Wayfaring MD

I am a family medicine resident who likes to highlight the hilarious in medicine as I write about patients, medical school, residency, medical missions, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

HIPAA is for reals, folks. All of my "patient stories" have been changed to protect patient privacy. I will change any or all identifiers, including age, location, race/ethnicity, sex, medical history, and quotes.
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Asker Anonymous Asks:
How bad is ketosis used as dieting for your body?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Um, I admittedly don’t know tons about it, but the idea is to avoid carbs so that your body changes its primary energy metabolism from carbs to fat (I could break it down but my biochem is rusty and I’m post 30-hour call so my brain is fuzzy at best). Nothing that extreme can be good for you ultimately.  It’s definitely not something you should attempt without talking to your doctor first. 

Personally, I favor the eat-right-and-exercise type of dieting. You know, the kind that makes sense and is sustainable in the long term. Diets like the one you mentioned may help you lose weight in the short term, but I don’t think they’re sustainable over a long time. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I'm graduating high school at the end of May and want to shadow a doctor this summer. I'm not really sure how to go about finding a doctor of surgeon, do you have any advice?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Here are two posts I wrote about finding a doc to shadow. Let me know if they don’t answer your question. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
This is a really stupid question, but... I'm volunteering for a hospital and might have to wear scrubs, and have no idea if you wear anything under them or not. HELP MY CONFUSED SOUL
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Most folks wear ‘em like a regular shirt and pair of pants. Just your normal underwear underneath. Some folks do wear a shirt under their scrub tops. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
What made you want to be a doctor, as opposed to other medical careers? I'm currently doing pre-med studies, but I want to make sure that I fully consider all my options in order to make the choice best suited to me.
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

I wrote a little about why I chose doctoring here. 

Honestly, I didn’t have tons of exposure to other medical careers. I shadowed a nurse practitioner some on school breaks, and I thought she was great, but I had no interest in going through nursing school. I wanted the science undergrad degree and the college experience without clinicals and such. My reasons for not going the PA route are in the link above. 

There was a short time in my life when I wanted to be a physical therapist… like in middle/high school… but I went back to the idea of being a doctor pretty quickly. I shadowed a PT and it looked boring to me. 

Honestly, when I first started seriously thinking about med school, back in high school, my goals were different than they were when I applied to med school in college. I wanted to know everything, be an expert in something. I felt like I could only do that as a doctor. My goals changed. I still like doing everything (yay family medicine!) but I don’t care about the prestige and being an expert (again, yay family medicine!). 

If I were you, anon, I’d do some shadowing, or at the least, talk to people who have different careers in medicine and ask them what they love and hate about it, and whether they’d change if they could do it again. Think about what you want in life and find the one that fits you. 

This scar on my shin was actually from a very shallow graze, and it used to be a lot more obvious than it is now.

I was out walking with my family, and as we climbed over a stile I slipped, and bashed my leg on the top step as I fell over. There was a shallow graze, which was barely bleeding, and already a large bruise. By the time we had made it back to our house, it was very very swollen and I hurried to put ice on it. In all the panic of trying to get the swelling down, the graze was largely forgotten, and not cleaned properly.


Of course, with plenty of people wandering over each day, stiles are pretty filthy. About a week later, the swelling was still quite bad and the bruise had ‘slid’ down to my foot, so we went to A&E (or the ER in the USA). They reassured me that the bruising was okay, but I had a nasty infection in the graze. A week on antibiotics and an unsightly scar on the front of my leg was the price I had to pay for being a bit careless!

Asker Anonymous Asks:
What is a pseudoscientific claim you encounter at the hospital most often? If none, from a medical point of view, which do you deem to be the most ridiculous?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:



I think the one I get the most is “I got sick because I went out in the cold” or “I got sick because I got my hair wet in the cold”. It’s insane how much I hear those. 

Ever heard of germs? And viruses? 

Cold, please. Like maybe if I stand in front of my open freezer door I’ll catch pneumonia. 


My other favorite is “I don’t have allergies. It’s just sinuses.”

Um, no. It’s allergies.

