Last Week at UPMC Chilren's Hospital and First Day at Thomas Memorial Hospital

It has been a busy weekend what with the move that my classmate and I have made from Pittsburgh to Charleston, but it has come as a welcome change. I highly value my time spent at Children's Hospital and got to do a lot of good specimens that I had never done before. There are a lot of things that I would like to talk about while at Children's, but for the sake of privacy I will have to show restraint.

In addition to the interesting specimens that I was able to do at Children's I learned to think more carefully about what I write down in my dictations. There are small nuances that were pointed out to me and I was very grateful for it. For example, in my dictations I would often say, "The serosa is..." and go on to describe the external surface of the specimen. However, the reality is that the serosa is a thin, transparent membrane and usually has no color of its own. So I have changed my dictations to "The serosal surface..." instead. Other small things include giving internal and external diameters to tubular tissues. If I say that, "The diameter measures 0.6 cm" then the reader still won't know whether I am talking about the outer tubular diameter or inner lumen diameter. Also, people interpret words differently, so it's best to be careful with words such as "multi-cystic" or "multiple" because for one person it may mean four while for others it may means hundreds. Grossing is as much a science as it is an English lesson.

The move to Charleston, although initially rainy, turned out to be smooth in the end. On Sunday, I had the opportunity to explore the town a little bit and I already like the atmosphere better than Pittsburgh. I was never much of a city person in the first place because of the cramped roads, the pollution, the noise, the high cost of living and the lack of privacy. Despite Charleston being smaller than Pittsburgh, I was pleasantly surprised while driving around Charleston to see the four lane freeways that are so desperately needed in Pittsburgh. I am already certain that I will thoroughly enjoy my seven-week stay here.

On top of that, the pathologists here have been extremely kind to lend us a whole house of our own while we are here for free. The house is very comfortable to live in and has already come with all of the amenities needed for daily living. Even dishes, silverware and washcloths are provided. I only wish that we had the same housing boon while living in Morgantown and Pittsburgh.

The first day at Thomas Memorial has gone well enough. It stayed busy throughout the whole day, but that may be partially due to being unaccustomed to the dictation system. Similar to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, grossers use a voice recorder and transcriptionists physically type out the gross pathology report. My most common blunder was forgetting to say "period" or "comma" or "new paragraph" and I lost some time going back and correcting myself. I'm sure that the transcriptionists will be kind enough to forgive our small mistakes this first week at least.