nainokibullet asked: wowza! i wonder…do they get time off during the first few months when the baby is born?
Descantforhope replied: I don’t know anybody that gets time off, in response to your comment. I was taking finals 6 days later. I did get a week of excused absence, since I was in labor the first 3 days and then recovering from a c section the next 3.
At my school it depended on when you had the baby as to whether time off was possible. Those that had kids during the first 2 years didn’t get time off (well, maybe a week like descant). I remember a girl in the class ahead of me taking an end-of-phase test just a day or two before delivering. But those who had them third and fourth year could take up to 6 weeks off. The 6 weeks was taken out of the total 8 weeks vacation time given during 4th year, so any missed rotation as a third year would be made up then.
Do you know any females who have gone through med school or residency while pregnant? I’ve read your posts on relationships and marriage while training to become a doctor, but given the limited window of peak fertility, it’s naturally something that concerns me as a single woman hoping to enter the medical profession. Pregnancy doesn’t seem like an easy undertaking with the stress and time demands, but I was just wondering if anyone in your experience has successfully done it. Thanks! - efxaristo
Absolutely, I know quite a few ladies who have had babies during medical school. A great one to ask more specific questions to would be descantforhope, who had her first baby a few months ago.
In my class there was only 1 girl who had a baby during med school, and she had hers toward the end of our third year.I remember looking at her being 8 months pregnant, holding a retractor in the OR for hours and thinking “she is hardcore”. I would have been all over the one stool in the OR being like “my feets hurt”. People would offer to let her sit out on things, but for the most part, she did everything everyone else did (plus manage to find time to pee 12 times a day). She actually refused when an attending told her to go home one morning because she looked sick. She was like “I’ll be fine once I throw up. Just give me a few minutes.”
as a woman have you ever hesitated med school with the whole “when will i have time to get married have kids, raise the kids, etc” b/c im just scared I won’t have time for that. By the time I get out of med school I’ll be old. I just have this fear of not being able to enjoy my “youth” or just be normal… - anon
I think most of my readers by now are aware of the fact that I have no husbandly prospects. Since that has always been the case in my life, it has actually been a little difficult for me to imagine life being any different than it currently is (though I definitely want the whole husband/litter of children thing, don’t get me wrong). So when it came time to apply for med school, I really didn’t take family life into account. I sort of figured, “well, if it happens, it happens, and I’ll make it work”.
I certainly wasn’t going to put off school and go on a hunt for a fella, because at the time I was starting school, I knew I wasn’t ready for marriage anyway. If I had put school off, I’d likely still be single and working a job I less than enjoyed right now.
For the most part, I’ve seen the “make it work” mentality with most of my peers. Sure, you can try to plan marriages and babies at times that could be slightly easier, but it’s not always possible. As I’ve said before, you’ll make time for things you deem important, so it is possible to still be a good wife and mother and be in medical school or residency.
Now the fear of not being “normal” or not enjoying your youth is legit. We all have issues relating to our non-medical peers because our lives literally revolve around medicine all day every day for so many years. It can be very hard to relate to your friends, which is why it’s important to be involved in things that put you in contact with so-called “normal” people. This is why church involvement was so huge for me. It gave me an outlet besides medicine.
So cheer up, anon. It is possible to have it all.
Yes, it is harder, and if you examine yourself and find that you would rather focus on one thing or the other at a time, that’s totally fine too. Though it’s hard to have a baby during medical school or residency, it’s equally hard or even moreso (financially, emotionally) to go back to school when you have a family at home. My best advice: seek out female physicians and ask them how they did it. Get different perspectives and then think about what would work best for you.
2. What are my boobs supposed to feel like/not feel like? <—- that is the most embarrassing sentence I’ve ever written. Thanks. -anonymous
Don’t be embarrassed anon! I get this question quite frequently in the clinic.
Boobs. They come in many shapes and sizes and often are lumpy. The best way to know if your boobs are normal lumpy or abnormal lumpy is to have them examined by your doctor. Have your annual breast exam and then go home and do a self exam so that you will know what normal feels like on your body.
Many women, especially teens and young women, will find that their breasts feel lumpier around the time of their period or the few days prior to starting. Thus, this is not the greatest time to do self breast exams because it will be hard to differentiate benign lumps from sketchy ones. They may also have breast engorgement or tenderness during that time, which may make exams uncomfortable. More often than not, these lumps during the womantimes are fibrocystic in nature (benign lumps), but are still worth having checked out.
