Sunday, January 8, 2017

If The Dress Fits: eShakti Review

While I knew I was ending 2016 with a very special trip, long days at the hospital and studying at night didn't leave much time to shop for a new look. While I have a bit more "free" time than I did first and second years of medical school, I rarely spend it out shopping at the mall.  When I do it's usually to return online purchases that just didn't fit quite right.  A couple of years ago I found out about a special company that allows you to customize just about every part of what you buy.  From color to cut, neckline, hemline, sleeve length, to the addition or removal of pockets, you can tailor the clothing to fit you before you buy it.  They saved me a lot of time and allowed me to order exactly what I wanted.  Even better when it arrived in person, it not only fit perfectly, but it traveled well in my carry-on luggage.

Wrap Dress (c/o eShakti)
Shoulder Bag (thrifted vintage Coach)
Watch (Daniel Wellington)

eShakti has a huge collection of customizable pieces for everything from work to leisure to special events.  I know we've all been there when we just couldn't find something to wear that fit.  Yes, clothes can be tailored; however, why not shop somewhere that eliminates the extra time, work and expense.  With eShakti you can choose from standard sizes or enter all of your personal measurements to have a piece made just for you.  

eShakti offers a large selection for every occasion.  Here are a few more of my favorites: 

onetwo / three / four

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Decor: Pine Cones

A couple of weeks ago I stopped by my local craft store to pick up some blank note cards.  While I've accumulated more Target "Dollar Spot" printed thank you cards than I'd like to admit, they felt inappropriate and too girly for my male preceptors on Internal Medicine.  To make a long story short, a trip for plain thank you cards turned into leaving with two bags of scented pine cones, and I'm convinced that other than a Christmas tree, they're the only other holiday decor you need.  I picked up two bags for a total of $5 (they were 50% off) and immediately dumped them into a basket I already had from Ikea.  When I wake and come home, my place is filled with the best smelling, seasonal aroma.  It's been almost three weeks now, and the scent is still going strong, better than any spray or candle I've ever smelled.  If you're not big on decorating or are working with a limited budget, pine cones are an inexpensive seasonal accent that is also multipurpose.  You can simply drop them in a basket like I did.  Closer to Christmas or New Years dinner, you can transition them to your table settings or center piece.  They're also neutral, so they go with everything.  Depending on how much time and energy you have, there are many other uses for them.  With all the "newness," sparkle and shine of the holiday season, it's nice to bring in some natural elements, sweet reminders of the beauty in the old, change, growth, and new seasons.

What are some of your favorite holiday decor tips and accents?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

5 Tips and Tools for Mastering the EKG

med student ekg guide, essential guide for learning ekgs

As a third year medical student I've learned that (1) mastery comes from experience and practice (2) if you take a systematic approach, you're less likely to miss things (3) and understanding is more reliable than memory.  All of these lessons can be applied to anything, but I find them especially relevant to understanding and reading electrocardiograms better known as EKG or ECGs.

While I'm far from an expert on the subject, here are the best resources I've found for understanding and gathering information from this vital medical tool.  

(1)  I had an attending refer to this book simply as "Dubin," and I had no clue what he was talking about.  I think that shows just how little of it I read as a first year (even though I already had it on my book shelf!) and part of the reason cardiology and EKG reading were so challenging for me.  While I still haven't made it completely through the book just yet, Dubin breaks down every aspect of electrocardiogram tracings and their associated cardiovascular pathology into easy to digest explanations with lots of built in repetition and diagrams.  This is a great non-intimidating way to start understanding and reading EKG tracings. 

(2)  I recommend you follow-up  "Rapid Interpretation of EKGs," with this EKG library.  This is a great free resource from "Life in the Fast Lane" medical blog.  It includes an A-to-Z diagnosis list, explanation of basic terminology and principles, tons of examples, clinical cases, quizzes, and links to other print and online resources.  The website is also a great educational resource and includes critical care insights for many other topics, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference, especially if you're interested in emergency medicine.  

(3)  Ignore the official reading at the top of the EKG print out.  It's tempting to take a peak and then try to find the "ischemia" or "LV hypertrophy," but don't cheat yourself.  Be a little uncomfortable and a little wrong and miss a few things in the beginning.  That's ok.  That's how you learn.  Try to recognize the patterns in the waves on your own without bias.  The more experience you get doing it, the easier it will become.  I've searched all over and haven't been able to find another way.  It really is understanding what each part of the tracing is capturing and practice.

(4)  And finally calipers...because how else are you going to measure and compare intervals? You may even earn yourself an extra point if your attending asks for them.  Just make sure you're careful.  They have a safety cap, but they're super sharp and would probably leave a mean puncture wound; they're definitely not the kind of thing you want to forget in your bag walking through airport security!

(5)  Finally, for real this time, be patient with yourself.  I've seen many tracings that I thought were pathological but were actually normal, whether it be from artifact, misplaced leads, or just normal variation.  That's why it's extremely important to go back to basics and be systematic when you're reading them each and every time!  Good luck! 

Have you found any other tools or resources to help with understanding and reading EKGs? Leave them below!