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Preview: The saga of the premed way!

The saga of the premed way!

This blog chronicles my ongoing pre-med experience at University of Oregon. The opinions herein constitute the legally binding words of the parent and affiliated corporations. Any hyperbole or sarcasm should be taken at face value, because the author i

Updated: 2014-03-17T12:54:05.106-07:00


A fond adieu


Well faithful readers, since I am now in medical school, I am no longer going to be updating the premed blog. I'll leave it up for a while, but I think I'll take it down by october. If'n you want to follow the story during the Second Age of Middle Earth, read the Silmarillion, but if you want my story, click the link at the side of this page. yess, I see you looking around..... It's to the right.... warmer....warmer....YES! Under the "links" menu!!!! It's the Spaceman Spiff Adventure!

Red State Update


This message has been approved by Jacky Browles. For those not in the know, search youtube for "redstate update". Funny rednecks. Ok, here is the updated status of my schools:
OHSU: Said no up front to yours truly. Hold status for 5+ months, then "we don't want you here". Fine.
UVM: Middle third of the waiting list.
SLU: Still accepted, working out financial aid details.

The Crazier They Come


So, here are a few quotes from the confused, DT'ing, mentally ill, demented patients that I have seen in the past few weeks.

"Are you using an axe to draw my blood ? "

"There was a colored man who came out of the clock and stood in my body"

" The people on the TV came out of it and talked with me"

" I couldn't sleep last night because of the fish swimming in the wall".... "There were tons of them: salmon, blugill, trout, and bass." -note: this was from the patient who had removed one of the wall panels to get at the fish. Needless to say the maintenance man was confused when he asked why the panel had been removed in the first place.

"My leg's not F---ing broken!!"- Young man in CT scanner whose leg was broken in half at the femur. Yes, my friend, it most certainly is broken.

"You can't check my blood sugar. I only let people check my blood glucose". Ok. Whatever you say, you're the boss.

Not so nervous waiting.


So the wait for May 15 continues. May 15 is the magical day when all medical schools are required to have admitted a number of students equal to the 1st year class. What this also means is that the waitlists at the various schools will be ranked and applicants will be notified. Some schools will tell you the exact position on the list; OHSU is one such school. Others will give you a rough idea of where you fall, like UVM which tells you which third of the list you're on. Right now I'm pretty set on going to SLU. I don't know what we'll do if I have to pick between SLU and OHSU or SLU and UVM. I reallly liked Burlington so it'll be a hard choice. Of course, I might be ranked 200th at OHSU and in the bottom third at UVM, so who knows. This might all be moot. All I know is that I'm really grateful that I don't have to sweat a waitlist in order to attend medical school next fall.

Osmolality, or How I Kept My Cool


Patient X has Q6 osmo's and sodiums. He's in the SICU, and I don't know/care what else he has. All I know is that during the night, the ICU nurses have ordered Q2 Osmo's and Na's. But they don't want them. Rather than simply cancelling the order in the computer, they simply turn us away all night long. No biggie since I'm asleep at home when this is happpening.
Change of shift in the lab. I get report that the ICU has been carrying on like this, but that they finally cancelled the Q2 orders. Patient X has a 0600 Basic Metabolic Panel which has included in it a sodium level. We do this, but for some reason the 0600 Osmo and sodium were cancelled along with the Q2 orders. Since the nursing staff now wants the tests Q6 at 0600, 1200, and so on, we need to reorder the osmo which we do. By the time we get to the floor to do a slightly late 600 osmolality, Mr. X has gone to CT. The nurse irately explains to the phleb that they don't want osmos except at 0600 and 1200. Wisely the phleb deflects the spittle from yonder moronicus giganticus. He hops on the phone and yells at me, 'Osmo's? We don't need no stinkin osmo's", well he would have if I'd been Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles. He actually berated me for sending someone up.
I tried explaining that we were actually trying to perform his precious 0600 Osmo, but that the patient had been in CT. Since it was 0715, and the patient had returned, I felt it requisite to draw the blood as ordered. He stammered incoherently and tried to make me understand, using his best patronizing tone, that he only wanted them at 0600 and 1200. Yes, massah I replied. I then reached into the phone, and dug my finger into Nurse Moronicus' ear. Feeling the wrath of the lab, he backed off, and apologized. I told him that we were doing the best we could to comply with their orders, and that if he wanted an 0600 osmo, he would have to let us draw it. If not, we'd be more than happy to cancel it. My cool, impassive mien and unflappable Harrison Ford voice let him know who really was in charge. He might be all bluster, but Cool Hand Lab Man wasn't takin' no crap from nobody, nohow.

