ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: May 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006

Project Run Away

(From This Job)

Ah, summer time. The days are longer, the weather is beautiful, and a new batch of third year medical students are thrown mercilessly to the lions (and by lions I mean…lions – there’s some crazy shit that goes down at the hospitals these days, people –OK that made no sense at all…moving on). With that in mind, I thought I’d do a little public service and guide these new third year students in the one arena that no one talks about but perhaps yields the most anxiety: fashion. Don’t let my shoddy and immature wardrobe fool you – I am a master of medical fashion. Since I am too ridiculously attractive to actually model (the tragedy of humiliating all of my lesser co-models is just too much to bear), I brought in one of my good buddies I met on Google Image Search to model for me, and I will point out some key elements of his look for you:


1. White Out- It is no doubt a testament to the longevity of the white coat that it can remain some shade of white after all sorts of grime, excrement, sexually transmitted diseases, urine, and other quality patient spewage ends up on it during the course of any given day. If you think the bedspreads of your average Las Vegas Motel 6 are bad, I bet a microscopic analysis of your white coat would yield enough questionable material to make the CDC squirm and Monica Lewinsky kneel for joy (a little retro 90’s humor there…for the kids). So wear that white coat with pride, because it is going to take a lot of pride to explain to your significant other that you got syphilis from the white coat and not from that slutty nurse on the Peds floor. In fact, it’s remarkable how over the last nine months my white coat has gradually shifted from a blinding white towards a healthy shade of gray, with some yellow around the collar. It’s also remarkable that this nastiness still hasn’t made me feel bad enough to wash the damn thing more than once. I would like to point out, for the ladies, that my bed remains sparklingly clean and large (large enough for two or, dare I say it, three people). OK I’ll stop.

2. Shoes – You are going to be on your feet. A lot. You know, when you’re running to the hospital cafeteria to get coffee for your residents, when you’re running away from the hospital cafeteria after a bout of explosive diarrhea (yet you still go for the pollo bowl day after day...remarkable), or when you’re running right into a wall because you weren’t paying attention to where you were going in the first place. The trick, then, is comfort over style. Unfortunately for me, The Man (in this case taking the shape of…well pretty much everyone) won’t let me stroll around in my most comfortable foot attire, flip-flops, which means I had to do some exploring before coming up with the right shoes. And, with a hint of sadness, I am forced to report that those shoes are clogs. Yes, they look kind of stupid and you might be mistaken for a Van Der Slutwhore Danish beast from time to time, but they are pretty comfortable and you can move your feet in and out of them while standing for seven hours doing nothing during a Whipple procedure. Of course, I should note that after emitting such a strong and foul odor from your socks after taking them out of the clogs during the surgery, you will find that clogs also great for running away from people too, as you will no doubt be desperately fleeing from your angry residents.

3. I just wanted to point out the fact that this man has no penis. Just look at him. That is all.

4. Over The Shoulder Boulder Jackass - Among the many mistakes that third year medical students are prone to commit, this one is arguably the worst offense: the dreaded "I'm going to wrap this stethoscope around my neck because it looks cool and it makes me look like a doctor" maneuver. Let me clarify two things for you. First, you will never look cool. That's why you are in medical school in the first place and not working for a top secret government agency kicking terrorist ass (Am I allowed to say that I have a non-sexual crush on Jack Bauer? There, I said it anyways. And yet, somehow I’m still single.). Second, if all it took was wrapping a stethoscope around your neck to make you look like a doctor, then I wouldn’t have spent the last three years complaining about how miserable my life is and just wrapped the damn thing around my neck. I used to think that it was pretty harsh of residents and attendings to give medical students crap for this behavior, but now that I've been around the block (fine, I've admired the block from a safe distance) I understand why they get so upset: We don't have the slightest fucking clue how to act 99% of the time, so faking like we look like we know how to act only makes us look even stupider 100% of the time. In other words, just shove the damn thing in your pocket and end it.

