Saturday, October 31, 2009


The last round of Iowa interviews for the oral surgery program were today. Luckily, I was included in the second round of applicants. I guess I've done okay enough for them to at least chat with me about the future.

This year there were three women who interviewed. That was very different from last year when I was the only one. I met one girl who was very nice and fun. She talked about some negative messages she has received about choosing oral surgery, especially from dental school faculty. I was surprised but knew just how she felt as I faced many similar pressures when choosing to attend dental school. I wish her the best and would even love to see her at Iowa. Can you imagine them taking not just one girl, but 2 or 3?

About 18 people interviewed for 3 spots. (Last year there were only 2.) My interviews were very different from last year. The interviewers seemed a little puzzled about what to ask me since they "already know" me. Some asked more than others, which was actually a bonus since I was able to offer up information about me they don't know about from working every day. Overall, I think things went well. While I have received multiple messages about how "every day is an interview" in a way that makes me really feel on my toes, a few of the interviewers really stressed this was an advantage and one that the other applicants will just have to be phenomenal to be worth the risk taking over me. I think this is true. What an advantage to have someone who is already trained! Starting on day one of residency, I will be ready to take call by myself, be able to pick up more difficult cases, and be a whiz with the computer system. On top of that, I know what I am getting into and have a low chance of dropping out. Hopefully they will see the sense in this. I was thanked for my hardwork (so nice to hear) and told I was a very competitive applicant (and was last year as well, I guess).

It is a relief to be over. I am glad that it went well and have hope for the future. And, I have the rest of the weekend off! (Thank goodness, I can only imagine the drunken parties tonight for Halloween and the Hawkeyes 9-0 victory!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Keeping on...

This has been a busy month for me. By the end of this week, I will have been on-call 6 out of the last 12 days. Yawn. It has been an interesting few weeks! Here are some of the things we have seen:

gunshot wound to the face
multiple mandible fractures (I lost count!)
car crash with 6 kids, 3 consulted with us
cute 2 y.o. who split her tongue (think forked tongue) on the playground
woman with a large facial swelling, from subcutaneous emphysema (air under her skin), a complication (VERY RARE) from her root canal performed by one of my classmates (welcome to the real world, huh!?). I was always warned about this in dental school but it was interesting to see in real life
patient with big swelling who refused to be treated because he doesn't like needles (scary)

I am loving that I get to take call from home this week, unlike last. I feel like I am sleeping on a pile of feathers or something after a week of midface.

Boring, eh? I dont mean for myself! But to others. I have nothing else to talk about except work right now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A day in the life...

Abe recently told me, "I have no idea what you do at work all day." This inspired today's post. I warn you it it long and detailed (a busy day!) but if you are curious, here you go.

A Day in the Life on Midface Trauma Call:

Background: "midface" is when all facial trauma (minus noses or just mandibles) comes to you. This gets split between oral surgery and ears, nose, throat. When we are on "midface" we are required to live at the hospital. Other weeks, we get to take call from home.