editor's note: In the interests of factual accuracy, Lab Man was in fact exquisitely polite, did not physically harm the nurse, and the situation resolved itself peacefully. Had it not been so, there would have been a Wild West showdown in the halls behind SICU. We all know who would have drawn his pearl handled six shooter fastest too.....

Descent from Cloud 9


Now the high is wearing off. I keep surfing SDN every day, posting on the allopathic boards that I can in good conscience frequent. I'm trying to figure out where we can live, which neighborhoods to avoid, but which are an acceptable distance from SLU. Never having lived in a big city in a non-missionary capacity, I don't really have what you'd call "street smarts". There are quite a few of my classmates on SDN, we'll see how long we can remain anonymous. It appears that classes are beginning on August 13, but that the white coat ceremony is on Aug 5. I think that mindy and I are going to move in late june, but spend a few weeks at camp before driving down to St. Louis for good.



I sent my acceptance of their acceptance in as soon a humanly possible. Two days later I got a letter saying I was enrolled in the class of 2011 at SLU!!! I'm still on Cloud 9, and I keep saying "I'm going to medical school" because it doesn't feel real. I can't really fathom it all right now, since it's been occupying most of my waking hours for the last 3 years. It hasn't really sunk in that I have been accepted.



OK, here's the skinny. I"M going to be a doctor!!!! I got into Saint Louis University School of Medicine today!!!!! I have to retro post a lot of stuff, but I'm going to be a doctor!!!!

Verbal Exchanges, problem solving.


So, in my post a few minutes ago, I was bemoaning my lack of verbal problem solving techiques. I have only to cast my mind back to thismorning when I was conversing with a nurse on the phone. She was calling regarding a hemogram on patient X in PACU (post-op in other words). Here is a transcript of what I said, more or less.
Nurse: I'm calling about a hemogram on Mr. X, it was drawn about a half hour ago.
Me: (looking in computer for info on X's labs). Was it the one we drew at about 1211 ? (this exchange is occuring at 1240)
Nurse: NO, it was the one half an hour ago!
Me: (short puzzled silence, since there was no trace of sarcasm in her voice). Well, let's look at the hemogram from 1211.
Nurse: I want the results! All it shows in my computer is that the specimen is being processed!
Omnitient narrator: When LastWord, the nursing program for tracking and entering patient data, including labs, shows "in process", it means that the specimen is literally being tested at that very moment, and that nothing can accellerate the testing process. Once a hemogram is on the machine, no amount of righteous indignation will speed the test!
Me: ( looking directly at the results in the computer), Well, I'm showing that not only has the spec. been processed, but it's been resulted.
Nurse: (Fury with the insufferable puke at the other end of the line showing in every word), Well where do I look for results!!!!
Me: (trying to be diplomatic, but barely containing my mirth at her incompetance). I don't use LastWord, you might try looking where you would otherwise normally look for lab results. ( I said it this way because I was sure that this wasn't the first time she'd looked up a lab. It was quite a gamble, I know, but I thought it worth a try.)
Nurse: (looking at her computer presumably). Oh! there they are. thanks.
Me: You're welcome. Please, do me a favor and try to reign in the temptation to squawk angrily when you're in the wrong.

Status Report


Status Report:
New Rejections: McGill. Reaching a new low for rejection styles, McGill emailed me a pdf with a scanned copy of my rejection letter. I guess the international postage might place an onerous burden on the budget.