5. Respect – History is filled with lines. The Mason-Dixon Line. The Mendoza Line. The Line of Coke snorted by our current President in the days of yore (with the off chance that yore includes yesterday). With these lines in mind, I thought I’d introduce a new one: The Respectability Line. Below this line, your white coat will flow gloriously down past your knees, affording you a level of respect (i.e. women) you probably do not deserve but will receive regardless of the circumstances. Above this line, you are cast away with the other medical students, respiratory technicians, pharmacy technicians, and Beverly Hills manicurists forced to wear the dreaded short white coat, which, much like the love children of Kevin Federline and Britney Spears, will not be garnering much respect (i.e. women…or anything for that matter).

6. Facial Form - Wipe that stupid grin off your face. Nothing says “I want to punch that prick medical student in the face” quite like a stupid “Golly gee willickers I’m just so happy to be here and learn and be involved and do all your scut work” smile. OK maybe that’s just me. I need a vacation.

7. Clipboard – It is hard to keep track of all your patients and keep your notes organized without one of these trusty clipboards at your disposal. They let you hold onto everything from lab reports to progress notes in one convenient package. They also let you read the sports section or admire a selection from your vast collection of hardcore porn during rounds while still making it look like you are intently focused on knowing every detail about your patients. Hypothetically speaking, of course. Just so you know, it is actually t-minus one year and two days before I can start prescribing medications.

8. The Pocket – I have saved the most important part of the puzzle for last. As the third year medical student, you are expected to come in handy. Since you don’t know how to actually do anything, “come in handy” really means “make it so that we don’t have to get stuff ourselves”. Practically speaking, this means that you must have the following items shoved into any and every pocket at your disposal or risk suffering a fate worse than death (this fate may or may not be referring to a blind date with me): enough pens to supply a small army of residents, a ruler, pencils, a reflex hammer, the Pocket Medicine book, your trusty PDA, your stethoscope (uh huh), extra progress notes, extra radiology forms, porn, extra order forms, Maxwell’s, rectal lubricant, gauze, scissors, surgical tape, your badges, more rectal lubricant, notes, assorted prescription guides, scratch paper, whatever remains of your dignity, the latest articles from JAMA, lucky charms, buckets of rectal lubricant, the Classifieds section (wishful thinking), a patient census, an ophthalmoscope, a tuning fork, a regular fork, and, of course, extra porn. In other words, if you are able to wear your white coat and stand up at the same time, you do not have enough stuff in your white coat. Stop whatever it is that you are doing and report to the nurses station for immediate refills of rectal lubricant and porn.

There you have it, fashion advice from the fashion guru himself. Go forth, young third years, and remember: it’s not how smart you are that counts, it’s how good you can fake how smart you are that counts. And dressing smart is half the battle. Sorry, GI Joe, knowing is overrated.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Go Crazy? Don't Mind If I Do!

They say that it is impossible to leave a patient encounter without some part of that patient rubbing off on you. After one week in a schizophrenia ward, I say they are a bunch of assholes. Let me explain.

I started working on this ward last Tuesday, choosing it based on its strong reputation of being a great place to learn, to work with interesting people, and to consistently stroll in at 9:00 AM and get out at 1:00 PM every day. Amid a sea of psychotics, I was quickly assigned to two patients, one a manic depressive on a downer so low that he may actually be more depressed than me at a hot shiksa convention (otherwise known as EVERYWHERE…gah!), and another with dementia manifesting as psychotic behavior. Swell.

Observing the proceedings of schizophrenics, I quickly started collecting some of the interesting things that occurred. Some like to punch themselves in the leg. Some are convinced of massive government conspiracies. Some have a penchant for flattery, perppering conversations with remarks about my greatness as a doctor and horrifically flammable farts. Meanwhile, some like to get caught masturbating all around the ward, rubbing their privates in every which way for any passers-by. Lovely.

As each day in this ward has gone by, as I have been surrounded by more and more people with all sorts of delusions about wire-tapping, government agents, being followed, talking angels, leprechauns (OK, OK, that’s not all true…you can’t be a paranoid schizophrenic about government wire-tapping when, in reality, you are actually being wire-tapped), I am noticing a change in my own perception, one not obvious to me until my stroll to the gym this afternoon (“gym” being my code word for “the hospital that I never left during the entire day until 5:00 PM”, of course). Yikes.

