RSS Feed

Countdown to Step 2 CK!

Posted on

I take part 1 of the USMLE Step 2 on Thursday and I cannot wait.  I am not excited about the prospect of taking a 9 HOUR exam (the thought only makes me want to cry) but at the thought of being done with the 2 major exam of my medical school career (I’ll still have Step 2 CS to take but I feel that it is not nearly as scary/frustrating as Step 1 and Step 2 CK).

So, here I am, 3 days left and then I’m done with multiple choice exams for the rest of medical school.  Cannot wait!

Your Days Are Numbered

Posted on

I hate to admit it but Kaylé is spoiled.  This is not [entirely] my fault.  Since we live with so many other people, sometimes, their rules (or lack their of) appear to be a better option than any rules I set forth.  I often find myself wondering how my mother and grandparents successfully raised children because Kaylé gets away with so much more than my brother and I (and my mother and her brothers) ever did.  Lucky girl!

I do  play a role in some of this <clearing of throat>.  For instance, Kaylé’s bedtime rivals those of most adults.  This is my own fault.  We share a room and I would often interrupt her sleep with lights and noise as I was still awake trying to prepare for the next day of class.

As I approach Med School Heaven (i.e. fourth year of med school), I look forward to not having to study for an exam, not having to be out in order to get work done, and being able to spend some real quality time with Kaylé.  I also look forward to breaking some of those bad habits that have formed over the past 2-3 years.  Whenever I catch Kaylé performing one of those I habits, I gently remind her, “Your days are numbered.”

She is greatly displeased in hearing this.  I think she believes that I will be ushering some sort of dooms day for her. Saying this usually results in crying and pleading for me to not “number her days.”   She may will not understand what I am doing or why and she definitely will not appreciate the process but we will all be better off.

As parents, we should be constantly vigilant as to what is going on with our children, noticing the things we like and dislike.  For those things we dislike, we should have a plan to address them before they get out of hand (or to a point where we can no longer effect change).  I can remember plenty of times my mother did this with me and I hated it.  Looking back now, however, I know it was for my good.  Hopefully, Kaylé will see this the same way as well.

Psychiatry Rotation – Day 1

Posted on

I would be lying if I said I was excited about this clerkship.  I mean, there’s a reason I put it at the end (no call, light hours).  Psychiatry was one specialty I knew even before beginning medical school that I did not want to do.  My mother is a psychologist so I had seen and heard enough to make that decision. However, as I watched my attending interview patients (and their parents in the case of the children), I found a new appreciation for the specialty and for my role as a parent of a healthy child.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little about some frustration I was having with Kayle and how I had to remind myself that she’s just a toddler.  As I watched parents express their frustrations with the behavior of their children, I was even more thankful for what I have.

The first child I saw today has Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) for which the current medication is not working very well. The child was very sweet but could not sit still.  She fidgeted and was in and out of her seat, she wanted to leave the room a number of times to go to the scale and weigh herself, she asked my colleague and myself our names 3 times each, and she pointed out all the things she liked about the 2 of us (hair, clothes, shoes – my kind of girl!).  It was nice to see that despite all of this, she appeared to have a good relationship with her mother.  The mother included her in the interview, and even when she did things that may not have been appropriate, her mother took it all in stride.

In contrast, I saw another child with autism whose parents were having a very difficult time with him due to his aggressive behavior. I could tell that his parents loved him very much as they were working very hard to get him all the services that he needed but they were obviously quite frustrated and reaching the end of their rope.  I’m sure the fact that he has severe intellectual disabilities and poor speaking abilities makes it difficult for them to connect with him in the same manner in which the previous mother and child do.

Children are very demanding which adds to both the joys and pains of parenthood.  Everyday I’m thankful for the health of my child, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I’m glad that I can have a good relationship with her and communicate effectively with her.  I also tip my hat to the parent’s and families of children with intellectual disabilities.  Today served as only a small glimpse into a tiny part of their lives and I appreciate their openness and willingness to share that with me.  I definitely have a new appreciation for where I am in life.

And today was only day 1!

I spend tomorrow and next week in outpatient psychiatry, then I move onto inpatient psychiatry for the remainder of the clerkship.  I’m actually quite excited and looking forward to learning more about mental health issues as I continue on for the next 5 weeks.

Psychiatry isn’t too bad after all!

Help Me, Please

Posted on

Kaylé  gets frustrated pretty easily.  I could be sitting right next to her and she would rather remain in battle with whatever her opponent happens to be at that moment (a toy, a book, a piece of clothing, the computer, her tablet)  than ask for my help.  I find myself having to remind her that if she’s having trouble with something, just ask someone for help.

I’m no good at this either – asking for help.  I don’t know what it is but I always feel like I have to do everything on my own.  Maybe it’s the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a daunting task by myself or the fear of feeling inadequate if I find myself in need of assistance.  One of the biggest lessons I’ll take away from medical school is that asking for help is not only OK, but encouraged (in most circumstances).

Looking back over the last 3-4 years of my life, I can find countless moments where if I had only asked for help, or asked for help sooner, things would have been much better.  For instance, I’m not the best exam taker.  Don’t get me wrong, I know my stuff.  It just, when I sit for an exam, it takes me a while to get into the groove of things.  Plus, I’m no good at guessing correctly and I never go with my gut (which is usually correct).  Needless to say, I discovered earlier this year that I have a bit of test taking anxiety.  Unfortunately, this was discovered a few weeks before my second to last shelf exam (the exams we take during third year) and second to last exam of medical school (not counting the boards).  I made some changes for those last 2 exams which definitely helped (moved my seat to a quite, less distracting corner; put in some ear plugs).  If only I had sought help sooner, I may have been able to make some more helpful changes.  Can’t cry over spilled milk (or so they say).