OHSU, I'm in a "hold" pool, which means that I'll be put on the waitlist in May.
UVM. Still on the "out of state" waitlist. Keeping the fingers crossed.

St Louis


SO, going to St Louis Feb 25. I'm currently cramming for the interview, trying to come up with better answers than I've previously given. One of the harder questions that's an interview fave is "What was your biggest challenge"?, another fave is "Name a time when you've used interpersonal skills to solve a problem." These are tough questions because any answer that i've thought about strikes me as fatuous or egotistical. Unless you've negotiated a treaty at the UN, or are particularly skilled at verbal name calling, I can't think of a single instance when i've solved a problem. That's not to say that i haven't, but sarcasm and understatement aren't exacly the types of skills they're looking for and I just can't remember a good example for a med school interview.

Meat me in St Louie, Louise


After submitting an application in mid-August, and having given up hope for an interview, St. Louis University invited me for an interview in February! Wahooo! the odds of going to medical school are increasing!!! Yehaww
Work has been about the same as ever, an endless stream of assinine questions and even worse mistakes to correct and sometims avert.

The Inexorable, Implacable Waitlist


Well folks, I recieved an update from UVM on Sunday that the adcom had reviewed my file and I would be notified regarding their decision soon. Monday morning I checked again, as I obsessively do, and I have been put on the waitlist at UVM. This isn't quite as cheering as an outright "Come to UVM!", but it's orders of magnitude better than "We don't want your kind here". So, now the long, impatient waiting game begins. The webpage says that the rankings on the waitlist will be posted on May 15. AUUUGH!!!! ME NO WAITEE! UVM only tells you which third of the waitlist you're on, top, middle or bottom. This is both a curse and a blessing. It does remove the dreaded "I'm 200th inline for a spot", but it also removes any knowledge that you might be picked first. At the moment, at least according to SDN (see my links), several instaters who were waitlisted on monday have already been accepted. Oh to be a vermonter. Presumably once the necessary quota of instaters has been acceptted, they will plumb the waitlist. THere are a few out of staters (OOS'ers to teh SDN initiates) who have been accepted already, so who knows. The scuttlebutt is that the waitlist is pretty dynamic and fast moving, unlike those at other schools. I wll keep you all posted of any and all developments that transpire.

Further Elucidation


So, perhaps I shall regale you with a more detailed account of my day at OHSU. The day began with a brief presentation about the curriculum from the assistant dean. In the interest of time, he kept his presentation to a minimum, deferring to us to ask questions to fuel the discussion. I think this was rather less effective as a presentation style. We asked a few questions, and I did learn that after the interview invite stage, in-state status plays no role in the admissions process. There was no presentation on financial aid, perhaps because OHSU has so little to offer in the way of assistance to students. At about 0900 we were dismissed. Since I had my first interview at 1100, I had about two hours to kill before go time. Two other students and I grabbed a bite in the cafeteria and made nervous applicant small talk. Both were Oregonians, so we chatted briefly about the climbers on Mt. Hood, and other tidbits from the news. We parted company and I wandered about the hospital and facilities, mapping out my route to the interview point. I sat twiddling my thumbs on the largest covered skybridge in North America until about 1030. In retrospect, I probably should have reviewed some of the things that I had written in my OHSU essay, but my fevered brain forgot. At about 1030, I navigated the labyrinthine VA hospital to the 4th floor where the Pulmonology department is. A man waiting for his dad to finish a procedure and I chatted briefly as we waited. At about 1055 I meandered into the proper hallway. Dr. H. and I then met. He was about 5'10'', blond, and safely ensconssed behind his desk. As I noted in my previous post, his first question to me was "where is your dad from". I stuttered that he was from upstate NY. Wouldn't you know it, but Dr. H was from Syracuse. I then backpedalled that he also grew up in Chicago. He asked me about my mom, her degrees, what my dad did, what my sister is up to, and other questions that were pretty much along the same vein. The conversation then shifted to my motivations for medicine, and I recounted the same stories that I had already shared in my personal statement for AMCAS. He askd me about times when I had had disagreements with my co-workes, and I told him about how I dealt with Elder Keyes,( not manslaughter, that was how I wanted to deal with him). We also chatted about what I expected from a career in medicine, what I thought would be hard, and what would be rewarding. I told him that I wanted to have a career where I could go home at night and say that someone was alive because I came to work. To this he replied "So you need other's validation. Are you insecure?" Umm, no. I just want a career with an intrinsic meaning. What other careers also fulfill this qualification? I replied that medical social work, physical therapy, nursing all fulfilled these requirements, but that none of the professions required the depth and breadth of knowledge required by medicine. I prefer the acuity of medicine and these allied health careers did not fulfill my expectations. I think my answer mollified him somewhat, though he was pretty hard to read. My voice was tired after about 30 minutes of talking, but we still had another half hour to go before the end of the ordeal. At the end of the interview, he asked if I had any questions, and I asked if, during the rural medicine rotation, I had to leave my family behind for the duration of my rotation. He didn't know, which was moderately frustrating since implicit in his question to me was that he would be able to answer my questions in return. I got my answer at lunch anyway. At the end of the interview he told me that his goal wasn't to make [...]

