This week I’ve been on the orthopedic surgery service as part of my “Musculoskeletal Elective.” Included in this elective are rehabilitation medicine, rheumatology, and orthopedics. I’ve spent much of the week “OR hopping,” as I like to call it, to see the widest variety of cases I can since I’m not going into orthopedic surgery. It’s also a low pressure week seeing as there is no need to impress, just to see as much as I can and learn what I can.
This week, I realized I didn’t know much about orthopedic surgery. Upon entering the OR area, I saw all of the “helmets” wondering what on earth those are for. Naturally, they are for the space suits.
If you’re wondering (although you may have figured it out), the space suits are for maintaining the utmost sterility during the procedure. If the new hardware (knee, hip, etc) gets infected, the only solution is to take it out. No bueno. So, space suits it is!
The helmets have a fan on them so you don’t suffocate during the case. You must also wear a battery pack so the fan doesn’t run out. I sort of felt like a robot with my big space suit and battery pack.
Joint replacement is, in my opinion, somewhat like carpentry in that you must saw, drill, chisel, and mallet (seriously) the bone into ideal form to fit the new joint hardware. The bone drill going into the femur with spewing marrow was the first squeamish experience I’ve had in all of med school [but also very cool].
On another note, one attending surgeon in one case noticed my nail polish as he has two daughters of similar age who says “are really into all those funky colors.” See people, nail polish is universal! A common denominator!
I’m sad to say that I have a race on Saturday and my nails are currently bare. I know, tragic.
Speaking of running, I ran 16 miles the other day with Gia which was a) the longest I’ve run since the marathon last year and b) the quickest 16 miles has ever gone by. You may remember that I ran 15 miles not long ago and it took my something like 2 hrs and 40 min (10:30 pace, I think) because I was by myself and taking my sweet time. This sweet 16 took far less time (pace range 8:50-9:30) and was actually pleasant. Ahh, the power of conversation! I sort of wished for a hot second that I was doing a marathon this fall.
Then I remembered that a marathon is 10 more miles than that and usually alone…I believe that a dichotomy currently exists between my training and racing. My training is fantastic, in my opinion. I’ve found that without having this magic “BQ marathon pace” to bow down to in training, I’m having a lot of fun and running a bit faster.
My racing hasn’t been bad, per se, but, in my probably over inflated opinion of my running self, not proportional to improvement in training.
The dichotomy may exists because of two things: 1) heat and humidity in the summer or 2) forgetting the pain game in racing.
It is most likely a mixture of both. I think I’m stuck in some sort of tempo weirdish uncomfortable but not really painful place when racing. I’m usually uncomfortable, but not dying and I think you sort of have to get to that “I don’t think I can run another step but I guess I will” point to really have a breakthrough.
But, honestly, who am I to know. I haven’t been doing this that long.
I’m running a 10K on Saturday. My best races come when I make a goal that is not time related, which usually involves answering the question of “what do I want out of this race.” I realize this is probably a far too cerebral approach to racing, but this is the brain and personality I’ve got, so let’s just go with it.
To be honest, I’m not sure what I want. The more important thing on my calendar on Saturday is hitting the “submit” button on my ERAS (residency) application because, of course, we med students are well trained to do everything first day it opens, asap, set 5 alarms to make sure you don’t miss it.
I’d like the PR (<47:39) because that’s always cool, but I’d rather that not be the overall objective or expectation. Remember, expectations are no bueno.
So, I’ve got a bit to mull it over. I’m really just out there to have fun. In a year’s time, I’ll be an intern and working most weekend. I won’t have an opportunity to race frequently like I do now. So, I’m enjoying what I get to do now. But, there’s always that little competitive side to me, too…
Alright, if you’ve made it through this stream of consciousness novel, congratulations! Sometimes I think I should stop writing this blog because at the end I think “why would anyone want to read about my way to overthinking and analytical approach to everything?” The far more practical thing to do would be to keep a journal.
But, that’s just not as fun. Plus, I had to tell everyone I got to wear the space suit! And work with bone cement!
TELL ME: WHAT DO YOU DO AS A CAREER? OR ARE YOU’RE RACING THIS WEEKEND? OR JUST TELL ME SOMETHING COOL.
PS: I have a cool story about bronze age jewelry making and bone cement. Maybe I’ll remember to tell it next time…
PS2: Go read this race recap by Jesse as it is pretty awesome…