The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mmmm... Books.

I love books. I've always loved books. I admit it. My obsession started early, with Archie comics and Peanuts paperbacks. I was the kid who would be up at night with a flashlight under the covers trying to read one more page before being discovered by my mom. I eagerly anticipated the days my mom would bring us to the library, my sisters and I leaving with armfuls of hardcover books with crinkly covers. There was no feeling like cracking the spine of a brand new book. I've always loved bookstores-- from the tiniest hole-in-the-wall to the enormous Chapters/Indigo/Borders type-places, I can browse for hours.

I don't have much time to read for pleasure anymore, but I still get the same excitement out of books. Even the kind I 'have' to read. This has not always been a good thing. I don't know what on earth possessed me to buy our medical schools recommended pharmacology textbook-- I think I used it once in second year to look up some pharmacodynamics for a PBL session. I also have a nearly untouched Robbins Pathological Basis of Disease... I know that the American medical schools tend to regard this as a bible, but I managed to get through medicine with much more user-friendly texts. Other buys that made more sense at the time were a very good (and very large) textbook on rheumatology (on which my experience beyond the classroom has been non-existant) and a lovely (but somewhat heavy) textbook on infectious disease. That one I should probably crack open again-- I could use a refresher on bugs and drugs. But even now, I find browsing through a medical bookstore one of my favorite ways to spend a free hour.

These days, I'm a lot more careful about buying books. I don't buy books randomly at the start of every new rotation. In fact, since buying a subscription to up-to-date and installing the Lexi series on my PDA, I don't really use textbooks much at all anymore. And the ones I do buy I make sure will be a good investment-- a book that I'm likely to use and refer back to in the future. So most of those are relating to emergency medicine in some way.

Sometimes this works better in theory than in practice. My last major book purchase was one of the bibles of emergency medicine, Tintinalli. (When you're this well known in the world of emergency medicine, you're referred to by name) It was an exciting purchase to make... this text, together with Rosen, form the basis of resident preparation for the emergency medicine board exams. I eagerly dug in-- with each new rotation in my internship year, I'd read the corresponding section of Tintinalli. Great idea, right? Problem was, this textbook is about 5 inches thick. Not terribly portable, particularly for someone who does her best studying over non-fat vanilla lattes at Starbucks. On top of that, the weight of the book causes self-imposed time limits on studying. More than 45 minutes at a time causes painful ridges to form across the tops of my thighs where the book rests when I read. I think that Rosen had the right idea when they split their bible into three volumes.

So it's been a while since I've purchased any new medical books. Which is why I've been anxiously stalking the mailman for my package from Amazon. New medical books... yay!

First I got a family medicine text. It was less than $100 (a bargain for medical textbooks) and it much more complete than the Mosby text I'm using now. I wanted something beyond the review materials being passed around the internet when I'm studying for the CCFP licensing exam which is coming up in a little more than three months. This exam is freaking me out-- coming into family medicine from emerg and therefore knowing nothing about family medicine-oriented subjects like psychiatry, screening for disease and guidelines for management of primary health care issues, I still feel like I'm at a bit of a disadvantage. So over the next few months, I have some catching up to do. A friend brought this text to one of our academic days not too long ago and I really liked it-- complete, readable and relatively cheap. Add that to the shiny cover and pretty pictures and it's pretty much the perfect textbook. I was sold.

As long as I was ordering a book for exam prep, I decided to throw in another text that I've been eyeing for the better part of a year. The ICU book has been recommended by everyone I know who has read it. Seeing as how I'll be spending the month of June in the ICU here, another month of ICU next year during my emerg year, and will be using many of the procedures and protocols described in the emergency room. I had been waiting for the new edition to come out, so it's the perfect opportunity.