7:45 am: change into scrubs. "I hope I get a nap in soon. I am tired."
8:00 am: rounds. Check on patients currently in-house (staying in the hospital). Gather information on their care for the day.
8:45 am: Emergency room. Mandible (lower jaw) fracture. Evaluate patient and get ready for surgery. Assaulted after returning home from bars 3 am.
9:45 am: Emergency room. Mandible fracture #2. Evaluate patient and add on to surgery schedule. Assaulted at/after(?) bars 1 am. Place orders (instructions for nurses, medications, etc) for both patients and prepare thorough history for surgery, prepare for admission to hospital. This takes some time...
11:00 am: Rush to catch up to chief (resident in charge) in OR. "Time for a cookie? Oh, lunch on-call money hasn't started yet. Better get going, anyway. Bathroom? Time to get my goggles in the resident room? No, better get there."
11:15 place orders for surgery, assist in surgery. 11:45 "Ouch, headache! It is very hot in here. I hope I don't pass out again." Continue to receive pages throughout surgery. EEK.
1:00 "Dr.'s, your next surgery is ready. You can go straight from here to the next one." ibuprofen for my splitting headache, still no cookie.
1:15-5:00 surgery on jaw fracture #2.
5:30: Catch up on missed pages while in the OR.
6:00: evaluated patient in ER for being pushed down stairs during fight.
6:30 Wait in line at lame-o off hours cafeteria. Grab fries and soup. Eat fast, just in case. Finally some down time.
7:30: Round on patients for the night.
7:45: Free time. Yay! Try to sleep. Room is way too hot! Headache is horrible (where is an open pharmacy?), bed is like a board. Finally get ibuprofen at pharmacy and try to sleep. TRY being key.
3:00am: BEEP, BEEP, BEEEEEEP! "Pager. Ugh. Try to sound awake on the phone." Emergency room (one of Abe's doctor friends) calling about facial laceration with arterial bleeding they cannot stop. Can you come quick? "Uh oh! What am I going to do?" Page chief to come in ASAP.
3:05 am: scalp bleeding, put pressure on for 2 minutes, it stops. "Wahoo, I am awesome!--whatever. Oops, wish I wouldn't have told chief to come in." Page him again. He calls and says sorry for missing page. I am glad this time. Embarrassing to have him come in for THAT. By the way, patient was very rude, esp with me saving his life from bleeding to death and all. Kid got bit by sign in the head while "not drinking."
3:15am: While in the ER, another laceration. "He wants plastics closure with NO SCARS." ..."Great, do I tell him I have done this maybe 2 other times?" Struggled with very small laceration for too long, maybe an hour! Deep stitches and glue. Hope it works! While suturing, ER again, "Consult for 3 more patients."
4:00am: 6 kids in car accident on way home from haunted house. I get consulted on three of them. 1 has 2 big lacerations on forehead, one girl as jaw fracture with tongue laceration and loose teeth, 1 intubated and in intensive care for facial crunch.
6:00am: sewing up forehead lacs.
7:30: Finish one laceration (lac) and have to pre-round (check on patients before the boss comes).
8:00 "No longer on call"
8:00 re-round on all patients. Finally make it to intensive care to evaluated the facial crunch from earlier.
10:00: work on discharging two patients. Run to grab donut and chocolate milk (no time and few options in cafeteria closing for morning)
11:00: Finish suturing other forehead lac. (other resident does farcial crunch lac, thank you!) Chief does most of it, thankfully. It would have taken me much longer.
11:45 Time for 7 notes...Lots of paperwork
1:00: Home. Yawn!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I guess not for what he has accomplished, but for the "hope" he inspired.

I dunno. Maybe I can be awarded my Oral Surgery license now because I'll probably be a great surgeon one day.

Seems a bit sketchy to me. Any one else agree?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Our program began the interview process again this past weekend. It brought back a lot of memories of last year and the kind of ironic feeling that I am in this situation again, with some of the same stresses and questions about where my life is headed. (This pic is of me getting ready in my my suit last year.)
In preparation for my interview at the end of the month, I have been trying to think of good interview questions/answers. This is where I could use some help. What is your funniest/hardest/favorite/most memorable interview question (and maybe answer)?
I remember for my Iowa dental school interview they asked 39 coined questions with the last being something like, "If a little boy hit himself on the head with a hammer, what would you do?" To this day it seems a very strange question and I don't know the answer or what I said.
I think the hardest thing about interviewing is putting your qualities into words. I know I am great but sometimes I can't put my finger on why, or I can't remember any examples. That is why your suggestions can be helpful to me now.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Missing You

I was looking through some old photos and came across some of these from our "dental prom."
Essentially, it is a somewhat formal event with dinner and dancing to celebrate the graduating class of the University of Iowa's College of Dentistry. This is us back in March 2009.

This got me thinking about the big changes that have come for all of us who graduated in June. Despite the fact that our school supplies 80% of the state's dentists, almost all of my friends left to jobs far away! Virginia, Colorado, Chicago to name a few. I have found I really miss these friends and the special dental bond we had! Yes, we all had a pretty one track mind when together (Abe teases us that we can't stay away from a dental topic for 5 minutes) but I really appreciated that ability to vent about the difficulties of school or procedures, receive advice, and get new ideas on how to approach new dental situations. Although the men I work with now are very approachable and helpful, it just isn't the same.

This is my one friend who will never move away without me (or better not). He lets me talk a lot of dentist (and understands some).

Nazeli (relocated to Denver, CO) and Jin (luckily pretty close in Cedar Rapids)

David, my first and most constant dental friend. We drove to school together on the first day, went to the single's ward together, were assigned to all clinics and most extramurals together, often had assigned seating next to each other, etc. He was really there with me every step of the way. He is doing a general dentistry residency in Idaho.

Michelle (now back home in Chicago)

I guess we get a duplicate of Jin.