Playing dress-up

Me, wearing moulage

On Friday, I volunteered to be a moulage participant for an Advanced Trauma Life Support course being offered for doctors at my medical school’s affiliated hospital. Essentially, I was was made up to look like a trauma victim so that the people in the course could run through what they would need to do based on the injuries I had.

I played a 22-year-old female who was in a head-on collision car accident who was ejected through the windshield on impact. I was supposed to have sustained a tibia/fibula fracture in my left leg, several pelvic fractures, and a few broken ribs, and a great deal of abdominal bruising (with possible internal bleeding?). I was also supposed to have a tension pneumothorax, be extremely anxious and belligerent/combative, and smell of alcohol.

To be honest, I was really hoping that I would be in a coma or something so that I could just go to sleep (I was tired… you can’t blame me), but it was actually rather fun to yell at the doctors and scream that I’m going to die. It was hard to pretend that I was in severe respiratory distress, though– my respiration rate was supposed to be 50 breaths/minute (and I obviously couldn’t breathe anywhere near that fast). The fast and shallow breaths really got tiring after a while.

Apparently the make-up was very convincing, because I had a few concerned people come up to me and ask about it afterwards– it was pretty awkward getting home, since I didn’t get a chance to clean up.

“Humanism” and “professionalism” in medicine

I just finished my first set of exams for the year, so naturally, I’m slacking off to wax philosophical about my existence in general and my life as a medical student in particular.

“Humanism in medicine” or “humanistic medicine” has become a bit of a buzz phrase in medical education. Likewise, “professionalism” is a word that gets thrown around a lot, at least at my school, in reference to everything from lecture attendance to dress codes. As medical students, we’re expected to speak the appropriate language, to behave in the appropriate way and, above all else, to think the appropriate thoughts: the obese patient isn’t just fat and lazy, but the victim of poor education or cultural priorities. Likewise, the rude patient is more than just a simple jerk. They try very hard to make us empathetic, respectful, patient, considerate, and all manner of other wonderful things that you could hope for your doctor to be. That’s one hell of a lofty goal, and I can’t say that I’m not just the tiniest bit intimidated.

As much as I’d like to think of myself as a somewhat mature person, the truth is that I’m the kind of person that enjoys internet drama, that has trouble getting out of bed before the clock strikes noon, and that gets excited at the prospect of shoving sweets in my mouth. I’ve spent my entire life to date in the ivory tower that is academia and so, have no idea how real people actually live their lives. To think that in one more year, I’ll actually be on the wards in my white coat– it’s a bit of a terrifying thought.

The first day…

So… today was the first day of my second year of medical school, and though I would have been happy to let it pass without comment, I ultimately decided that it would be nice to post about the goings-on in my life every once a while. For being the beginning of my last year of classroom-style education, it was surprisingly same-old-same-old, though I do have a few changes from last year to note:

  • I’ve moved. Luke and I moved to a new apartment about a month ago. Now, rather than taking the bus as I had done before, I’m a 15-minute walk from campus. The upside is that I’m no longer bound to the sometimes-reliable but always-inconvenient bus schedule; the downside is that I’m actually responsible for when I get to school… which means I no longer arrive 10 minutes early. This means I no longer have my pick of seating, a condition which is made worse by the fact that…

  • The auditorium is smaller. This new auditorium is nicer than our old one, but I liked having 2-3 seats to myself, dammit!

  • I have a new backpack. A sexy Swissgear backpack with a cell phone holder on the strap. …did I mention the cell phone holder?

When MySpace.com was a storage site

Does anyone remember when MySpace.com was a internet storage site? I’ve brought this up in nearly every conversation I’ve ever had regarding this present-day-social-networking-cesspool, usually to an audience of “you must be crazy” stares. Apparently I’m the only one that remembers. I was starting to doubt myself, actually, until it occurred to me search the Way Back Machine, and voila! Proof once and for all! That screenshot you see is from around the year 2000, when MySpace was offering 300mb of internet storage with each free account.

Actually, I came across MySpace.com when I was in middle school. It was, sadly enough, one of the only methods available for sharing large media files (and “large” meant something like 300-500mb). Anything larger than 300mb would be split up using a program like WinRAR and uploaded to multiple MySpace accounts, to be joined after downloading. Oh, how far the Internet has come.

Why I could never design for a living

A few weeks ago, I was tasked to work on a much-need website redesign for Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic. The Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic (an enormously long name that’s difficult to fit on a header), by the way, is a free clinic that the medical students at my school help run, for which I’ll be serving as Outreach Coordinator during the upcoming academic year. To be perfectly honest, I volunteered for the job after seeing (and cringing at) that splendidly green and Dreamweaver-templated current layout. I wanted to show off my design skills, even.

Well… I’ve been stalling. For no other apparent reason than two small facts: that it has to look professional, and that I actually have to do it. I have a deadline, too. I have to finish it before the end of summer– I assume that means August 16th, the first day of classes. It’s plenty of time, I tell myself, as I surf the internet aimlessly in boredom.

It’s odd, really. I’ve always been a procrastinator, but procrastination is a thing reserved for such painful-but-necessary endeavors as studying for that upcoming test or making a follow-up phone call to that less-than-cooperative patient. This is webdesign we’re talking about– a passion to which I’ve probably devoted thousands of hours over the last 10 or so years for the sheer joy of it. Apparently, I don’t do well when I actually need to design.

Here’s what I have so far:

Comments and critiques are welcome. I tried very hard to keep things conservative– it’s not something I’m used to and I’m not sure how I did on that front. I still need to figure out what to do with the navigation. And code it. And hope that someone (who hopefully won’t be me) puts together the content. …good luck to me?