Walking down the street, I brushed by a gentleman standing by a pole. I thought nothing of it at first, but soon I found myself thinking about how odd it was that he was wearing a formal suit with dark sunglasses during an otherwise dreary, cloudy day. I kept walking, but when I turned to look behind me he was following me from behind. Weird. I kept walking, faster now, but he was still behind me, keeping pace. Shit.

I made it to the center part of campus where there was a big crowd, and I ran into someone from my class. We chatted for a moment before we went our separate ways, but I couldn’t help but notice that not only was that Sunglasses Guy still behind me, but also there were a few random people nearby giving me funny looks. The kind of funny looks you give someone when they are talking to themselves. The kind of funny looks I give to the transients at Starbucks I see talking to themselves on a regular basis. Then I started wondering whether that classmate didn’t even exist, that I was going nuts, that I was losing my mind just like John Nash did, sans the mathematical genius or ability to score a hot chick who, by virtue of having dark hair, was also obviously smart.

I’m sure there’s a good lesson to take from this. Some would probably throw around ideas of transference and counter-transference or different fancy shmancy big psychiatric words. Others might tell me about my engrams and how I too could be a certifiably insane movie star. I don’t really know. However, I do know that I have another four weeks to go on my psychiatry rotation, and I’m more than a little worried that I’m going to have to check myself in before it’s all said and done.

But, if nothing else, there is one lasting lesson to remember: when they say that part of a patient rubs off on you, at least make sure they don’t mean that literally, because they could be referring to the dude who masturbates in public and it’d be a shame to stain your otherwise impeccably clean white coat.


P.S. Extra points for anyone who can name the person I am quoting in the title and the context in which this person makes this statement. And by extra points I mean a seat next to me and my Queen Amidala doll (Best. Gag Hanukah Gift. Ever.) at the Dorkiest People Alive convention.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Medical Myth Busters: Penetrating Grey's Anatomy

Myth #47: There is at least a minute shred of truth to the drama depicted on Grey’s Anatomy.

OK, everyone loves this show. The drama. The romance. The medical conflicts. The girl from Old School. I’m sure if I weren’t intimately reminded on a daily basis of how unrealistic this show is, I’d enjoy it too (well, let me rephrase that to read “I’d enjoy it as only a superbly masculine male could enjoy watching a female-geared prime time network drama”). However, I am intimately reminded on a daily basis of how unrealistic this show is, and I simply cannot enjoy the show for what it is as a result (and, lets face it, I’m not that manly). With that pretext set forth, I thought it’d be useful to document what I mean by all this. I know I’ve touched on this show in the past, but to really do it justice I decided to dissect the show and reveal it for what it is was by forcing you into my clinically depressed mind while I force myself to watch this show (spoiler alert):

9:59 PM – Why are there fingers on the floor? Oh, wait, wrong show. But Desperate Housewives also apparently has a spooky female voice-over (who, I should add, sounds a lot hotter than the chain-smoking creaky whiney voice over on Grey’s Anato-wait, that’s Grey? Jesus, someone buy that girl a nicotene patch.)

10:01 PM – Speaking of creaky, phlegm-ridden voice-overs…

10:02 PM – OK, here comes the ruckus (and it only took two minutes!): I don’t know what surgery program these guys go to, but how the fuck do all these people have all that free time to all hang out together, wide-awake and bushy-tailed ? Un-fucking-believable. Get out of that damn bar, assholes, you have surgeries to do. Lets do the math here. If there are five interns in the entire surgery class and four of them are at a bar, then that means that this show is full of shit.

10:03 PM – Hey, it’s really nice that they finally gave George a love inte-holy crap she’s hideous. On the plus side, at least they finally casted someone who actually looks like a surgeon. Yikes.

10:05 PM – This makes no sense at all. Why are all of the surgery interns working up all of the patients in the ER? Don’t they have other doctors for that? Doctors who specialize in emergencies? The ones who deal with patients who arrive in ambulances? What are they called again? Gosh, I’m having some trouble here. Oh, that’s right, emergency room physicians. You know, call me crazy but I think they made a show about them, too. You’ll have to double-check for me.

10:10 PM – It looks like I’m not the only person who got a haircut that’s too short. George is sporting a doozy here. Damn you, Supercuts, damn you and your ruthless efficiency combined with sub par technical skills!

