ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: November 2003

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Dysfunctional Bear

As I reach new lows in my search for procrastination, I came across a site that does one of those personality type things, with a twist. The results:

Stoner Bear
Stoner Bear

Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

That's the dysfunctional bear I am. Umm...Yea...Uhh...OK.

Try it yourself...

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Why the Human Race is Doomed to Extinction

Now I'm not one to be serious all the time. In fact, I tend not to be serious most of the time, which is probably not the best quality for a future doctor. (Warning, I may go the entire way here without saying some moronic joke. Apologies.). Pehaps it is just because I am not used to seeing certain things inherent to this profession, perhaps I am not desensitized to the mess that is the human race, but I must say that what I saw yesterday was more than a little disturbing.

Since our bone marrow transplant selective teacher just had a baby, he didn't really have time to plan anything for us (actually I give the guy props for even showing up. I'm sure his wife was thrilled.). As a result, he just took us on rounds with him. I learned that rounds are basically an opportunity for doctors to take fellows, residents, interns, students around to talk about their patients, then visit the patients, then pimp the shit out of the inferiors (see Big Pimpin if you want to know how much fun that could be). Since he knew we didn't know jack shit, he didn't bother with that last part and we just talked about his patients and got to meet all of them.

For the most part, this was pretty uneventful and educational - I thought there was an interesting contrast of the patients on the verge of death congratulating our doc on bringing new life into the world. OK I'm done trying to be deep.

We get to the last room and he introduces this one with a "basically she's on her way out". Sad indeed, but nothing we hadn't seen before. We walk in and she's crying. She asks all these questions about what treatment plans she has and our doc tries to explain to her that there isn't much of anything to do, other than hope that there is some experimental drug trial she can participate in. She even said at one point "Well what am I supposed to do, wait for death?" They don't teach you how to deal with that shit so well. In all, her story seemed sad but unremarkable: acute myeloid leukemia, multiple chemo rounds, etc. We walked out of the room, and one of the students asked why there was no bone marrow transplant attempted. The doctor said "Weeeeeeeeeeeeell, the only HLA match [think donor match] is her brother, who's a schizophrenic. And his wife has power of attorney over him, and she adamantly refuses to let him undergo a bone marrow transplant donor." Basically, this wife refuses to let a guy who's already nuts (and probably wouldn't even remember this procedure so well anyways) save his sister's life. The doctor tried to talk her out of this ridiculous stance, but she would not budge (to give an idea of his powers of persuasion, he managed to reconcile the patient with another sister who hadn't spoken to her in 20 years over some financial scrap).

She literally had control of this patient's destiny, her life, her chance to continue and live with her three daughters. Instead, she sentenced this poor woman to death. Now, I don't know what the history is between them, the brother, whatever. To put it bluntly, it doesn't fucking matter. It is absolutely disturbing to know that stuff like this goes on, and it literally made me sick to my stomach when I was told this. I feel so bad for this patient, and I can't imagine what it might be like to know that your life could be spared (there is a decent 5 year recovery percentage for this specific AML) but you have no chance to access it. To this wife I say this: karma. You better fucking watch out, because it's coming to get you, and it never fails.

OK hopefully I'll be a little less serious next time.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

The Perks

So a few weeks ago, my friend Kim, who is a representative for the medical school alumni board thing, sent an email to a few of us asking if we'd volunteer to sit at some reception for medschool alumnis. We'd been promised $100 dinner plates and all we had to do was shmooze with bigshots. Cake.

I showed up to this thing all decked out in my suit and started chatting it up with some friends. A few glasses of (free) wine later, and we started talking to some random people who for some reason started taking a liking to me and my friend Vishal. As we all proceeded into the main ballroom for dinner, Vishal and I were going to sit at our tables, but these middle aged women were begging us to sit with them - Hey I've got no problem with flirting with old women who might potentially be rich/my sugar mamma.

I go to sit down next to one of them, who is wearing a red suit and looks well presented for a middle aged woman. Before I have a chance to sit down completely, she says to me "You're cute as hell. Sit down next to me!" And before I know it, she begins feeling up my thigh. Believe me, I am not smart enough to make this up.

Anyways, I start chatting with her, and it turns out this lady is none other than...ok due to suggestions/commands by certain peoples, I have removed the name of the person so as not to set myself up for a slander lawsuit (ironic considering no one reads this so no one would ever know, but thats a different story). Needless to say, this lady is definitely notable, has a regular column that is read internationally, and has had definitely had one too many face lifts. And she was hitting on me big time. At a medical school alumni reception. In front of other middle aged women hitting on me and Vishal. While drunk. Perhaps I have not adequately or fully expressed the hilarity of this event, but honestly if you were there you'd think this was the funniest thing ever too.

Oh, did I mention the unsolicited good-night kiss she gave me on the cheek?

See, medical school does have some perks after all...or something like that.

Fo Shizzle!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

On Highs and Lows

Today I had my second chance to go to my Woodland Hills preceptor and try to actually learn something useful, which is more than I can say for 75% of what is taught in lecture and lab (and I would assume this holds for just about any medical school). I figure I'll get the disgustingly gross/entertaining stuff out of the way, because I saw an interesting contrast that I think is kind of chilling to think about as a future physician (assuming I pass, which is looking more and more doubtful each and every day).