OHSU = not fun


WEll folks, the day at OHSU was thoroughly ugly and distasteful. It began with a rush-hour panic on the way to the OHSU campus becasue I thought I wouldn't get there on time, but would get stuck in Wilsonville on I-5. To be brief, the interviews did not go well. My first interviewer grilled me more or less conversationally for an hour. My first gaffe was in response to the very first question- 'where is my dad from', to which i erroneously answered upstate new york, then changed my mind to Chicago. great. He asked, "that's kind of important to know, isn't it". Is it? I don't think so. Since my dad and I don't converse regularly, it's hardly surprising that I don't know where he was born. the rest of the day went downhill.

The Balance of Rejection


Well I have another rejection to add to the growing list. Thursday Dartmouth rejected me without an interview. But I wrote such a wonderful review in this Blog! Oh well. To counteract the rejection, OHSU asked me to interview with them next month. YEHAWW. That's great, and it means I'd better start brushing up on my health care policy and other interview topics.



So, it has been brought to my attention by a loyal reader that the bulk of my blog is made up of rants about incompetant nurses. I have vowed to change in the past, but sometimes the circumstances force me to recant. I shall henceforth attempt to balance every humorous anecdote about a bumbling co-worker with a heartwarming tale of medical tenderness.
In the interest of ceasing my meta-blogging, I will return to the original premise of this blog, my premed life. I urge you all to use to follow how my application process is going, my profile is pretty easily found using the search functions. For those who are too lazy to do so, here is the process as it now stands:

University of Vermont

George Washington (snail mail 11/20)
Northwestern University Feinberg SOM
Indiana University
Boston University

Albany Medical College

Remaining applications:
Loma Linda
Dartmouth (C'mon Dirtmouth!!)
St. Louis U
Penn State
Rush University
Medical College of Wisconsin

Of those applications still outstanding, I expect interviews at OHSU and hope for one at Loma Linda and McGill. Of course any of the remaining schools would be great as well, but I think realistically those are my best options.

The Jerk Nurse


So, I won't name names, but Nurse M. from PCU is a schmuck! I can't stand this woman! She embodies incompetence! She was rude and inconsiderate both to me, her coworker and to the patient. I ask you this. After a patient finishes puking up his guts into an emesis basin, do you think he wants to think about eating more? No. Why offer him something? Perhaps he absolutely needed to have something in his stomach, and I don't know those mitigating circumstances. I've had run-ins with M before. She tried to do capillary blood glucose test from a patient's earlobe. Ok, but the protocols explicitly state that under NO circumstances is this to be done! Finger ONLY! Since the earlobe wasn't working, where should you turn to get blood. From the fingertip like you should? NO!, but from the forearm! Yes, there are plenty of veins and arteries in the arm. This, however, is a CBG, to be done from capillary blood. The moron tried 3 more times, and undoubtedly the 1 mm lancet barely pierced the dead skin on the guy's arm. Since she struck out, she finally resorted to following procedure, and what do you know? She got blood! WOW! Can you imagine? If you do something the way you should, it should turn out the way it should!



