never guess what happened. I got a call from the coordinator at the hospital who told me she was doing an audit of my file and noticed there was NO EVALUATION from my psychiatry rotation in NOVEMBER and she wanted to confirm that I did it. HA! That’s why I have no grade–the school has no eval! I confirmed that I did, indeed, do my rotation and offered to come in and bring an eval to my doc. The coordinator said she’d take care of it. I heaved a big sigh of relief when I hung up the phone. That’s one mystery solved. In the mean time, my grade for IM was updated so that I have my shelf grade AND final grade, meaning all 3 of my evaluations made it back! YAY!

I had a snooty, condescending blog comment from a resident enlightening me that clinical grades don’t matter to residency programs when you’re an IMG because, according to them, residencies know we have crappy rotations at crappy hospitals. That’s not the point. The school is required to send my transcript off with my application and I do not want a giant INCOMPLETE on my transcript because of something I could have fixed months ago. Yeah they might not care about A vs. B vs. High pass, but incomplete is different. That prompts statements like “Oh you’re applying to psychiatry but it doesn’t even look like you’ve completed your psychiatry core!”

Surgery is over. Ended up going home for a few days during the 11th week to play caretaker when both my parents caught the flu, then my dad, a smoker with close to a 50 pack year history, came down with pneumonia. I reminded Mom that the flu shot could have potentially prevented this…she begged to differ and still politely refuses to get a flu-shot. ::sigh:: Came back to Chicago just in time to unpack, catch the last lecture the next day, get a good night’s sleep and take the surgery shelf. It wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone says it is. Because there aren’t that many surgery questions available in the major q-banks, I followed advice I had heard from upper meds and went back and started doing IM questions when I ran out of surgery q’s. Admittedly, there did seem to be a lot of mostly-medical questions, so I would say it was solid advice. I had a pretty strict study schedule for the first half of the rotation that involved quite a bit of reading and at least 50 practice questions daily–I think this had something to do with how not-so-intimidating the shelf felt. I have many classmates who, per usual, have waited until the last minute to take the shelf (now that their new rotations have already started) who are nervous and freaking out about it. It’s hard to be objective about how prepared you are when you have taught yourself most of the information. Oh well, they’ll be ok.

Had the first day of OB today. Liked it–was impressed with the doc. A lot of what she talked about was information I had already covered in the 100-or-so practice questions I had done on OB stuff in a fit of boredom this weekend. Tricky stuff that is high-yield for exams. Cool! A TEACHER who wants us to do well on our exams! The doc remembered me from IM–she had lectured some mornings at morning report–and made eye contact with me several times during her talk today. We have 12 core students in our rotation, a bit too many for the intimate 6-person table in our meeting room so I ended up squatting on the floor during the lecture. Also we have 5 or 6 5th semester students spending a week shadowing the doctor, so you can imagine how crowded it was. We were handed a list of 42 topics and told to have presentations ready on 2 of them for each day. With 12 people, that’s not too daunting. I volunteered to have a presentation ready for Wednesday since many of the others will be missing class to go take their shelf exams for their previous rotations. The kids who completed surgery with one of the other doctors are required to turn in a giant packet of 23-or-so essays they’ve had to write on interview techniques throughout the rotation. Many of them are still finishing it up and have to turn it in this week, so they’re temporarily out of the presentation line-up as well.

I’m up to week 5 of my couch-to-5k program. They used to measure the amount of time I’m supposed to run in seconds, then minutes, now they’re measuring it in miles! AAH! Fat folks don’t run! Apparently this one does! I’m trying to take it one day at a time and pace myself and stretch really thoroughly. I’m a couple days behind (you’re only supposed to run 3 days a week) but I don’t want to run for 5 days straight this week and risk an injury so I might just have to be behind for a bit. I’ve gotten winded, but have not had an episode yet (knocks on wood) where I wasn’t able to complete the workout as instructed. Listening to music with a good beat helps, as does running outside so that you have surroundings to distract you. I set silly little goals for myself like running to the next mailbox or running through the end of the song and they seem to be what keeps me from quitting when I look down and realize I have more time left than I do running-stamina. (Forcing myself not to look down at the timer, also, helps.) Oh, and a little bit of sugar-free RedBull before the run never hurt either. Heh. I’ve signed up for the Color Me Rad 5k in July, so I have a goal to be responsible for. It’s good motivation when you feel like sitting on the couch or tired of doing practice questions.

Please keep sending questions–very good questions! Good luck to those of you applying/starting school! You can do this!