ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: January 2004

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Realize What You Have, Damn It

Over the course of the last week, I have realized what my lot in life is. No, it's not to become a great doctor. No, it's not to become a good doctor. Hell, I hope I freaking pass. Actually, it has absolutely nothing to do with medicine. This week, I discovered that my mission in life is to make people realize what they have and to not blow golden opportunities that pass them by. How did this come about, you ask? Despite the fact that a) you didn't ask and b) you don't care, I'm going to tell you.

This past Monday I was having lunch with some medschool buddies and I took a look at the youngest member of our class. He's a nice guy who also happens to be absolutely freaking brilliant. Math and Physics degrees from a certain Massachusetts based institutue where they study technology? Check. MD/PhD candidate? Check. Completed premed requirements at age 12? Check. Oh, did I mention he's 18 years old? And in medical school?

If that weren't enough to qualify this guy as being able to get Doogie ass, the young gentleman sitting before me LIVES IN AN ALL FRESHMAN DORM. WITH HORDES OF RIDICULOUSLY ATTRACTIVE WOMEN. AS A SUPER-GENIUS MEDICAL STUDENT WHO IS THEIR AGE. Good lord. I asked him gently about this - did he realize what position he was in? He replied that he spent most of his time there sleeping (by himself). I then tried to reason with him, figuring that math people need reason to accept an argument as valid. I explained that unlike every other recently pubescent male in his dorm, this guy is a future doctor. And not some stupid freshman premed future doctor, one that actually made it to medical school. Forget the fact that he's a decent guy and all that other stuff. Maybe it's because I am Jewish and am swayed by many a Jewish mother coming after me with their daughters because I am now of the category "future doctor", but I know that Doogie (can I call him that? I just did.) could get some serious action here. Now maybe he's not in it for the superficial relationship, which is o.k. (despite my obviously dashing and player-like demeanor, I too am this way - I know, try to restrain yourself), but I mean C'MON. Don't sleep all day! AAACK.

Well my attempt at an argument didn't work, because he somehow equated all this with having to drink alcohol, and he started calling me an alcoholic. I knew then that if he wasn't going to believe my opinion, I was going to take this to the masses. I asked every single guy in the vicinity of our table a simple hypothetical - if you were a freshman girl, would you give a chance to a) typical freshman guy who will possibly not amount to anything or b) freshman-aged guy who is in medical school. 10 people asked. 10 going for choice b. Even the girls at the table piped in, saying that Doogie really didn't know what kind of goldmine he had there.

I regret to report that he has yet to budge, and is likely playing Magic: The Gathering as I write this. But I will not give up. I will make him realize what he has. This is my gift. My curse.

Saturday, January 24, 2004


I got up at around 6AM today (umm...it's Saturday) in order to attend a health care talk by a certain former vice president/2000 election "loser". I was pretty hopeful about this (hell I woke up that damn early on a Saturday, so it had to be something good), because I knew he was involved in health care reform and might have some good points to make regarding what needs to be done in the future to save the mess that is the US health care system. Also, I figured that if there was anyone in the know who had less to lose by actually going out on a limb and making some bold statements regarding this very controversial issue, it's this guy. Because let's face it, he's got nothing else to do but listen to Tipper (ugh) and admire his hot daughters (woo woo).

He arrived and made some surprisingly entertaining jokes, most in reference to his newfound status (3 years post-election is apparently still "newfound" in politics) as a private citizen and all of the anti-perks that go with it. Then, in a typical akward manner, he somehow related mad cow disease, Tennesee, dark matter, and being screened at the airport to each other ALL to the problem of US health care spending about 200 billion dollars/year on administrative paperwork. Still not quite sure how he pulled that one off, but he undoubtedly had been working on that and left it in his lock box for the right time. At this point, 8:30 AM, I was entertained, and I figured something good was going to come out of this.

Then came the powerpoint presentation. While I know that important people are very busy, I also know that our friend here got paid a serious amount of cash to make a one hour appearance here. Given that, you'd think he would have shown the courtesy of at least either a) reading his speech beforehand (a quote from one my friends who worked on this event: "He arrived 15 min ago and hasn't looked at his speech yet") or b) reading the powerpoint slides beforehand (part of his speechtime consisted of reading the slides verbatim to us, or standing there in silence while he read the slide in his head and figured out what the hell was on it). Now I understand this guy has a lot on his mind: 2000 election, being upstaged by Bill and Hillary, his hot daughters, etc. But honestly, we're not dealing with someone of the dynamic public speaking ability of Winston Churchill. Maybe Winston's younger, slower, more akward brother, but definitely not Winston. He was moving his joints so violently while he spoke I was expecting a mechanic to walk in halfway through to put some oil in him.

And yet, to this point, I almost expected something like this. I wasn't expecting anything dynamic, and I wasn't expecting a perfectly delivered speech, so all of the above disappointment is just me rambling on like usual. What really bugged me about this speech was the content, or lack thereof. He very deliberately went through the history of American health care and how it related to our values. He pointed to the major problems in the current system and why the current approach of patchwork legislation is not a good idea. He even went so far as to endorse a certain Democratic candidate who he felt could lead to the big changes in the healthcare system that we so desperately need.