So it's been a long time since I've updated the ol' blog. Faithful readers, I HAVE AN INTERVIEW!! On nov. 28, I have an interview at University of Vermont! I'm flying out Nov 27, back home by midnight 28. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sprint finish


WEll i'm finally puttin' the boogie on my apps. For two weeks I've had Loma Linda, Louisville, Georgetown, OHSU and McGill waiting to be finished and submitted. I finally just submitted Louisville. I don't really think they'll like me too much since I'm not a poor apalachian hick( they asked a lot of questions about underserved status, how big my hometown was, how much education my parents have, how much money they make, did I put myself through college etc.). I finally declared Loma Linda done today as well and submitted their app. I think I'm not going to finish applying to GT since they want a one page essay detailing why I want to go there. Since I can't think of any compelling reasons, and their curriculum is pretty non-descript, I think I'l forgo the $130 donation and apply elsewhere. It's not that I can't write an essay, It's just that I don't want it badly enough that the essay I write will get me in. Auugh. I'm just muddling things now. I just finished McGill's online portion, but there is A LOT of paperwork that I have to send in also. They want my AP, IB, SAT (who cares? i finished my undergrad! this stuff is OLD NEWS), plus some forms to go with my letters of rec. Gotta run

The Perforated Testicle


Yes, it is time for Dr. Fingerbottom's ramblings. He has changed his name, due to a syndicated column published by Aaron Tabacco who pioneered the Dr. Longfinger's name. In the interest of avoiding a copyright infringement suite, my sarcastic doctor is now Dr. Fingerbottom, Dr. Longfinger's partner (in a professional relationship).
As I was fixin' to leave work today, a histology tech grabbed my coworker and me and said "you gotta see this!". Curious, we trotted over to histology lab. The tech, we shall call him "Pooch", because I misheard his name and that's what it sounded like, showed as a small recepticle with 5 small pins in it. They looked about like those pins that hold your watchband to the watch. "Where do you think these came from ?" he asked. Umm, I give, where? "A man's testicle", he deadpanned. This begs the question: 'what was he doing? " He supposedly hopped into bed, where some pins were hidden in the sheets", Pooch answered. If you believe that, I have some clichés to tell you about real estate in florida and bridges which are for sale.
the moral of the story: If you're going to pierce your testicles, please, please, please, use a needle that's long enough to come out the other side. If you don't, I hope you're smart enough to realize that after the first one doesn't go all the way through, you don't have to try four others of identical lengt to achieve the same result.

Latin disclaimer: Caveat Lector: I am suspicious of this type of injury. The man's story could be entirely plausible. He might have mistakenly placed his pincushion in the bed, while performing some minor surgery on his favorite french-cuffed dress shirt. After succesfully repairing the beloved clothing, he was exulting at the prospect of donning the garment for tomorrow's gainful employement. He gleefully hopped into bed, so as to hasten the approaching dawn. To his ghastlly surprise, there was the pincushion, which, to his horror bit him in the You Know What. He must have rushed down to the ER, had the Pins of Inadvertant Perforation (PIP's to those in the medical field) removed and gone to work in the newly refurbished oxford cloth dress shirt.

More latin: Arma Virumque Cano, or " I sing of the man who might have pierced his testicles by accident, but who probably did not"

Still more latin: Yo No Soy Marinero, Soy Capitan, Soy Capitan. Or " Et tu Brutus, alla gallia in tres partitas divisa est" which, to those of us in english means "Brutus, where can I get some good cheap lares and penates for my penthouse domus?