Now what kind of lumps should you be worried about? Lumps located in the armpit or the area between the breast and the armpit, ones that are very hard, aren’t freely moveable or feel like they’re stuck to the chest wall, or ones that cause skin changes like puckering or an orange-peel appearance. Those kind of lumps need a doctor’s appointment fer sure.
Educational pictures after the jump.
Okay, I guess this qualifies as a That Girly Stuff question(s). 1. I am not/never have been sexually active. Should I still see my gynecologist regularly/at all if I’m not having any lady issues? (I’m 24, so do I need a pap smear or no?) - reader asked to stay anonymous
(Second Question will be dealt with as a separate post tomorrow)
First let’s start with terminology just so everyone is on the same page: a Pap smear should not be synonymous with a pelvic exam. You have to have a pelvic exam to get a Pap, but you don’t have to have a Pap when you get a pelvic exam. A Pap is just when the doctor takes a scraping of cells from the cervix to screen for cancer. It may be necessary to have a pelvic exam done even if you don’t need a Pap if you have vaginal discharge, bleeding problems, pelvic pain, etc.
The latest recommendations from ACOG, the ASCCP, and the USPSTF say that Pap smears should be delayed until 3 years after onset of sexual activity or age 21, whichever comes first. Since almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), Paps are of little value in women who have never engaged in sexual activity. That being said, no doctor will tell you it’s ok to not get a Pap because, like House, we believe that everybody lies, and therefore we can’t accept the liability of not testing people just because they say they are virgins.
From age 21-29, the bigwigs recommend pap smears every 3 years. After age 30 you can continue with Paps every 3 years OR space them out to every 5 years if they are done in conjunction with a blood test for HPV.
Also, just a reminder: you don’t have to see an OB/GYN for a pap smear. Family docs and internists do ‘em too, so if you already have a primary care doc you’re comfortable with, it’s not imperative that you see an OB/GYN.
tl;dr: if you’re over 21 and you have a cervix, then yes, you need a Pap.
Hello! This is kind of a girly question. But do you know any easy to maintain hair styles/length that you have or had in the past that looked good despite a crazy busy schedule? As a premed I know that hair would be the last thing that I would want to focus on when I have a class. Any suggestions? Thank you! -selfpermutations
Well I can’t give all my secrets away, so rather than discussing my personal hairstyle, let’s talk hair in general. Easy hairstyles that look good and don’t take all your time in the morning are hard to come by. So here are some options:
1. classic ponytail - Pros: looks good on almost anyone, as long as your head isn’t totally flat and you don’t do the messy bun. The messy bun is a no-no. Cons: gets old after a while. Honestly, this is what pretty much everyone opts for. However, I’m one of those weirdos whose head looks square when ponied up.
I’ve been eyeing this cute medical student (5th year) for 6 months. I study psychology and will probably choose neuropsychology as my major subject. Some of his friends mock me and my collegemates for being charlatans, fraud docs, mojo thieves and so on. I’m dying to get advice from you - HOW DOES ONE PICK UP A MED STUDENT WHILE BEING PSYCHIE? -universityofnowhere
I’m flattered that you’re dying to get advice from me, but you got the WRONG ONE.
I am the absolute LAST person you should ask for advice on how to pick up a fella. Why’s that? Glad you asked.
But I still thought about your question, and since I’m not one to chase after guys, I sort of turned it around.
How would I want a non-medperson to pursue me?
Is it true that Birth Control Pills can affect a woman’s biological chemistry causing her to be attracted to the “wrong guy?” -strawberryjamsandwich
I had to do a little research on this one. I’ve heard all kinds of claims about “side effects” of birth control pills, but “choosing losers” is a new one, definitely.
Quite a few studies have shown that oral contraceptives (OCPs) decrease androgen (male hormone) levels in women, which is part of why they are prescribed to women with PCOS. Other studies have suggested a correlation between women with low androgen levels and a decreased preference for men with high androgen levels. But correlation does not = causation.