The only problem is this: he never went out on a limb to actually descibe what he meant by big changes. He never gave a plan. Never expanded on a system. Nothing. Zip. Zero. During the question/answer session, someone went up there and asked him (excuse my paraphrasing), "...you've done a great job recounted the problems...but where is your plan? What are your ideas for how to fix it?" This was responded to with a 10 minute answer in which he weaved, ducked, and glided by any statement of substance, saying something vague about how us future doctors can lead the way to reform. He put up his "solution" slide that basically amounted to "Health care now bad. In future we make good health care. Now bad. Future good." without one damn proposal or original idea on the whole slide. He very vaguely hinted at a national health system, but didn't even come close to addressing how to fix the problems/concens people have with it now, only going so far as to say that it is the lesser evil when compared to what we have now. Umm. That's the best answer you can give? "Well we think it probably might not suck as bad as what we have now. Maybe."

In retrospect, I probably should not have expected much. After all, he is a career politician, and he thus falls in line with what I think of every career politician who has actually obtained high levels of power: somewhere along the line said individuals HAD to have sold out or given up ideals (or however you want to put it) in order to get the votes and kiss the biggest (and often richest) asses. However, from my perspective, the former VP is now at the point where he can say whatever the hell he wants and not have to deal with political ramifications, because he is the ultimate of has-beens who still has the luxury of having a lot of people wanting to listen to what he has to say. He had the chance to show some balls and detail a plan that he has supposedly been working on. Lay it all out there and spark some debate among a group of people heavily invested in this topic (the medical professionals). Instead, he did what all politicians do: bullshit their way out of tough questions and come out without having said/done/achieved what they claimed they would. And the saddest part of it all is that he is not even a politician anymore. Typical.

Monday, January 19, 2004

The Little Things

Maybe it's because I just came back from my first funeral (for a family friend), but I have this sudden urge to evaluate my life as non-sarcastically as possible. I want to see if I'm really enjoying life, because it is now very clear to me that I should enjoy it while it's around. After thinking about that for a while, I came up with some things that make me feel good about all this. Since this is supposed to be about medical school, I'll limit it to medical related things:

You may be aware from some of my previous entries that there is a significant number of people in medical school who blow. You have the losers, the tools, the premed meds, the ass kissers, the morons, the fakes...ok I could go on forever (and have in the past...See 'If Darwin Only Knew'). But at my medical school, I never get the chance to give props to the people that make it all worthwhile. Yes, the left section of the class is full of every type of person who simply enjoys making fun of the rest of the class. I haven't had this much fun at the expense of others since watching my Giants fans during game 6 of the 2002 world series. Medical school lectures might be boring, but this area of the class is always entertaining. Whether its monkey noises every time question-girl starts talking in class, or those oh so appropriate rounds of clapping to terminate lecture before people have a chance to ask stupid questions and keep us in during break, I salute you. To those of you disgusted by this act of mockery, I say...ah you'll never understand anyways. Jackass.

Furthermore, I really enjoy those small coincidences that make medical school teaching so akward and fun. For instance, I am in a small group for this one thing. Currently led by a respectable doctor. Whose daughter was a year below me at college. And an incredible slut. He might be talking about something medically related, but all I hear is "I have no idea but my daughter is a ho-bag". I think he's starting to wonder why I have this moronic smile on my face when he talks to me. Ah whatever. Good times.

There is a lot more mockery that makes medical school almost bearable, but I'm busy watching people make fools of themselves on national television on American Idol.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Easing In

So after 2.5 weeks of fun filled vacation full of sitting on my ass and the occasional debauchery in Las Vegas during New Years, I actually felt ready to go back to school. I figured I had enough sleep and I was right on that border where boredom goes from something sought after and something extremely annoying. Yes, medical school was just what I needed to get myself going again.

However, 6:12 AM comes along and I finally get my ass out of bed. From this point on, the previous paragraph does not apply. After getting over the initial confusion that "6 AM" even exists, I got my shit together and did my religious-y thing (yay tefillin) and was off to class. I looked all around me and saw all the faces of people I, for the most part, didn't really know all that well in the first place. Then I sat down and proceeded to struggle through four (yes, four) straight lectures. Good Lord. We covered many a topic, none of which I was paying particular attention too. Although, I did appreciate the irony that no sooner do I come back from Vegas than I get a lecture on alcohol metabolism/abuse followed by another on taking a sexual history. My plans for my next Vegas trip include going up to a girl and saying (in a distinguished tone, no less), "Excuse me, I'm a doctor. I need to take a sexual history of you stat! Quick, take off your clothes!".

OK that was dumb...moving on...

Four lectures is painful enough. But that would just make for a wasted half-a-day. Instead, I got to have my whole day ruined. I had two more hours of histopathology lab to look forward to...except it didn't start until 3 PM. One half-assed workout and lunch later, I entered lab and became thorougly confused for two hours. Hepatocyte what? Chronic pancreatitis who? Fuck if I know. They sure don't mention this shit in the "Why You Should Be A Doctor" packet. Class ended at 5:15 PM, and not a moment too soon. I don't know how the hell I made it through high school, doing this kind of schedule every freaking day.

The moral of the story is that now it is about 6:45PM. I have no food. I am already ridiculously behind in my work after just one day. And I have anatomy tomorrow. Where we will be removing the intestines. Oh did I mention that when you die, a whole wad of shit stays in your intestines, only to fester and rot until some unsuspecting schmuck of a medical student has to take them out of you and expose them and all their rankness for all to smell?

Gotta love how they ease you in to each new block. So when is spring break again?