i totally paused

July 30, 2004

i think that my driving has improved greatly since college.  back then, as many people love to remind me, i was absolutely horrendous.  the problem was that i got my driver’s license in may of 1998, and promptly went to college with barely any driving experience.  this means that when i got my car in 2002, i was like a 16 year old driver, except that i was 22, so people were less forgiving.  furthermore, being as uncoordinated as i am (see previous entries) and with the worst sense of direction ever, it was just bad.  the highlight was probably nearly hitting a truck head-on in rural vermont on the way to the airport for a medical school interview.  fortunately, since i am obsessive about leaving (too) early for the airport, i still made my flight, though my car ended up having $6000 of damage. 

i think i’ve gotten a lot better at driving since moving down to durham and actually practicing this skill on a regular basis.  even josh says i’ve improved.  but i realized today that when i’m in a new place where i don’t know my way around, i revert back to my old ways.  today i almost ran a red light and then realized what was about to happen and SLAMMED on the breaks, screeching to a halt in the middle of the intersection.  i sheepishly backed up and the guy next to me just looked amazed at my stupidity.  i deserved that look, i know.  i’m going to try to be better.

other than that, today was not all that exciting.  most of my patients had URIs or were there for well checkups.  2 had pinkeye.  one had a mysterious rash.  the last patient today was a 3 year old with reactive airway disease who had problems with wheezing every time he got a URI.  when i examined him, he looked ok.  he was kind of irritable, but active, shrieking at the top of his lungs every time i tried to look in his ears.  i heard wheezes in his lungs, but he didn’t appear to be in distress.  so, i finish examining him and wait for my preceptor to finish with another patients so that i can present this kid to her. 

20 minutes later, she finally emerges.  as usual, i feel like she’s half-listening to me as i tell her about the child.  i mentioned that i heard wheezes, but that he didn’t look too terrible.

the following helps illustrate why i hate being a medical student.

when we opened the door, he looked like a different kid.  he was slumped over sort of sleeping in his mother’s arms, loudly wheezing and clearly having difficulty breathing.  i stuttered something like “he didn’t look like that before,” but i don’t even think i was even heard.  my preceptor was running for the nebulizer and looking at me like, “how could you have left this wheezing child alone like this, you negligent idiot?”  she said to the mother: “if i had known he was wheezing, i would have been in here sooner!”

he was much better after the albuterol, looking much like he did when i saw him.  i know it shouldn’t matter, but scenes like this are just pretty painful for me.   i don’t blame her for thinking, “oh, man, the dumb inexperienced medical student. can’t trust her to do anything. sigh.”  seeing the scene out of her eyes, i might have instinctively thought the same thing.  but from this end, it hurts.  i know i shouldn’t let these things get to me, but i’m not the most thick-skinned of people (understatement of the day).

after that incident, i went to the gym and then home.  i’m in a bad mood.  tomorrow i get to go back to durham, my real home.  i truly cannot wait.

ps: aimee, i know it is your birthday!  i tried to call but i don’t know your # (i called 2 wrong ones, though, that were in my cell phone).  we will have a mega-celebration in august.

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