Saturday, August 23, 2008


First of all, XKCD strikes again...and he's totally right about literary criticism (much as I love it, you have to admit that a lot of it is like Joe Biden in book format: long-winded, self-congratulatory, and the kind of smooth that is commonly associated with being oily). See for yourself...look at that smooth mother. Shut yo' mouth! Just talkin' 'bout Biden!
In further news, the diversity retreat and ropes course was this weekend...I ended up going home early from the ropes course on account of...well, I managed, even in an environment where "safety is priority #1," to hurt myself. More specifically, while we were doing this activity that involved mad dashing on LEVEL ground, I tripped on a rope that was on the ground (to demarcate one of the 'zones' we were supposed to be in. Needless to say, I went from sixty to zero (and standing to lying down) in about a nanosecond. I did a total face-plant, slammed my chest into the ground, and after a few minutes of wheezing--the result of knocking myself square in the solar plexus--went over to one of the picnic tables to sit down. And discovered that breathing, once an unnoticed part of my existence, had become painful. Really painful. Especially in this one area of my ribcage.
I did a quick differential diagnosis (actually, I did it while I was lying facedown in the dirt, unable to breathe): rib fracture, lung puncture, pneumothorax, internal bleeding. The doc in charge of the whole shebang came down to the area where our group was (bonus of doing diversity training affiliated with medical school, no?) and palpated my ribs and belly, asked some questions, came up with basically the same differentials (which made me feel good about my diagnostic skills, but bad about what the hell might be happening in my chest) and said to wait a bit, take some NSAIDs, and if I still felt bad that he would either take me himself or get someone else at the retreat to take me to the ER for x-rays. Which is what I ended up doing, with one of the other deans. We had to stop off and get my ID card to take into the ER, which means that a member of WUSM's administration has now seen my apartment in a state of disarray--including, though I tried valiantly to keep her from following me upstairs, my pit of a room. Not exactly how I had planned to make a scintillating first (or second) impression: "That klutzy girl with a trashed room who I spent two hours at the ER with." On the other hand, most other people judge me about 1/10 as harshly as I judge myself--or, frankly, don't give a shit--so I think I'm probably in the clear. She was so incredibly nice, utterly sweet, coming into my room in the ER every so often to make sure I was OK, telling me about her kids, bugging the docs about my X-rays when they were taking a while to process. Generally being uber-helpful. Something I also didn't know--because the doc/dean who checked me out at the ropes course called in to the ER and told them to expect me, and furthermore because I'm a student at WUSM, I kind of got to jump the line in the ER. One of the deans, during orientation, mentioned that now that we're med students we really are part of the 'medical community'--and that, right or wrong, there is a certain amount of privilege that comes with that, health-care wise, little favors docs and nurses extend to other health-care professionals, like sneaking them onto the schedule or staying late to take care of their needs. All I can say is, right or wrong, that's pretty damn cool.
I'm sure the fact that I was in incredible pain probably helped some, too...I'm talking serious pain, beyond what is euphemistically (and rather inaccurately) referred to as 'discomfort.' To me, a bug bite or mild menstrual cramps constitute(s) discomfort--this was heavy-duty, lights flashing, sirens blaring with each inspiration pain. And so the lovely ER doc gave me some hydrocodone. Quite a bit of hydrocodone, actually. And while it's helped--a lot--and made the hour I spend waiting for the X-rays just fly by (time passes more quickly when the pattern of the curtains and each word spoken by the nurses outside is suddenly FASCINATING), it's also made me a little loopy, which is what I'm going to use as an excuse if anyone points out that this entry is a little rambly. It was the drugs, man.

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