The Stim Test


Lest, by some slight of fate, I have actually accrued an interested and critical readership to my ramblings, (*shameless trolling for comments!*), and said readers are nurses, let me remind you, that, in general, I hold nurses in the highest regards. WITH A FEW MORONIC EXCECPTIONS. SO, here we go, I will regale you with yet another tale of blundering idiocy on the hospital floor. 'Twas brillig, and the slithey toves, did gyre and gimble in the wabe. All ... No, no, that's all wrong. That was how I slew the Jabberwocky. Beware of the JubJub bird and Shun the Frumious Bandersnatch was the moral of that tale. Ahh yes. Wednesday morning, 'twas canvas time on a darkened 3 main. I was pushing my wobbly cart through the corridors, on my way to the next patient. It was a cortisol stim test. For the uninitiated, who have not yet been shaved and forced to prance around San Diego (another story for another time), I shall succinctly explain the cortisol stim test. Basically, the doc wants to know how the patient responds to teh presence of teh hormone cortisol. The lab draws a baseline leve, the nurse injects IV ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), we come back to draw EXACTLY 30 minutes later, and again 1 hour after the baseline was drawn. Not rocket science. The toughest part actually, is to get there on time. Before I drew the baseline, I checked with the nurse that we were in fact doing a stim test and not a simple cort level becasue I didn't have the orders which would have indicated a stim test. She said, 'yes, we are doing a stim test'. I asked "do you have the injection ready for when I'm done (slight cockiness that I would in fact get the patient)". OK. "I'll inject it a half hour from now". NO. I don't htink that's how this usually works, shielding myself from some possible exception. "Let's see what the chart says, she suggested". Flipping through the pages, we found a blurry flowchart from pharmacy, detailing the exact protocol for stimtests which I outlined previously. Turning some more pages to make sure the doctor didn't order some exotic exception, we found the written order "perform ACTH stimulation test, per pharmacy protocol" In other words, do exactly as I have already said. I thought that three explanations were sufficient. "I'm going to draw the patient" I said. Ok, she replied, when you're done, I'll give the injection. GOOD, i thought, now we're getting somewhere. As I left the room, baseline blood in hand, she said, "see you in a half hour", which, to me, meant that she was now going to give the injection and we would proceed as planned. I continued my merry way. Since the lab called me away to another floor in the meantime, I knew someone else was going to finish the stim test. Once I got to the lab, however, word came back that the dolt nurse had waited the half hour she had promised to, even after going through the procedure in excruciating detail. SO, the whole thing had to start again, since the baseline I had drawn was worthless. WHAT THE CRAP DO YOU LEARN IN SCHOOL? I MEAN COME ON!!!!! We read the orders from pharmacy. We read the docs orders. I explained how it works. All of this took place in less than 5 minutes. Yet, within 7 minutes, she had somehow learned A TOTALLY NEW PROTOCOL and ruined what work I had done. AUUUUGHHH. I swear, if I"m ever an elected official, I will see to it that all correspondance schoools that offer "nursing degrees online" are disavowed and de-credentialled.[...]

I hate corporate english


So, this is a direct quote from teh Temple University SOM website regarding the Geisinger Hospital satelite campus for medical education:

"The program enters students into the new paradigm of patient-centered care, an information environment that provides high-exposure, transparent outcomes data on quality and cost, and a consumer/regulatory base that is demanding this information. "

KEEP THE CORPORATE CONSULTANTS AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT NORMAL PEOPLE MUST READ. I think when people get their MBA's they are issued a 20 sided die with words like "paradigm", "transparent", "outcomes-based", "customer oriented", "impact (as a verb)" which they employ more or less randomly with prose that reads like the tripe above.

Forms = Great. Essays = Not Great


I'm filling out secondaries, and I've decided that the best ones are the forms that consist of questions like "have you ever attended University X?" ,"Have any of your family members?" "are you a convicted felon?" " Can you send us $80?"
Thank you and have a nice day!
Much better than " tell us something you think we should know in 500 letters or less (yes, letters, not words)"
Penn State
St. Louis U
Medical College of Wisc

Dirt Mouth is Heav-ON


So I've been "working" on my Dartmouth medical school app and they have these cool little video clips. They make a rather persuasive case for going to live in New England. Now, all I have to do is get in and I'll be fine.