On cat ladies and OB/GYN
I just finished my grueling OB/GYN rotation and am to start Medicine tomorrow so I thought I would take a second to record my thoughts on the rotation just past, as well as the paltry few books I managed to squeeze in. Books first, babble after: Inspired by Carl Zimmer's fabulous (bugs & gross-out heavy) blog (link), I picked up his 4. Parasite Rex, a great look at the biology and pathophysiology and just creep-out fabulousness of some of the world's wildest non-free living lifeforms. I was driven to seek out his book after a brilliant post on toxoplasmosis (link), followed by an equally incredible post on wasps that can zombify roaches (link) I added him to my blogroll as well. Since ID continues to occupy a place in my heart (and in anxiety dreams about what the hell I am going to do with my life), I especially enjoyed it, but it's written at a level that anyone can get completely into it even without much biology background. His toxo article also served to remind me of the one written by Robert Sapolsky, which was a bright spot in an otherwise mediocre anthology of science writing that I read last year. The reminder served as enough of a push to look up what Mr. Sapolsky had been up to lately, which turned out to be 5. Monkeyluv : And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals, a charming little collection of essays, the best of which focus on debunking popular understanding of genetics, a pet peeve of one of the few professors that I remember fondly from the pre-clinical time. When my brain was mush from night-shift labor & delivery, I read 5. Gil's All-Fright Diner, a little fluff of a horror-novel satire that helped me catch some giggles and even a few hours sleep even as the winter sun blazed in my window.
There were no giggles, though, in 6. Beasts of No Nation, an incredibly depressing first-person fictional account of the life of a child soldier in an unnamed African nation in the midst of brutal internecine conflict. It was pretty good, but that was almost beside the point, because after a grinding 15 hour day in the OR with my very malignant GYN surgery attending, a few pages of this book was all that was required to reduce me to hopeless mush. Not to mention, the pidgin that the protagonist, Agu, speaks in, felt false to me, especially having just finished Pediatrics and feeling especially attuned the the uniquely beautiful cadences of child speech. Other OB/GYN musings:
- I loved delivering babies. I loved it despite the fact that it was far wetter & poopier (vaginal) and far bloodier (C-section) than I had expected. I loved being able to help people get through such a big event in their lives, and I loved that the women really liked their doctors.
- I feel like outpatient OB/GYN can really be a blast - it's really nice to talk to people about ways that they can structure their lives to have healthy abies when they want them, and no babies when they don't. Related to this, my day at Planned Parenthood, an elective that only I out of my block of fellow MSIII's took advantage of, and the 2nd trimester abortion I witnessed were also very eye-opening, and make me all the more concerned about what is (or will be) going on in certain states.
- On another note, some of my feminist concerns about the state of OB/GYN were hardly allayed by experiences with certain attendings & residents. While not malignant toward me, they were the kind of people, that given free rein sometimes become people that cross patriarchy-blaming blog entries get written about. I think, even more than the piece itself, which is the black-humored lightness that Twisty is great at, the heart-breaking comments from the women are what all med students should really read before getting all up in there with their speculums.
- The malignancy of the surgery part of the rotation made me doubtful about my desire to complete a OB/GYN residency, however. If I could operate only with Dr. BigHands, a really nice attending who I worked with out at Io Hospital (It's a satellite of the Mecca where everything else happens, and where I did my Surgery rotation in November and December), then maybe, but seeing how badly even the 4th year residents got treated by some of the attendings made the whole deal very unappealing, and Family Medicine with a fellowship in OB/GYN much more appealing.
- I sure as hell wish I had a better idea regarding the No Seriously, What The Hell Am I Going To Do With My Life-O-Meter (tm Dr. Fake Doctor of Ah, Yes). Sigh. It's getting freaking uncomfortably close (as in single-digit number of months) until I really have to decide, and I feel even more conflicted that I did starting 3rd year. I really need to find a mentor, or two, or three.