What is the purpose of this blog? There are two.
One: to answer the unending, random questions I get from my friends and family (who I love to death)
Two: to be a study tool for myself as I work through my residency program
I am an intern learning to be a resident. What does that mean? I'm a rookie, a newbie, a greenhorn. I am lowest on the totem pole. Just out of medical school and just beginning to learn the art of medicine. Although I have earned the title "Doctor", I have not earned a medical license and when people ask me my medical opinion my answer usually begins with "umm..."
I get asked a lot of good questions and I don't always have good answers. Even though I may have the knowledge I don't have the experience explaining medicine in non-medical terms. I have spent several years and a load of cash learning the language of medicine but not enough time translating it into plain English. It's like someone who can read German and speak Spanish but can't tell you in Spanish what he just read in German. (Of note I can neither read German nor speak Spanish)
This blog will serve as practice.
How will I answer? The format will change as needed but generally speaking, especially with regards to specific diseases, I will try and follow this pattern:
What is it? - definition
What causes it? - etiology/pathogenesis
What does it look/feel like? - signs and symptoms
How is it diagnosed? - laboratory data, imaging, etc
How is it treated? - prescriptions, surgery, lifestyle changes, etc
What's the usual outcome? - prognosis, natural history
How often will I blog? This whole thing is kind of a new year's resolution. Like all resolutions I'll probably start of strong and then peter out around the time the weather starts to warm, but my goal is to blog at least a couple times a week if not daily.
How can you help? Ask me questions. Put it in the comments section or email me or ask me in person, whatever. The more you ask the more I blog and the better physician I become, so win-win.
Oh, and don't let me off the hook if something isn't clear. If it doesn't make sense to you then it probably won't make sense to my future patients.
Disclaimer: Like I said before this is an exercise in communication and a part of the learning process for me. Everything I post will be what I've gathered through research and personal experience, but my answers should not be substitutes for a visit to your regular doctor.
The Progress Note Begins!!