Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lessons of a Young Doctor!

First Day and Last Day of Residency
This post is meant for everyone, not just the new doctors in the world...please read, maybe everyone will get a small glimpse into the life of a doctor. (Also, I included some photo out-takes from the last 3 years!)

As another chapter in my life comes to a close, I try to look back and reflect upon what lessons I have learned and what life experiences I have gained. As a result, most of these lessons are useful not only to the recently-graduated physicians, but also to the public as a whole. The last three years of my internal medicine residency have probably been the best of my life. Not only did I grow in my knowledge as a physician but also grew as a person. I  have learned when to speak up and when to shut up, who can be trusted and who cannot, and that true friends will stick with you through thick and thin.
2 am helicopter transport with 
my patient. This was first night 
I could honestly say that I
single-handedly saved a life.
I will NEVER forget it.
Always follow your instincts!

The life of a doctor is no easy one. We usually treat our patients before we take care of ourselves or our family. While we would probably never wake up at 2 am to run to our neighbors house if they were sick, we will go to the hospital at 2 am because a complete stranger is having a heart attack. Not only are we mentally and physically challenged, but EMOTIONALLY challenged, every single day. Having to tell a daughter that she has lost her mother will NEVER get easier, no matter how many times you do it. We cry, we laugh, and we are the shoulder that gets leaned on.

Love what you do!
The hospital staff will see us more than any of our outside friends and relatives. These relationships are extremely important, and a young doctor will soon learn that these relationships will make or break you. Understand that not everyone will like you, and that is okay, but try your hardest to, at the very least, earn the respect of everyone around you. You do not know everything, and if you think you do, just quit now. The best doctors are the ones that know their boundaries and are not afraid to ask for help, from anyone. The nurse has placed a thousand more foley's and IV's than you, so when she says something is wrong, it probably is.

Keep an appearance that
you would like your
doctor to have!
Be kind, be humble and be understanding. You will lose your temper, but apologies will typically calm any anger you may have caused. Comb your damn hair and iron your clothes and lab coat. Guys- wear a tie that doesn't have a ranch dressing stain. No one likes a sloppy looking doctor. Smile. Try not to yawn in front of a patient, even if you only got 1 hour of sleep. What patient wants to actually KNOW that the person who is taking care of them only got 1 hour of sleep? (I got yelled at once for this and never forgot it). You will get asked seemingly stupid questions, by everyone. Smile, answer them (even if you have to answer them 4 times) and laugh about it later. It's better to get asked a stupid question then for a stupid mistake to get made! 
Always smiling.

You will disagree with other doctors, but know your place. At the same time, question everything. If you don't know, ask. NEVER assume that the person you are speaking with is correct. If there is any doubt, look it up, and then your inner conscience will jump up and down when you prove them wrong..:)

It's okay to be upset that someone can sue you for hundreds of thousands of dollars for a mistake. I have never, ever, seen a doctor do anything intentionally to harm a patient, but mistakes or no mistakes, the government allows for frivolous lawsuits. We need to work together to change this, because honestly, it is getting completely out of control. Our government wants to lower the price of healthcare, right? Then they should stop allowing these lawsuits to happen! You will order far more tests and labs then you probably need to because you are afraid of getting sued, and you know what... until laws change, everyone else will be doing it too...and the cost of healthcare will thus stay high. The more you go through training, the more you will realize that you will probably never be compensated to the extent that you feel like you should be, get over it. 

We are expected to be a psychologist, dietician, personal trainer, family member, friend and mentor. If you don't know how to be any one of these, start learning. Answer every question a patient or family member has fully. Do not ever seem rushed, even if you are. You will always do the right thing if you treat a patient the way you would treat your mother.

Miracles happen, just when you least expect them.

And last but not least...Never underestimate the power of a hug. Never.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunscreen, Anyone?

