Monday, November 11, 2013


Thanks for the support and response to my prior post, everyone! The plagiarist has been removed from Amazon and hopefully, this won't happen again. I'm revising False Facades so maybe, you'll be able to see the new version up on Amazon soon. Stay tuned, please.

In the meantime, I'm also in the midst of interview season for residency programs! Exciting and scary. I've finally decided to go into pediatrics after confirming my interest during my pediatrics sub-i. I got Step 2 CK done a while back, but I still have Step 2 CS to go in December. Smart me, planned it so that I would be cramming in between traveling around to programs. What was I thinking? Hopefully, everything continues to go smoothly into the new year.

So ... since I haven't posted in a while, I thought I should write up something about one of the experiences I had during clerkships. It's funny how things feel like it happened so long ago now when it's only been months, but at the same time, you look back at the year as a whole and feel like third year really went by in a blink. Everything was measured in blocks of time between shelf exams and you were constantly in motion, preparing for the next exam and the next. But sometimes, there are these moments that are especially memorable - whether it's in a good way or bad - that you continue to carry on as something you can look back on ... fondly?

The longest day I had during clerkship rotations was in surgery (of course) when I scrubbed in on a Whipple procedure immediately after rounds. During pre-op, the resident suggested, "Be sure to grab something to eat. This is going to take a while."

I had looked up Whipple procedure before so that I would be somewhat prepared to answer any pimping questions from the attending (you are never really prepared) and I had expected that it would be a long operation, likely lasting more than 6 hours. But to double check, I asked, "Around how long?"

The resident just gave me this faint noncommittal expression. "A while."

"Oh." I hesitated. "That's okay. I just had a cereal bar."

So much regret.

I started in the OR at 8am, watching the nurses and anesthesiologists prepare the patient. As the patient drifted away on propofol, I got the nod from the resident to go scrub and get gowned. By 9am, we were all gathered around the sterile field and the attending made the first incision.

Noon came along and drifted away. Still hadn't removed gallbladder yet.

2pm ... attending and resident still working. They didn't even need me to help suction and retract since the field was so small, I needed a stepstool to get a good peek. 3pm. Scrub nurse, pitying me, asked if I wanted to take a break. I glanced over at my resident and attending; they were so focused with laser intensity on the patient, I hadn't been acknowledged since pre-op. I wondered if they were even aware I was still there or was I just a blob at the periphery of their vision? But if attending and resident haven't taken a break yet, I wasn't going to so I shook my head, shifted my feet and continued to pretend I had thighs of steel, legs of titanium. Nurse crowed really loudly, "What a trooper! Gonna stick it out for the long haul, huh?" Attending's eyes barely flickered over to me.

Scrub nurses switched four times for breaks. Anesthesiologists changed shifts, one teasing me, "This is why anesthesiology is better than surgery." I continued to stand there, trying not to lean on patient's leg too much, hoping I get to do something, anything, or maybe the attending and resident can mention something educational to me or at the very least, mutter out loud exactly what they were probing at now. Even if it was to pimp me. Pimp me! Pimp me! Let me do something!

5:30pm. Attending and resident continued to go at it. Attending's surgical headlights set had long ran out of its charge, and had to be plugged in to an outlet. I jumped for any chance to irrigate, which essentially meant I squirted water wherever they wanted me to. New scrub nurse stared at me with more pity. My mask slipped down and I tried to shove it up with the back of my gowned arm and all the nurses jumped on me, "Oh, contamination! You should scrub out and ... maybe scrub back in later ... if you need to?" We all slipped the attending and resident inquiring looks. They didn't say anything.

Taking that to mean that I had to come back, I sidled to the door and hurried to the locker room where I crumpled into a chair and crammed another cereal bar down. Returned to the OR, scrubbed back in. Attending and resident barely glanced at me. Scrub nurse tapped my gloved hand and surreptitiously murmured, "You got food?"

I nodded, and she answered, "Good. Got to eat. Don't want you getting hypoglycemic."

By 7:30pm, the attending finally announced, "I need to pee."

Resident agreed, "Me, too."

While the attending went out to take his turn first, I asked resident, "Um, how long do you think until we close up? ... because someone is kinda going to pick me up ..."

"Oh, you could have gone home whenever you wanted," the resident answered.

I stared at him. Was this a trick question? Because I was ready to go hours ago. Why didn't you send me home then if I could have gone home at any time? Or is this reverse psychology? Do I need to continue to prove my dedication by clinging on til the very end? Tell me what to do.

The resident continued, "If your pick up is here already, you can go."

"Oh, he's coming," I said quickly. "He's here." He can be here. Right now. I will teleport myself into any moving vehicle heading home.

The nurse ripped off the ties to the back of my gown before anyone can say anything else and excused me quickly, "Go home then! Eat! Go! Sleep!"

"Oh ... okay ... thank you!" I announced to the general room with special gratitude to the nurses, gave a pathetic wave, and scurried out.

The next morning, I found out the case ended past midnight. Hardcore.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Plagiarism on Amazon

Honestly, I'm still a little stunned so this might not be the most eloquent post.

I've been plagiarized quite a few times. A lot. Enough to be jaded by the whole ordeal of checking out links, sending emails, contacting administration. Since the last time I posted about this, I've been informed of a few more attempts that I haven't even bothered to mention here on this blog. I was just sick and tired of the same old thing, rinse and repeat, losers who have no lives.

But this is the first time that I'm aware of someone having the actual audacity to publish and sell both False Facades and Through Me on Amazon, here: False Facades and here: Through Me. And while she's at it, this "Martha Greenwood" decided to steal reviews from readers too, slapping up comments I've cherished in the clumsy blurbs. And to complete things, plagiarize a bunch of other people's stories as well, listed in this post: Martha Greenwood on Amazon - fpwatchers.

