Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome to the Research Years

Second year is officially over... Since you all last heard from me (too long ago) I have completed my second go around at pediatric surgery, trauma, and finished off the year with general surgery. The end of the year was busy, but very good.

Someone told me earlier in the year that by the end of second year you really start hitting your groove, and I couldn't agree more. That was until one night on trauma call. While standing in the trauma resuscitation bay, waiting for an incoming trauma, my abdomen started feeling funny. The trauma patient arrived and we got through the initial evaluation and starting getting x-rays when I started feeling even worse. Like, had to leave the trauma and coupled over a railing in pain. And then I got really nauseated and ended up vomiting. I laid down in the second shock trauma room until I was steady on my feet and then headed back into the trauma ER to finish call and my mock orals (i.e. mock exams for the oral board examination).

I was fine until the next day it started all over while I was in clinic. I ended up as a patient in my on ER. A couple hours later I walked out with the diagnosis of biliary colic. The problem was then trying to schedule my own laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and as any surgery resident can attest, our schedule is hard to add any days off into. I had a week of vacation, but no OR availability with the surgeon doing the case... So like a good patient, I put it off, until the 1st of the academic year (or rather the 2nd).

For vacation, mom and I headed even further south, down to the gulf coast and had a fabulous 3 days of sun and beach and pools. And then we headed back for the rest of the week. The week ended with surgery prom, and all the amazing chiefs from last year graduating.

Then on July 2nd I had my own lap chole. The last thing I remember was saying something about feeling the versed kicking in, and then the next thing I knew I was waking up in the PACU sans gallbladder. My gallbladder was apparently acutely and chronically pissed off, resulting in some difficult dissection. My surgery last about 2 1/2 hours, when a normal lap chole is 1 to 1 1/2 hours. But, thankfully, my surgeon did not convert to an open procedure, which would have bought me a week long hospital stay. I went home that day and slept on and off for the next day or two. But by the end of the week I was up walking around, albeit, a little slower than usual.

Then on Monday of this week started the second chapter of my surgery residency. A surgery residency is usually 5 years, with the first 2 years as a junior level resident and that second 3 years as a senior level resident. But seeing as I want to do pediatric surgery, I am taking an addition 2 years to do clinical research and to get a master's of epidemiology (which starts next month); so I have a 2-2-3 pattern instead of the traditional 2-3.

Can I just say, I now understand how people have time to read or work out in the mornings? I had no idea what it was like to work an 8-5 job. Now, don't get be wrong, it's not like I haven't had jobs before. My parent's were firm believers of having an after school job in high school, and I continued to have a part time job throughout college. And after that I worked as a biology teacher in Thailand (see:, but that was different than a standard 8-5 desk job.

It has been wonderful to be able to wake up in the mornings, actually have time to drink my coffee and read my Bible, and be able to take my pupster out for some play time. And today, for the first time since surgery, I went to work out after work... And I still got home by 6:15pm! Miraculous things, people, miraculous things.

All that being said, I am still taking pediatric surgery call (had one on Tuesday, in fact). And starting in mid-August I'll be adding on the master's program and it's associated homework. But it's been wonderful.

The research itself is coming along. I have about 3-4 projects starting up, all clinical research. One proposal is almost ready (fingers crossed) for an IRB submission. Two of them are well into the literature review (one of which I've started the proposal on). It's been a productive week; I'm really excited for the coming years.

So that's where I am right now... Excited and ready for the new adventure of research.


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  2. You sound like a very nice person. Don't lose that. Surgery at the Med turns many into unhappy a$$holes. Don't become that type of attending. Teach what you know. Progress the field. Make your residents better. Don't tear them down for kick and giggles.

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