If you haven't seen this insanely truth-telling photo of the sun-exposed truck driver, listen up! The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an article back in April of a 69 year old man with gradual thickening and wrinkling of the left side of his face. Turns out, that after begin a truck driver for a long time, the sun was damaging his skin right through the glass of the window for all of those years. If this photo is not a wake-up call, I don't know what is!
My Daily Sunscreen..:)

Not to mention the obvious physical damage, this gentleman now has a skin condition that has pre-exposed him to skin cancer. Please...I'll say it AGAIN...stay out of the sun and WEAR sunscreen! It doesn't matter is you are white, black, yellow, purple or green...EVERYONE can get skin cancer!

If you must, print this photo and hang it up next to your mirror to remind you every morning to put on your sunscreen..:)

Just incase you were wondering, I use a moisturizer/sunscreen combo by can find it here...and it is fantastic!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Workout Inspiration

A little more relaxed post today...

Orange Theory Workout Room
I totally just got my tush kicked at a new workout. I am like most people, I hate working out...I have serious attention problems and need someone to be yelling at me at all times OR I need something fun, and I have found it! Tonight I started a new workout at Orange Theory. Their concept is interval training, and it is done in a group setting. I personally like the group setting because you feel as though you want to "keep up" with the other people, so it pushes me a little harder. I did 30 minutes of cardio consisting of running and rowing, and 30 minutes of low-resistance weights and suspension techniques. I have to say, this was BY FAR one of the best workouts I have ever had, and I can't wait to recover (I don't think I'll be able to walk tomorrow) so I can go again!
My Tap Shoes!

I also started taking some dance classes for fun. Ballet and Tap. I think that a constant change, and fun, helps people to stick to a workout regimen. The ballet and tap is not as strenuous, but it helps with strength and flexibility and it does get the heart rate up!

Point? Since we all need to be doing 30 min of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week, why not make it fun? Try a dance class, Zumba, rowing, soccer...whatever. But whatever you do, enjoy it and know that you are helping yourself to be the healthiest you can be. Think about it...has anyone really ever regretted a workout? Probably not...but I bet you have regretted eating an unhealthy meal!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chocolate...finally what you want to hear! can't be....can it?

WELL.....I just read a very intriguing article from the BMJ (British Medical Journal) that discusses the cardiovascular BENEFITS of chocolate...dark chocolate. The article studied patients with metabolic syndrome (see here) who had NO cardiovascular disease prior to entering the study. The study was very complex from a mathematical standpoint, and basically predicted future cardiovascular risk from the participants depending on what happened throughout the study (if blood pressure or cholesterol increased, etc..). The study results predicted that those patients who ingested (or savored??) dark chocolate daily had lower blood pressure and cholesterol than those who did not ENJOY (haha) the dark chocolate daily.

This, of course, prompted me to do a little more searching. I am looking for the ideal amount for a person to consume daily. It looks like...well, there isn't one. I would think 1/3 of a bar of a dark chocolate bar that is AT LEAST 70-80% cocoa would be good to, see below to see WHY this may be good for you!

Dark chocolate (again, 70-80% cocoa) has flavonoids, which is the "antioxidant" or "repair"part of the chocolate. Flavonoids have antihypertensive (lower blood pressure), anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic (lowers blood clots), and metabolic effects all of which contribute to their protective effects. People enrolled in the study did prove to have lower blood pressure (by about 3.2 points) and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by about 6 points than those who did not have the chocolate. Granted, these decreases in numbers were not a very large amount, they were there clinically, and we have to assume that overtime it may help even more.

So what is my recommendation? Well, if you are already eating 150 calories of junk food a day that you can replace with dark chocolate, then do it. I recommend 2 kinds. I find that the Dove miniatures are the easiest, and I would eat 2 one day, and 3 the next, alternating. Even better is the Lindt 85% Cocoa bar, and I would have 3 of the squares of the bar of this (its one of those breakable bars). Remember, a little dark chocolate is good, but more is not better. Chocolate, no matter how you look at it is still loaded with calories. Heart heath is a delicate balance of diet and exercise (and will power!)...don't use dark chocolate as a "healthy" excuse, but rather, a "heathy alternative" to  less heart-conscious options!

Until next time...