Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Starting My Clinical Summer Research

This week is officially our last week of break. But I'm already back in Cleveland to start my summer research because my fellowship is for ten weeks, while our summer block only lasts for nine weeks. So far it's going pretty well, even though yesterday morning when I showed up at 9 AM like my PI told me to, no one seemed to know that I was supposed to be there! It turns out that the med school had told them that I'd be starting next week instead of this week. The other not so good thing is that the department still hasn't received any money for my stipend, so it may be a while before I get paid. It's not the end of the world because I didn't expect to get paid until the end of the summer anyway. As long as I get paid eventually, I'll be happy. I didn't really do much interesting yesterday beyond meeting the other team members, reading the study protocols, and doing some of my online training.

I had the coolest experience today though--I saw an open heart bypass surgery. The surgeon cut open the patient's chest, and I was actually watching his ventricles contracting! It was so amazing. After they stopped his heart and started repairing the valves, it got kind of boring. Without the heart beating, watching the surgery didn't look much different than watching someone cutting up the inside of a cadaver. On the bright side, I'm super glad that we used fresh cadavers in anatomy last year, because I didn't get sick today at all. The OR staff kept telling me to let them know if I didn't feel good because they'd had some previous observer faint or something.

The study I'm working on is pretty labor intensive, and I had to get here at 6:45 AM because the surgery started at 7 AM. But I have to say that it was totally worth it, and I am really looking forward to observing some more surgeries. I still don't think that I would want to be a surgeon for the rest of my life, but I can definitely understand why a career in surgery would appeal to certain people. Not too many people can say that they've held a living man's beating heart in their hands.

Yesterday was also the first day of orientation for the new first years. I have to remember from now on to add a year to everyone's status, including my own. I caught myself a few times today telling people that I was a first year student....um, I mean that I just finished my first year and am starting my second year. :-P

No comments: