Didactic Year

One post to encompass an entire year?  Pretty much, yes.  Because this year was exhausting, exciting, interesting, overwhelming, and stressful at all times.  Information flies at insane speeds into your brain, and in most cases...right out again.  PA schools seem to know that it's important to lay a foundation, then when students start seeing patients, the conditions will be reiterated and solidified.  So far, that's working, but I still worry that I won't remember the right thing at the right time.  That, and there are literal books filled with the things I don't know yet.
But...didactic year is over!  "The hard part" is over!  In ways I miss it.  I miss seeing everyone every day, and now we only see each other as a class once every six weeks. I do not miss the constant fear, looming tests, and constantly feeling behind.  Wait...constantly feeling behind is still there, but at least I can study whatever I want to catch up.  Silver linings?
I started this post several months ago and I have a slightly different take now.  Half way through clinical year and I miss didactic for a different reason...accountability.  Sure we take tests when we're back on campus, had to make a study plan, and have all subscribed to one study aid app or another, but what is missing is the constant accountability.
I have always said I hated online classes because I am not good at staying on top of things if no one tells me to.  I am right there, right now.  I would happily come home from clinical and do nothing (and have on a number of occasions).  I am struggling now with motivation, but now I think I am back on the straight and narrow.  At least, I am making some progress.  With the PANCE only potentially 8 months away, it's time to get the proverbial rear in gear.  More frightening is that in a year I will (hopefully) be starting a job where I don't just have to pass a test, I'll have to make real decisions for real patients without the luxurious student buffer. 


Image result for stryker flyte helmetI had meant to write a post for each of our rotations, but...clearly that hasn't happened, as my last post feels like it was a year ago.  But, let's talk about surgery.  To me,t here is no place weirder than an operating room.  It's not just the coldness, the sterility, the face that the patient is just unconscious while unspeakable things happen to them. 
I had a great rotation where they let me see all kinds of surgeries.  Orthopedics, bariatric, vascular, and of course general surgery. 
Some things to note about the OR.  They (as they should) take sterility damn seriously.  I can proudly say that after a combined 12 weeks in the OR I didn't have any sterility slip ups (that I, or anyone else noted) and believe me, they are watching.  No student is fully trusted (as it should be).  If your hands wander below your belly button or above your chest, everyone in the room knows it, probably before you do.  I got weirdly good at standing with my hands just under my boobs.  (A safe, warm place).
One thing I disliked the most about surgery (did I tell you it's not for me?)  Is doing ortho stuff with the space suits shown above.  Firstly, a 'helmet'.  I could never get it to a happy medium of tightness of this contraption, which led it to be loose and annoying or too tight and headache inducing.  Connected to this is a battery pack which lives precariously clipped on your pant waistband just waiting for an opportunity to fall and give you whiplash.  This battery pack powers your own personal fan, which is wonderful, except it makes this suit like a sensory deprivation tank where I could only hear my own voice which was unnaturally loud but to me but to everyone else as loud as a mouse whisper.  This led me to be assumed a deaf mute which was just fine with me because then I didn't have to prove anything. 
Surgery also manifested a disease in me in which I could not answer any questions. Questions I thought I should know (and in some cases actually did) led me to sputter like an absolute moron stringing together medical terms I vaguely knew that one time.  A question as simple as, maybe, where I was from even prompted an embarrassing display of indecision.  "Like, where am I really from, or where did I come from today?  Cause they're different."  Only to realize that most people that asked were polite enough to ask, but not really interested enough to follow up.
I enjoyed the post op care very much because I like it when I can talk to patients.  This revelation is as surprising to me as it is to you.