Your altered hormone levels have nothing to do with what constitutes the “wrong one” for you. Think about it: if we asked 1000 women to define a “loser” mate, they would have wildly different answers. The way you pick your mate has a lot to do with your values, personality, environment, upbringing, judgment, and common sense—not just your hormones. There are lots of reasons that you might pick a dud every now and then. To illustrate it a different way, if I were to trip and fall while walking on the sidewalk, is it the fault of the company that designed my shoes, the city that laid the concrete for the sidewalk, or my own personal clumsiness? All had a part in making me fall, so you can’t really pick just one to blame.
It has long been known that OCPs can alter women’s mood and libido. However, how that translates for individual women varies widely. Sometimes they’re altered for the better—they become more emotionally stable (which is why OCPs are sometimes used to treat severe PMS, called PMDD)—but sometimes they become more volatile. But regardless of how your pills affect you, you have to realize that they’re not totally to blame for your poor life choice. Attraction is a complex biological process, involving many neurotransmitters and hormones, but who you choose to date is ultimately up to you, not your hormones.
I read somwhere that the workplace is the place you’ll most likely find your partner. Would you say the same theory applies in a Hospital setting? (I plan on working in a hospital and trying to find my future husband there). What is the percentage of people you know that found their partner in the workplace? - Anonymous
I had to consult my med school yearbook and do a little statistical work-up to answer your question, anon. At graduation, 51% of my class was still single or dating, 37% were married to non-medical spouses, and 12% were in relationships with people from our class. There were a few other people in my class who dated within the class (med school incest, or medcest, as md-admissions calls it) at some point during school, but the relationships didn’t last.
Ah, this post is for you my gray friend.
In all seriousness though, be like a Boy Scout: always prepared.
Actually, in reviewing my Aunt Flo post, I’d like to add another option to the ones I already listed.
Option 5: Super extra jumbo tampon + take the risk of toxic shock syndrome and wear that baby for days. Prove to your peers just how hardcore you really are. If you can keep it in until your fever reaches 104, you win the game. (DISCLAIMER: please don’t do this. This is dumb. And if you do do this, please don’t come to my office with a nasty pelvic infection and expect me to have pity).
Patient calls nurse and asks to speak to his doctor (at 5 am mind you, but that’s a different post altogether), won’t tell the nurse what for.
Nurse pages me.
I come a-runnin (okay, more of a mosey, but you get the picture).
Me: Hey Mr. G, what can I do for you tonight?
Mr. G: *sigh* *curses under his breath* I asked to see my doctor.
Me: Well that’s me. Every night this week. Remember, we met last night.
Mr. G: oh, well I wanted some ice chips.
How to deal with aunt flo when you’re working a surgical rotation. I WENT THERE
So there you are, holding a retractor* on an emergency ex-lap* for the fifth straight hour as your attending decides he needs to “run the small bowel”* one more time. Your stomach is already a bit rumbly, because of course you haven’t eaten in the last 12 hours.
But then a new feeling kicks in. A little crampy feeling.
Maybe at first you think this is just a new level of hunger kicking in. Or maybe that breakfast burrito you had at 4am is coming back to haunt you. So you suck it up for a few minutes and keep retracting. But then it hits you:
What to do? Scrub out*? It’s an option. You could just straight up scratch your nose in plain view of your attending or something equally heinous. I mean, the scrub tech already hates you, so why not? Or you could go with asking to scrub out. But what excuse do you give? Pretend your pager vibrated? Not gonna work. The circulating nurse would be glad to take care of that for you. You’re certainly not going to say, “excuse me, my uterus is doing a re-boot right now. I need to go take care of this.” Faking sick or passing out seems like the best option. People will think you’re a wimp, but you’re guaranteed to get out of that OR.
So now you’re out of the OR, but now what? You’re not prepared for this. You have no secret stash of supplies. All the stress of surgery has thrown your cycle out of whack, and you were not expecting Aunt Flo’s visit for another few days.
Our dress code just says “no acrylic nails or nail enhancements”. I don’t know if polish counts as nail enhancement or not (**trying SOOO hard not to make puns on nail enhancement/male enhancement** ….that’s what she said…).
I don’t wear nail polish because I’m not very girly. I don’t really recall seeing other doctors or nurses wearing nail polish either. I’ll have to look out for it.
Why, you got some sort of funky fungus that requires covering up with a nice dark red?