Monday, March 26, 2012
It Wasn't Medstudentitis--A Guest Blog by Sarah Guthrie
I should have known better. I remember one of my nurse practitioner’s telling me that in typical medicine, when you “hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras”. This saying reminds medical providers that the most likely and obvious answers are the right one. Except, with me, the zebras- those rare and less likely answers- seem to fit. In my three decades I have endometriosis, psoriatic arthritis, and hypothyroidism.
Two months, 20 pounds, an EGD, CT, and a gastric emptying study later, I learned I have gastroparesis. It is believed to be post-viral. The diagnosis didn’t stop the vomiting and at the end of September I was hospitalized with malnutrition and dehydration. I weighed less than I had in high school- and didn’t look my best!
Physician Assistant school is considered a grueling master’s program without additional challenges like constant vomiting. Like many professional master’s degrees, it is a “lock-step” program. I had to complete the didactic (classroom) portion with my class or repeat the entire first year.
TPN- total parenteral nutrition- has allowed me to stay in my program. While I did miss a week for the hospitalization and several individual lectures for doctor’s appointments, I have managed to stay in my program and even excel. Instead of using this as my excuse to drop, I met with my instructors to confirm my continued desire to get my degree. The majority of people I have met were enthusiastic and my academic success has silenced the naysayers. I won’t deny that at times it looked like stopping was the best plan- but I have been wanting to get my degree for years and I have chosen to use my own internal strength to keep going to school.
Sarah Guthrie, PA-S; 2nd year Physician Assistant Student in GA. Sarah is married and thankful for the support of her husband, family, and faculty. Anticipated graduation is May 2013