Well, I'm happy to report that the four months of endless studying and practice have paid off well. I passed the American Board of Radiology (ABR) oral board examination, my final "hurdle" to become a board certified (BC) radiologist ("to the stars" as Dr. Jen Miller told me). It's a breath of fresh air for sure. Everyone in my residency program at OHSU passed, which is splendid.
Right after the examination, two of my mates flew home together, but not before stopping at the airport pub for several beers with Pete. The exam was on Tuesday afternoon (05 June), and I received the letter on Friday morning. I think I was more nervous opening the envelope than before and during the grueling 4.5 hour oral exam in Louisville, KY. Holly, the children, my parents, and my brother Todd and his fiance Cicily were present for the "opening of the envelope." I had never been so excited to see our postal carrier. He snuck away before I could hug him too.
Many thanks go out to Holly and the children, who put up with my crazy study hours, crankiness, and time away from them pouring over thousands of cases and images. I couldn't have done it without you!
...when one tires of studying for an exam. Such are these days. I need some inspiration here!
We had a fabulous time in Sunriver. I was there as a speaker for the Oregon Thoracic Society (American Lung Association's Oregon chapter) annual professional meeting. I was able to ski at Bachelor one day and hang out with the family the rest. It was a relaxing weekend, once I had finished preparing for the short talk. We also checked out the High Desert Museum - something which I highly recommend to any and every one to visit at least once. There are large components both indoors and outdoors. Family favorites included the mine exhibit, the lynx, and the bobcat.
We took SNAPP along as well. Let's just say that SNAPP didn't do as well on the snowy and slick mountain passes as the all wheel drive Outback did. But, she made it, and ran like a champ.
Preparing for a 6 week trip is something I've never done before. There are many things to pack, many things to research, and many things to do before leaving home. The longest I've ever been away from home was a 2.5 week trip to Germany/Italy with Holly when we were first married.
This is essentially a six week paid sabbatical to learn from the best minds in radiology and pathology- consisting of a series of didactic lectures 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Many residents "burn out" by week 4. We'll see how long I can last.
DC this time of year is gorgeous, and I'm bringing the Bianchi, hoping to get some serious mileage both commuting to/from DuPont Circle and Walter Reed.
What will become of my time in DC? One thing is certain: I shall be severely homesick for the girls and Bennett.
:: peder ::
Wired News: Printing Organs on Demand
Interesting article regarding new technology called "organ printing", led by University of Missouri-Columbia physicist, Dr. Gabor Forgacs. It is a proposed new way of creating replacement organs and tissue for those damaged by disease, trauma, etc.
:: peder ::
Yes, it’s true. This month, my rotation is GI (Gastrointestinal) radiology. That means that for the next four weeks, I’ll be “slinging barium” as the saying goes. “Where does one ‘sling barium’?” one might ask. Well, barium is a metal element that is harmless within the human bowel. Being a metal, it is easily seen using x-rays of the abdomen, where it fills and outlines the bowel wall remarkably. So, like some gross metamorphosis on the Wild West theme, I’m a 21st century barium slingin’ cowboy.
So, I use creative ways to get barium into the intestines, whether it’s desired to look at the upper GI tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestines) or the lower GI tract (colon). Patient’s always love the procedures, commonly tell me that I’m their favorite doctor, and always go home smiling (ahem, sarcasm anyone???). All in all, it’s an enjoyable part of my job, since I do miss the patient interaction of a more clinically-based medical specialty.
One of the perks of the rotation is that I get to work with a GI radiology technologist, referred to here as Mike to ensure anonymity, who is a bona fide barium master. He often proclaims, “I’ve single-handedly trained over a hundred radiologists to do barium enemas and swallows.” This guy is no joke- he’s hard core. In fact, he calls himself the fastest x-ray tech in the west (he’s referring to how fast he takes his part of the x-rays, since the only things between the patient and the bathroom are Mike’s x-rays). As I’m learning which views to take, I constantly hear in my ear, “SHOOT IT!!” “FOR CHRISSAKES, SHOOT IT DOC!” Hehe. It nearly kills me it’s so fun.
The patients are remarkably forgiving and polite. I’m not sure how I would do in this situation. Most of the men make jokes (men have this interesting way of finding diversion through humor when placed in a situation involving such an exam. There are countless one-liners that men automatically recite when the prostate is being examined.
As for my diversion, I looked up some (interesting??) facts about barium.
1) It’s the 14th most common element,
2) It melts at 725 C and boils at 1640 C, and
3) It was discovered by Sir Humphrey Davy (the handsome, winsome man pictured upper left), who also discovered the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
I’ll end with a quote from Sir Davy: “Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it.”
Consolations in Travel — Dialogue V — The Chemical Philosopher
In and out,
Well, every year or so in the career of a training physician, there comes a time of loneliness, estrangement, and boatloads of coffee - yes, it’s boards time. This installment is the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 3 (of 3), the last of the three exams that every physician, no matter what specialty or degree of post-graduate medical training has to pass to practice in America.
So, timing is perfect - Holly and Hannah have both been sick the past week. Makes for a very difficult moral conundrum - how much time do I spend being with them vs studying? It doesn’t matter what I do, because I feel guilty when I’m doing one and not the other. Anyway, it is a great opportunity to re-learn some things that have been forgotten or marginally learned in the first place.
The exam is two full days, this Thursday and Friday. The Friday portion is nearly completely composed of clinical scenarios, whereby the computer presents a patient with a complaint in a clinical setting (e.g., 50 year old male executive who comes to the E.R. complaining of acute-onset severe chest pain). I get complete control over the scenario (what tests to order, what medications to give, what consultations to request, what procedures to do, etc). It sounds pretty fun, doesn’t it?
Well, I plan on having a few pints after the exam is finished on Friday, to say the least. ;) Have a great week.