I've always had this niggling worry that one day, this would happen. And it finally did.

There's this uncomfortable tightness in my chest. It's a mixture of frustration, heartbreak and this sick feeling of ... what else can I possibly do? I've tried taking FF down, plagiarism still cropped up, I put it back up and left my stories up for years, finishing TM, and it continues. All I can comfort myself with is the fact that at least, the stories are up to prove my copyright and that there are readers who still look out for me, exposing these plagiarists.

Thank you, fellintothemoon, for letting me know. Thank you so much.

And sadly, for now, I have an exam to get back to studying for. I have no time and zero tolerance for this crap. Martha Greenwood, you are one sad person.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Face Full of Blood

Hello, hello! Super long time since I updated again, I know. I've been really awful about blogging because I've been on my surgery rotation. And no offense to surgeons, but I'm so not attracted to a surgeon's life. Super early mornings, long hours on your feet, meal breaks equivalent to quickstuffyourfacewithanythingnow, daily wound dressing changes, and when you're not spending long hours in the OR, there will still be long hours in clinic awaiting you. But fortunately, this lifestyle does appeal to certain folks (who are not me) and the world will hopefully always have some excellent, smart, hard-working surgeons (who are not me). I know this to be true because I know about five people, all quite sane and nice human beings, who will be/or is considering going into surgery.

So, for those of you interested in medical school ramblings ... for surgery, resident rounds start around 6-6:30am so for pre-rounds, we should check in even earlier. With long days when I generally leave past 6, I can go for days without seeing daylight because the sun will dawn while I'm in the hospital and set before I leave. Bright side of this? Vampires, too, can be surgeons.

Oh, you want a legit positive? When I drive in super early, it's quite nice because no one is up at 5am and you can go zoom zoom. And have your pick of parking spaces in the lot. Also, everyone can roll out of bed at 4:30am and wear whatever to the hospital because we're going to have to change into scrubs anyway. But after being on obgyn and surgery service back to back ... I missed nice clothes.

For rounds, medical students are generally responsible for carrying a bucket or stuffing their white coat pockets with sterile gauzes, kerlix, saline flushes, and tape. Lots of tape. We then flock after the team up and down stairs to the various patients, presenting the overnight information regarding patients we're following, changing the various patients' dressings and checking their drains. There were a lot of amputation wounds. Many legs to prop up, many oozing wounds to rewrap.

Speaking of amputations, I was scrubbed in to assist the vascular surgeon and resident on a BKA revision (the man is a diabetic whose foot got really infected so he had a guillotine ankle amputation in order to let the wound drain first to make sure the infection gets all taken care of before going back into the OR at a later date for a below the knee stump revision).

During the surgery, the attending hacked away at all the necrotic tissue, trying to roll up the flap into a nice looking stump. Really inappropriate, but it was close to lunch and for a while there, the stump looked like an empanada. A really thick, unwieldy empanada that refused to be wrapped up neatly. Cursing like a rap song, the attending muttered, "Oh, f***, man, this guy's a f****** squirter."

The next I knew, a jet of crimson spurted through the air and caught me right in the face. The attending jerked back, blood just barely grazing the bottom of his mask.

Likely because I was so tired, I just blinked. We all had masks with eye-guards so it wasn't as if the blood had made skin contact ... I hoped. No biggie, so what if there's this ketchupy blob across my vision, I can just peer around it -

The resident on the other side of the table stared at me as he ventured, "Um, maybe she should scrub out ..."

The attending turned his head to me, bovie in hand. "Yes," he decided. "Scrub out and come back."

"Uh ... okay." I turned away from the table and all three nurses in the corner went, "Whoa."

What? What? Did the blood actually manage to sneak past the eye guard? I just pictured a constellation of red on my forehead, forming a neon sign: SOAP PLZ.

One of them rushed forward as I stripped off my gloves, examining my mask closely. "It's okay. It's okay. Nothing got on your skin."

Another nurse laughed as he helped untie the back of my gown, "See now? This is why I said that you should go into dermatology."

When I removed my mask outside, it turned out that the blood had splashed across the mouth and up over the eye guard, ending just right at the upper border. Nice.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone's been enjoying the holidays and is ready for 2013!

I've been blissfully lazing around during my winter break after wrapping up my ob-gyn clerkship. After seeing all these deliveries and scrubbing in on the C-sections, I have extreme respect for mothers. Mad respect.

As one of the many perks of being a lowly medical student, one of our duties is usually gathering the general history of the patient in triage. So when a woman in labor is busy breathing her way through a contraction and squeezing the threads out of the sheets, hey - you get a medical student hovering over you, asking about your chief complaint ("What do you think? I'm in freaking labor!"), past medical/surgical history, your previous deliveries ("Can't you pull up the information from my medical charts? I've been here before!"), current medications, allergies, STDs, abnormal pap smears ("No, no, no, NO."), etc. Believe me, we're very sorry, but we enjoy the process as much as you enjoy resisting the urge to throw something at our heads.

So ob-gyn was fun, in that mildly traumatizing way.

Anyway, a friend gave me this snow globe for Christmas and at first glance, I was like, "Aw, this is super adorable. It even plays music while I watch the snow fall. I'm going to treasure this forever!"

And then, the other day, I take a closer look:

Be happy, indeed. A bear gleefully prepared to trample a tiny turtle beneath its huge paw. Or caught right in that magical moment before he sends a flying kick at the turtle's head.

Am I to assume this is a subconscious manifestation of my friend's real feelings for me?

Am I a puny turtle, idiotically grinning away, while the shadow of a foot looms over my head?


When the moment comes ...

I shall be the bear.