So my regular readers (is there such a thing) might recall my last preceptor experience, where I saw a horribly chaffed penis/two-headed monster. Perhaps that was coincidence. Perhaps. But I am now starting to believe that my preceptor gets a kick out of messing with me, and lines up all the "sensitive male issue" cases for when I'm there. He must just sit in his office and go, 'testicles! lets have the boy do this one...biiiiatch.' Today I learned about epididimitis. You may recall from a biology class that the epididimus is found in the male testiclar region. You may also know that anything with an -itis at the end means inflammation. You may now conclude that I got to see a horribly inflammed testicle today. I don't know how this happened, but I feel like somehow this is not what rappers talk about when discussing big balls. I also got to see what green toes look like. What?, you ask. Turns out that a fungal infection, if not treated, looks really fucking gross. And green. All over the place. I mean honestly how much green does it take before you start thinking, 'hey I really oughtta have this checked out.' (to all you politicians out there, I saw the guys file and he was under insurance and had a normal job and honestly at some point you just have to stop making excuses and realize that you are gonna turn into the jolly green giant).

OK so now that I got that out of my system, I actually have been thinking about two separate events that I witnessed during this preceptor visit. The first was a lady who came in with severe abdominal pain. She had similar pain 6 months before, and it suddenly came back, figuring that it was probably the same thing and needed meds. She did not seemed concerned at all. The doc decided he wanted to do a colonoscopy, and when asked why, he said 'to screen for colon cancer' matter-of-factly. Her face turned sour, and now all of a sudden this innocent trip to the doctor has brought on a large volume of anxiety that will not likely pass for some time (especially since this test won't be done for about one month). It is odd to wonder what her biggest concerns were right up until that moment, and how things can change in an instant...

...on that note, the last guy I saw was coming with severe shoulder pain. He seemed severly distressed and could barely move his arm. Doc had me give him a cortisone injection (which I might add is the first time i injected anything into anybody. go me.), and two minutes later he felt no pain and could move his shoulder all over the place. Pretty remarkable, and seemingly the complete opposite sequence of events that had just taken place with the abdominal pain lady. OK so I don't really have any conclusions to draw from this, other than this is a pretty powerful profession, for better or worse. If the cheese factor is getting to be too much and you are searching for more sarcasm, please see below.

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Interview Day

Today I gave my first tour to prospective medical students. I have never done anything like this before, but it was pretty interesting to see what things are like from the other side of the...umm...ok there's no table or anything but you know what I mean. From this one simple tour I already picked up on a few things that I would like to pass along to future interviewees, because I think this information would be valid to know - if this is how you act around me, the lowly tourguide, then you may or may not want to be doing this in front of people who really matter.

Rule #1) Don't wear some moronic pin that you received for being a parademic, phi beta kappa, or whatever. This one guy today was wearing a shiny silver pin on his black suit that had a helicopter on it. He probably thought it screams, "ask me about this cool paramedic thing I did!" However, it really just wimpers, "I'm a total douche who needs props to commence a conversation with the interviewer, who's ass I am going to make out with for about one hour in the hopes of winning his/her approval and gaining entrance into medical school". I mean honestly, who fucking does that?

Rule #2) Do ask us something we do NOT like about the school - I really think that is the best way to gauge what is really going on with the school, and is something you can only really ask people who are in the know but aren't able to tell the admissions office you asked a question like that.

Rule #3) Don't try to impress tourguides (or anyone else, for that matter) with big words. As other students were asking about the curriculum or graduate housing or other thoughts that might actually have a bearing on their decision, this one guy (actually the same ass who violated rule #1) just pops out with a question that went something like this: "When you study the cardiovascular system, do you also learn about troponin I's or creatine phosphate levels or [insert big technical medical word here]?". Luckily for me, we had just learned this stuff that morning so I could say "Yes" and not have to lie to cover up my own inadequacies as a hapless medical student. But more importantly, I was wondering: What kind of shit asks a question like this? Was he trying to impress the ONLY people who have no bearing on his application? Was he trying to intimidate the other interviewees by talking above them and making THEM feel inadequate? Was he simply covering up his own inadequacies (small penis) and show off the one bit of information he knows? The answer to all these questions is most likely yes. Asshole.

Rule #4) Do ask us about other schools we were considering and why we chose this one. You may likely be in a similar situation and might find it useful to know what factors other people considered so that you can consider them as well. And of course it lets me show off all the other bigshot places I got into (hmm what was that about me and feeling inadequate?).

Rule #5) Don't, under any circumstances, say something like what was said to me today: "Wow you guys are already old medical students and I haven't even graduated from college yet. It's so wierd for me to even imagine doing this old people stuff and being a grad student." First, if that's the case, what the fuck are you doing here in the first place? Fool. Second, all you are doing is reminding us of what was (undergraduate debauchery, filled with drinking, partying, and gasp free time) and what is and forever shall be (study study study!). You might as well say "Man you guys are fucking old and lame. I would hate to be you." OK maybe not that bad, but guess what's coming to you in about nine months, jackass...

I can't think of anymore things to put down here at the moment, but if I do I will try to expand the list.