OK, so the more I think about it, the more I sound like a control freak.  And maybe this is what it boils down to in the end – a need for control.  Regardless, this is something I recognized in myself a long time ago and am still working on.

So today, I heard Kaylé scream in frustration trying to pull out a piece of play food that had gotten stuck in her doll house’s refrigerator.  As usual, I remind her that instead of getting frustrated, just ask me for help.  I had to smile to myself as I said this because I know exactly where she gets it from.

Closing Time

Posted on

I don’t know what it is but my days just seem to go on forever and if I’m not careful, one day just rolls into the next without a pause.  In the past few weeks, however, it seems to have gotten worse.  I just don’t know where the time goes.  For example, it is now 1:05 am as I am writing this post.  I just got off the phone with the Cuc since we hadn’t really had a chance to talk today (and I’m suffering from a bit of stressed induced insomnia with my boards coming up and everything so sleep has been escaping me as well).

Ever since I donated my life to medicine, I seem to have lost track of time in general (even more so since I’ve begun my clinical rotations).  I don’t even know what day of the week it is most days.  I don’t watch television.  My sole purpose for the internet is to study, check e-mails, and live vicariously through the lives of non-medical school friends via Facebook (I don’t really like that last part so I usually just stick to whatever silly post my med school friends have put up – no need to remind myself of the life I’m not living).

Essentially, I live in a medical school time warp.  So by the time I’ve accomplished what I can for the day, it’s late (usually no later than midnight).  Not healthy at all, especially since this usually means not getting any more than 6 hours of sleep (if I’m lucky – during my trauma surgery rotation I was running on about 3-4 hours per night).

I’ve decided that something drastic needs to occur so that I get some semblance of normalcy back to my life.  Obviously, not sleeping is no bueno (insert here the tons of studies discussing the side effects of not getting enough sleep).   Beginning after my board exam in 3 days (eek!), I am instituting a Closing Time at 9 pm where everything shuts down no matter what.  No computer, no TV, no phone, no eating (why not cut out the late night snacking while I’m at it), nothing.

While this may seem a bit much, I truly feel like this is the only way to institute some sort of change in this case.  And let’s be honest, there aren’t many things going on at this time of night that’s gonna need your immediate attention anyway.  I’ll use the time to do something else such as reading (a paperback book) or doing a puzzle in order to wind down before bed.

I’ll let you know how it goes after the first week.  Hopefully doing this will help me regain some lost time and maintain my sanity.

She’s Still Only 4

Posted on

Last  night, Kayle did not want to go to sleep.  She tried every excuse in the book – “I’m hungry!”  “I’m scared!”  “I have to change my night-time CD.” “I have to say good night to Mama” (again, for the 10th time).  She got out of bed at least 3 times.  She turned the lights on, grabbed her stuffed animals (one which became a night cap), and roamed the hall.  I tied talking some sense into her.  “You need to go to sleep to grow big and strong.”  “It’s late and everyone else is already sleeping.”  “You’re a big girl and can sleep in your own bed.”  “You sleep in your bed by yourself all the time.”

No luck!

Finally, I had had enough.  I remembered an episode of Supernanny I had watched years ago where the child did not want to sleep in her own bed.  Supernanny instructed the mother to put her in her bed and tell her goodnight.  When she gets out of bed the second time, put her back and tell her goodnight.  Each time after that, no speaking.  Just put her in her bed.  So, I took Kayle’s hand and walked her to her bed, laid her down, and said good night.  Discussion over.

She laid there and cried and cried.   She yelled for me and my mother.  She said she was scared (although her night-light was on).  She said she was lonely.  And finally, she just cried.  30 minutes later, she was finally asleep and never got out of bed again.

I get frustrated when she doesn’t do what I want.  Why can’t she just go to sleep?  Why can’t she not scream all the time?  Why doesn’t she just listen to reason.  I often forget the most important thing – she’s only four.  Toddlers, don’t always listen.  They often try to do what they want.  They get cranky when they’re tired.  They just aren’t old enough to get it.

When you have a conversation with a child and they use words “petrifying” or asks questions like what’s a ureter, it’s easy to forget that.  We often joke at home that I gave birth to a 5 year old.  It’s in those moments when she gives trouble that I’m reminded of the fact the she is a very young child and I have to take a step back and treat her accordingly. When I’m able to do this, I’m less frustrated.

I guess the lesson here is to be more aware of how I treat Kayle, always keeping in mind that while she may be 4 going on 15, she is still only 4.

 

How do you deal with your children when you find yourself in those frustrating moments?

Mother’s Day Turns 100!

Posted on

Happy Mother’s Day!  And it’s a very special one too since the holiday turns 100.

Here are some quick Mother’s Day facts (you can read a full article on the history here):

  • The holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 following the death of her mother.  She wanted the holiday to serve as a way to celebrate mothers and all that they do.
  • The first Mother’s Day celebration was held at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia.
  • Jarvis started a letter writing campaign to make Mother’s Day a national holiday and it finally became one in 1914 under President Woodrow Wilson.
  • By 1920, Jarvis was disillusioned by the turn the holiday had taken.  She did not like the commercialization of the holiday by card companies and floral companies and actually lobbied to have the holiday removed from the national calendar.

Whether the holiday was 10 years old or 500 years old, it was still a great one for me.  Luckily I was able to spend the day at home with my mother and with Kayle.  Although I was studying for Step 1, it was still nice to spend some time with family (especially since I’ve been away for 2-3 weeks).  I got some lovely homemade gifts, a card, and a Disney princesses tissue box to keep in the car!

Mother's Day Gifts

It was the best Mother’s Day ever!

How’d you spend you Mother’s Day?

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: