Red Tape

Next month, I’ll be doing my sub-internship at a veteran’s hospital near my home school. A sub-internship is supposed to be a capstone to medical school, a chance to behave “like the intern” in preparation for the actual ass-clenching panic of actually being an intern.

(It also means that I will be writing much, much less, which is probably a welcome respite for those of you not named Grandma.)

The VA, as it affectionately and simultaneously-not-affectionately known, is one of my favorite places in the medical universe. Continue reading

Tail of the Trail

I have three interviews left before I have only to sit down in an echo chamber and perform the mental equivalent of processing pasta dough – taking all the raw information and feelings from the last two months and distilling them down into a rank list.

It’s amusing, really, to think back on how things have changed since the September days of waiting anxiously by the computer for an interview to come in. This pregnant waiting period was only interrupted when disappointed by yet another CALL TO ACTION!, or alert about a very important lecture series where there will be FREE PIZZA if you will just RSVP, but that’s neither here nor there. Continue reading

How The Match Works

As I wrote in PANIC! At the ERAS, the final step in obtaining a spot in a residency program is the Match. Like I mentioned, after all the interviews everyone’s preferences – and the preferences of all of the programs – go into a big computer and get processed through some algorithm, which somehow pops out a “best match.” This process is administered by one central service, called the National Resident Matching Program, or NRMP, so they control everything from start to finish. Continue reading

Tox ‘O Clock: Carbon Monoxide

Happy holidays, everyone! This is your friendly toxicological reminder to not do stupid things like use propane heaters indoors, grill inside, or leave your oven range on for extended hours at a time. Why, might you ask, is this a bad idea?

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The answer is the subject of today’s Tox ‘O Clock discussion: carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning! We are talking about this for two reasons: first, because a spike in poisonings from this – because it’s cold, and families are together – is as predictable around the holidays as incessant Christmas music at the mall, jokes about me being a Grinch, and my people going to the movies and eating Chinese food on Christmas day itself. Continue reading

Tox ‘O Clock: Aspirin, or rather “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell”

Pop quiz! What’s small, white, really useful in helping prevent heart attacks, and absolutely murders the hell out of you if you overdose on it?

If you said aspirin, congratulations!* You earned the right to muddle your way through why. This will be long, so get yourself a glass of wine and some Oreos or something and settle in.

*If you said cocaine, okay, you’re right too, you narc. I gave you the answer in the title. Continue reading

Tox ‘O Clock: Carbon Tablets

So I have pretty much nothing to write about now, as I’m in a lull between (mostly) the end of interviews and having to make my rank list. I spend my free time, which usually ranges between 20 and 23 hours a day, contemplating my existence in the various cities where I’ve interviewed and pretending the horrifyingly high-stakes reality of creating a match list isn’t around the corner. Continue reading

Are We There Yet?

Am I still a medical student? I am legitimately no longer sure.

In the last four weeks, I’ve flown to five different cities, taken a two-week family vacation to Japan, stayed in enough hotel rooms to bankrupt a minor consulting firm, and worn a suit enough to notice that I am clearly fatter than when I had it first tailored in 2012. Continue reading