We talked about smoking on planes, too, and the third in our row chimed in. They are old enough to remember when everyone smoked on airplanes. I can't even imagine it.
They put me in a smoking room because they were out of nonsmoking rooms. I have the windows wide open, as open as they go, and still the smell is making my head ache and my nose stuff up. "Check back tomorrow after 3" the desk clerk says. "I'll put a note on your account, maybe we'll have a nonsmoking room open." It might very well be worth it; this is painful.
I have in my backpack a notebook, pens, my binder of stuff, and a bunch of ideas for the website as well as making things overall more student-friendly for the STFM. Hopefully this sort of thing will be helpful and will give meaning to my presence in this group. I will also be moderating paper sessions and discussions during the Pre-doc conference in Albuquerque at the end of January. I volunteered for this.
I say that every trip I forget something important. This trip I forgot what time my Step 2 Clinical Skills exam was supposed to get out, and had to change my outbound flight the day before. This, O Best Beloved, is not a cheap happening. I came in around $200 more than my original flight plans, and I feel very badly about it, but the other option was to have a flight scheduled to leave at the exact time my exam was supposed to end.
As it turned out, it was a good thing I moved the flight, as I was randomly selected by my airline for a Security Check. They peeked through my bag, scanned me top to toe with a metal-detecting wand that alerted on such dangerous items as the little metal clips that are supposed to hold up my bra straps, and did an upper-body patdown. I took it in good humour; if such antics make the people feel safer, then such antics make the people feel safer. The screeners say that most people are terribly upset and don't take it well at all.
Arrived in Boston, safe and sound. Wireless internet in my hotel room was $10 for the week, so I had very little problem justifying it. I slept late - until nine o'clock - and then walked around the local area looking at all the shops that were closed. It is, after all, Sunday morning.
This is a lovely city, full of shops in townhouses stacked on top of each other without regard for what sort of businesses are juxtaposed. I particularly liked the Indian Restaurant/Hello Kitty Store/Beauty Salon combination. Some day, I will come back and sightsee.
Saturday's exam - the one I have been complaining and whining about for the last several years - was an interesting affair. Takes place in the Clinical Skills Examination Center, which is a mockup of a doctor's office, if doctor's offices had twenty-four identical exam rooms containing equipment laid out precisely the same way in each room, the only difference being the exact locations of the sink and the bed relative to each other. Also, doctor's offices do not normally contain one-way observation mirrors (why do people think you cannot see the other side of these?), cameras, or microphones.
The day consisted of showing up, being told to make certain that all I had with me was my white coat, my stethoscope, the pen that they gave me, and the clipboard I was provided; going through orientation videos that told me not to talk about the content, only the experience; and the exam itself.
Five patients in the morning, then lunch, then three more, then fifteen minutes, then three more. Stand outside the room with a clipboard. When the voice says "Examinees, you may now begin" I open a little door which has a three-sentence summary of the case, some vitals, and instructions. Then I knock on the door and go in. Conduct a patient interview and exam or any other tasks that are appropriate, discuss my thoughts with the patient, and then leave. Fifteen minutes max for all of this (and I get a five-minute warning). Ten minutes following that to write a note - history of present illness and relevant medical details; physical exam; five diagnoses in the differential; five lines for tests I want to do (I can group tests on one line). Every station the same.
I am expressly forbidden to discuss the actual content of the exam in any way, to the point of not being allowed to ask a question about a case scenario in any way after the exam. This is a shame, as I would like to know if what I did in one particular scenario was appropriate to the situation - for the betterment of my own clinical skills - and I was told that even to bring it up as a hypothetical situation, unrelated to the exam itself, was verboten. This frustrates me, O Best Beloved, because it means that I gained absolutely nothing from spending eight hours seeing phantom patients. Exams should never ever ever be of zero educational value. The idea of an exam as a measuring stick that does not allow for further improvement is...well, I find it vile and wicked. The worst part is that most medical school exams are precisely this way. We never have a chance on any shelf exam to go over our answers, ask questions, and find out what we did wrong.
This is a travesty, a perversion of the educational process. And I hate it. I'll find a way to get my answer somehow. I'm going to be a good doctor in spite of the licensing board.
And now it is noon and time for lunch and a long board meeting and I still have not told you about my fantastic day on Thursday or my interview or why I am beginning to wonder if we will be trying to sell our house in a few months and move again.
I also am still at about 2,000 words for NaNo. We shall see. Perhaps I will give you more reading later.