Hello Again

So, it’s been a while. Hello.

I disappeared all of my second year. It got crazy busy to say the least. I hopped around all over the place. I started at the Coroner’s Office, then to UC Davis, then went all the way to New York for Sloan Kettering, then back to CA to finish up at San Leandro and Modesto. So, it’s been a little crazy. I apologize.

I wish I kept this blog up more so I’d have more memories to share with all of you (if there’s anyone left reading this blog). But suffice it to say, it’s been a very long road to get here. By here, I mean finished with the program, graduated, and most importantly, CERTIFIED.

I learned a lot in the past year. More than you ever could in a classroom or a book. Having an entire year of basically on the job training makes a huge difference. Everything suddenly clicks and those fuzzy pictures you looked at during lecture or confusing charts in books finally makes sense. Oh, so THAT’S what you mean by nutmeg liver. Oh, THAT’S a tumor. Omg, that’s a leg. Ugh, placentas are so bloody and membrane rolls suck. Who knew breasts could be a pain to cut when not fixed properly? There’s bile everywhere! And gallstones! And what do you mean I didn’t find enough lymph nodes?! How is 15 not enough? Oh wait, not all of them were lymph nodes. Back to search the fat.

If none of that made sense, I don’t blame you. If it did, welcome to my world. If you’re a student in a current program or wanting to apply, it will soon make sense to you. A word of caution: when you first see a POC (product of conception), it may be a little shocking to you. That’s all I’ll say on that. I hope your first rotation warns you of that in case you’re a little sensitive. (And there’s no shame in that. Be up front about what you’re comfortable with, but eventually you will get desensitized to it as horrible as it sounds. It is a part of our job after all.)

I was fortunate to rotate at awesome places with great staff and interesting specimens. I may not have been able to gross all the super complex ones, but I did get to see some of them if I was lucky enough for one to come by.

After we finished in May, we had to wait about a month for the actual ceremony to happen in June. It was a good ceremony. We were all very happy to be there even if only me and one of my other friends from my class were the only ones that showed up for the PathA program. It was a very proud moment to finally get dressed in our fancy Drexel gowns and walk across that stage. My blue and gold hood is awesome.

Then I took the certification exam in August. I know, it seems late for some who want to take it right away, but my brain needed a break and I wanted to study some more. I wanted to make sure I could pass on my first try because I was not gonna spend another small fortune to take this exam again. Luckily, I did pass my first time. Now I get to use those special letters after my name to make it look all fancy and official.

In September, I did some traveling. Did a two week cruise to the Mediterranean which was so gorgeous. Omg. Greece is beyond beautiful. Italy had some fantastic food. The one day we spent in Turkey was also lovely. All these countries are so beautiful. Seriously, if none of you have been there, you should do it at one point in your life. You will not regret it. Especially Santorini, Greece. That was my absolute fav and I wish we could’ve stayed there longer.

Now, I’m job hunting. It’s a good place to be in right now. Everything is all lined up and taken care of now that I’m certified. I don’t need to tell a future employer my exam date and have that added pressure. I have the letters after my name that says it all. So wish me luck! I want to pick the best place for me.

I’ll try and update this a little more frequently. It won’t be all about my job or the program in every post, but I figure this is my blog and my life, I can post whatever I want, right? 😛

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Year Two

I’m officially a Second Year now.

So, in April I…

  • turned a year older
  • received my White Coat with my name embroidered all fancy on it, which also happened on my bday
  • took a bunch of finals and completed my classes (AAP technically finished the beginning of May but whatever)

Now I’m officially into my first rotation. I just completed my first week actually at the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office. And I am having a BLAST! I’m seeing so many cases you wouldn’t see anywhere else. I’ve seen suspected elderly abuse/neglect, suicide by firearm, firearm victims, motor vehicle accident victims, and I even experienced my first decomp yesterday! Most of the people who work there are super nice and patient with me as I learn the ropes. The other interns that come in once a week are super cool, too. The pathologists are nice and helpful for the most part.

It’s physically demanding and draining more than anything. There’s a lot of pushing, pulling, lifting bodies. Not to mention constant cleaning and scrubbing. I’m learning to pull bodily fluids like blood and vitreous from the eye. I can sew up bodies and the head after they’ve been eviscerated like no other. I’m slowly getting to do more and more, which is so exciting. I’ll never get this anywhere else so I’m trying to soak up as much as I can and do as much as possible. This is my wheelhouse. Full body stuff as opposed to surgical. I didn’t spend all those years in cadaver class for nothing.

I’m also going to be the Gross Anatomy TA for the new first years (omg, that’s so weird to say). They asked me if I would be willing to since they’ll be coming to the Coroner’s for lab, and I said why not. I did this forever at Mt. SAC. I can do it again. Plus it’ll be a good way for me to practice my anatomy too. And I’ll get to work on cadavers again. Wheelhouse again.

So far, I’m enjoying my second year much more than my first. When I went to visit my program manager to pick up some masks, the first thing she told me was, “This is the most relaxed I’ve ever seen you.” It’s true. This is the most relaxed I’ve felt in a long, long time. It’s nice. I can enjoy doing what I do without worrying about lecture and tons of exams. We only have the monthly pathology exams starting in June. So right now I can kind of take it easy. It’s a welcome change of pace, for sure. I hope that it continues being this awesome.

WORLD SERIES 2014

How can today NOT be a good day? It’s Game 1 of the World Series and my SF Giants are in!!! MadBum is on the mound and he’s my fav Giant. CanNOT wait.

Of course I still have a bunch of studying to do before it starts in a couple hours, but that’s beside the point.

We got our rotation schedules yesterday! I just forgot to mention it. We also met our co-director of the program in the flesh instead of just seeing her on the screen. It was nice, had a free pizza lunch. I took home all the leftovers. 😛

My rotation as of right now goes like this:

  1. Sacramento County Coroner’s Office
  2. UC Davis Medical Center
  3. Sloane Kettering Memorial Hospital in NEW YORK
  4. Kaiser Fremont/Hayward
  5. Kaiser Oakland

Each rotation is 10 weeks long, then I move onto the next one without a break in between. It’ll be an intense year long training, but it’ll be worth it, I hope. I’ll be in NY for Thanksgiving, but I’ll be home for Christmas! How exciting is that? This is literally everything I asked for. They asked us to make a wish list and would try to accommodate our suggestions as best as they could. For once, things fell my way and I got all the sites I wanted. Crazy, crazy stuff. I didn’t think I’d get NY since it sounded like so many people wanted that, but they gave it to me anyway! I love my program manager. She totally fought for our slots like a BAMF. While this is not officially set in stone, she told me it basically will fall this way until she hears otherwise.

I am super excited and pleased. Now I just gotta own my next exam and catch up on med path. And cheer on my Giants! Woot.