You don’t have chronic sinusitis. You do have a pollen allergy. Ever notice how your “sinuses” flares up in the spring and fall? Pollen.

Take a dang Zyrtec. Good grief. 

Is that first part really pseudoscience?  I mean, obviously cold weather doesn’t cause the disease on its own, but doesn’t it weaken your immune system?

No. I mean, sure, prolonged exposure to cold is potentially bad, but if the cold directly decreased immunity we’d be seeing much shorter lifespans in countries with cold climates. People get sick in cold weather because viruses have seasonal peaks.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
You have a good heart, Wayfaring. You will be blessed!
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Well thanks friend!

Asker Anonymous Asks:
How difficult would you say the field of otolaryngology is?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

ENT, like all surgical sub specialties, is very competitive and you would need top scores and a solid application to get in. As for how hard the actual residency and practice is, I wouldn’t know. It seems to be a nice mix of surgery and outpatient work though.

Asker hipstarae Asks:
I'm currently doing my senior project in neonatology. I was wondering if you had a fun idea that had to do with neonatology or health care in general to present. For example someone who is majoring in computer engineering brought in video games or a food critic brought in gourmet food.
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Umm, bring in babies?

Or maybe condoms. Tell your class this is an inexpensive way to prevent having a premature baby.

Edit: or you could kidnap @Baffledinbrooklyn and make him talk about the NICU, maybe at knifepoint?
Asker kri-z Asks:
When do you think is the right time to start shadowing doctors?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:


I started shadowing doctors in high school. That is getting harder with all the paperwork and HIPAA crap, but in a small town it’s doable.

Do as much shadowing as possible, as often as you can, as early as you can.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Is it that important to shadow Doctors? Just wondering because I plan on going into medicine but from what I hear from some people around me, it's not that important?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Depends on what you define as important. Do AdComs require shadowing? No. Do they like to see it? Yes.

The other question is do YOU consider shadowing important? How can you be sure you want to be a doctor if you haven’t followed one around to see what we do in real life? Could shadowing help you confirm your decision? Could it direct you toward a more specific field of interest? I would think most folks could answer yes to that. So that is why shadowing is important.

Big lesson here: don’t let admission committees direct your actions. Pick your major, extracurriculars, shadowing, etc based on your interests. Do what will benefit you and further your learning. If you do that, you’ll probably impress an AdCom or two along the way.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hey Wayfaring! Just curious. What did you do about the lonely patient? You don't have time to talk with him while rounding, right?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Oh, I sat down with him then and chatted for a few more minutes, and then I came back that afternoon after rounds to check back in with him. I do like to be punctual, but I don’t consider rounds to be a good excuse to leave a dying man hanging. I usually show up pretty early anyway. I like to have plenty of time to see patients and not feel rushed in their rooms.

Do you have a few minutes to stay and talk to me? It doesn’t matter what you talk about. I just get lonely sitting in this room all day.

Newly diagnosed cancer patient with very poor prognosis in the ICU, to me on my morning rounds


I think princeton-medbloro should give me a job for 2 weeks while I’m back home. So I can buy some books. To read. For fun. Not textbooks. And coffee. So I can go out, drink mochas, and bring tons of coffee back to med school. Oh and maybe some new shoes too. Hmm, need some…

Awwww, you done did it now. You said the Q word. Prepare for all heck to break loose.


Of obvious and grave importance: how do folks dress in medical school?

On class days during the first 2 years, most folks are jeans and t-shirt types. We even had some PJ bottom folks in our class. Occasionally (like when everything else is dirty), folks get fancy. Some schools mandate business casual, but that’s rare. Our school only required us to dress up on days where we interacted with standardized patients or real ones. Since we were a PBL school, we had mandatory attendance, so we didn’t have the pantsless-at-home option on group days. 

In the second half of medYes, I am taking scar stories. I had to turn off submissions a while ago because of pr0n blogs, but I can turn it back on tonight when I’m home. school, folks go with business casual at the hospital. That usually implies dress pants and nice shirt, +/- tie for the guys, and dress pants + blouse/skirt/dress for girls. Some places are even more casual, like my current workplace, and allow jeans on Fridays.