And speaking of perfect opportunities, was offering The ICU Book in combination with another book I had my eye on, the Manual of Emergency Airway Management. This is another topic I'm a little insecure about, in spite of the month of anaesthesia that was intended to teach me these skills. All I've done in an emergency situation is fairly straightforward endotracheal intubation. The fancier stuff I've seen done in controlled situations, but I'd like to have more in my arsenal when some apneic 300lb guy with a Mallampati IV oropharynx rolls in the door. I'm hoping I get a lot more out of my next month of anaesthesia than I did in my first. I am perfectly aware that the techniques that will save my ass in a tight situation aren't the kind that can be taught in books, but I'm hoping it will be a good start.

Mmmm. Books. Love em. I can't wait. Now if only I could find the time to READ them, I'd be laughing.

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Blogger Clerk said...

Aww, this post brought back some good memories of family road trips... I always got the backwards-seat of the family station wagon... I just had to share it with my stack of 20 novels. We would have to stop halfway home at a used bookstore to exchange them for a new set! Those were good days - lots of reading for fun, instead of for exams!

12:55 AM

Blogger ditzydoctor said...

oh my goodness i hear you. i was the kid who devoured books and demanded to go to the library every weekend. and now i buy textbooks like nobody's business - they're all lovingly wrapped if pretty much untouched! i really ought to stop buying so much stuff i don't read! =(

10:55 AM

Blogger Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

I love to read, too.....

11:23 PM

Blogger honkeie2 said...

Archie still rules......I like the rich chick....what was her name....Veronica? I thought she was hot (as a kid) hahahahaha
I used to read my mom's medical books when I was a kid....I loved the black and white photots of the cross sections of the human bodies.

7:43 AM

Blogger Indian Medic said...

I know what u mean...
I am in posession of half a dozen heavy tomes i bought becaue they were awesome but never got around to reading.
the best part is to crack open a new book and bury my nose in...i just love the smell of fresh printed pages.

12:30 PM

Blogger Gripperm said...

I am a huge reader and the UPS man knows that he has a delivery to make to me from Amazon about once every two weeks. I never liked comics because they were too short of a read for me. I can't seem to find the RSS feed to your blog on here do you have it enabled?

12:01 AM

Blogger Liana said...

Psst, you know those textbooks you bought but never used? You could consider donating them, if not to my project to rebuild the medical school library in Banda Aceh then to another of the many worthy projects out there.

Just a thought... I love books too and just want everyone to have the chance to appreciate them.

1:30 AM

Blogger ERnursey said...

I love to read also, the feel and scent of a brand new book is like an aphrodesiac to me. I also have a strange love of office supply products even though I rarely use anything like that :)

2:32 PM

Blogger The Ambivalent MSILF said...

What? What? You never used Robbins? I STILL use it...and even have thought of springing for the new edition. This surprised me.

I also am a book addict.

11:50 AM

Blogger Nikki said...

Hey you....any chance you've got time for me to pick your brain about CaRMS interviews? I'd sure be grateful!

(From your favourite knitting clinical clerk...)

6:07 PM

Blogger Couz said...

Anytime, Nikki. Maybe a mock interview over Starbucks?

E-mail me: couz at sympatico. We'll talk.

7:57 PM

Blogger Midwife with a Knife said...

Ah... books. :) The amazon packages always feel like Christmas! I'm getting old enough that many of my books have new editions out there, and I'm having a hard time deciding how to go about replacing them. And there's the new books!

What I really need right now is a really good medical genectis book. Hm....

8:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good day,
I am an old doc learning new tricks and will have to do the ccfp after many years in the GP trenches.
Any tips for passing this exam? Study guides, web sites, etc?

Any help welcome.

2:30 AM

Anonymous ORDOC said...

I too loved books ,loved to read ,still do....but the time constraints against reading for "pleasure". I go to book stores and buy 2-3 books that I want to read. I now have a stack of books up to my waist waiting to be read. I am lucky to average getting through 4 books a year. I even delete alot of emails from friends that I know I have no time to read...oh well, maybe when I retire....

10:05 AM

Blogger Ayisha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:39 AM

Blogger ayeekaz said...

10 years later, I bought a copy of Tintinalli for my emergency medicine diploma and have the exact same thoughts. Truly a legendary vook

7:45 AM


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