10:13 PM – It’s really cute that the hot blond doctor (Izzy) found a dreamy patient to become attached to. It reminds me of all the beautiful patients I’ve met and have since become attracted to and/or had sex with. Especially the dreamy heart failure ones at the big county hospitals. I should also add that my nose just tripled in size in the time it took me to type this out.

10:15 PM – Patient to Doctor: “You’re very, very bitter.” Finally, an ounce of truth!

10:21 PM – George’s girlfriend is laying into Grey about something. She seems pretty angry. In fact, I think George’s girlfriend might eat Grey. Maybe this show isn’t all that bad after all.

10:24 PM – It’s a good thing the blond chick is lying about a heart transplant and superseding all sorts of regulations and protocol for the purpose of quality drama and saving her patient/lover’s life. It’s also nice she has all that free time to do this. Reminds me of all that free time I had on my surgery rotation…you know, after we rounded on 40 patients and spent the entire day and night in the OR.

10:30 PM – The parents of a patient are screaming at George. Everyone screams at him. Maybe it’s because, as an intern, he has the chutzpah to interrupt an attending who is talking to the family of a brain dead patient about cutting off life support. In other words, the first time that happens in real life at any surgery program in any hospital in the world would also be the last, as the poor intern would be decapitated by the attending on the spot.

10:32 PM – Doesn’t this Izzy girl remind you of that ridiculously amazingly hot girl you knew in high school/college/your dreams, who’s beauty was only matched by her profound instability? The girl untouchable to all but the richest and hottest of your peers but also already on four or five anti-depressent medications and/or heavy narcotics? But you didn’t mind because she was so hot, except then you found out five years later that she was actually insane and in a rehab hospital somewhere? P.S. I still love you, Andrea, you crazy crazy bitch

10:40 PM – OK, it’s really cute that Izzy is going the extra mile for her patient, but she’s still an intern, right? She has to have had SOMETHING else she should have been doing over the last four or five HOURS. This girl is fucking crazy (and not that good of an actress, to boot). Kids, today's word of the day is “perseveration”. What's that, you want me to use it in a sentence? OK: Izzy is a crazy bitch.

10:46 PM – She’s a neonatologist, she’s an obstetrician, she’s a pediatric surgeon, she's a gynecologist, she’s a specialist in medical genetics. If you actually did the math on the amount of training it would take this Addison lady to accomplish all these things, she’d also be pushing 50. Stupid stupid stupid. No wonder that Dr. McDreamy or Dr. McDouchebag or whatever was all over Grey, at least she still has a pulse.

10:51 PM – Look, George seems like a nice guy. Really, he does. And I should be the last person to bash him after some of my (now former) friends compared me to him. But, people, George is way too big a sap/pussy/wuss to ever be confused with a surgeon. Period. Take it to the bank. No doubt. Let me reinforce this point: there is no way, NO WAY, a person of George’s persuasion becomes a surgeon, much less a surgeon at a large academic institution. Fin.

10:54 PM – Uh oh, here comes another voice over…with accompanying crappy music. I wish I had a voice-over person narrating and moralizing my life at regular intervals while I walked around the hospital. It’d probably sound like a grumpy old man with a thick Eastern European accent saying things like “Sometimes in life you have to learn how to suppress your innermost feelings and – Oy vey zmir, who wrote this shmutz? Feh on all of you. I have a prostate the size of New York and my back is killing me, I don’t have time to think about this garbage. Where is the bathroom?” while the instrumentals for “If I Were A Rich Man” played in the background. I realize this is probably only funny to me. Sorry.

10:55 PM – I think what George’s girlfriend meant by “I love you” was “ME BEAST EAT CRAWWWWG!”

10:57 PM – I cannot even begin to explain to you how ridiculously unbelievable a scenario this whole “lets fake kill the patient to get him a heart” thing is. Honestly, there are no words to explain how ridiculous this is. Where are the nurses? The techs? The dude who brings the food? Another human being who might have an inkling something is going on? No words. My head might explode.


Well, another thrilling episode is in the books. I hope I managed to convey at least some idea of why this show is just too much to swallow, just too far removed from reality for me to enjoy. Although, there is a two hour season fin-wait…it’s tomorrow. At 9 PM? Jack Bauer might have something to say about that. Or maybe he was the guy who shot that surgeon dude in the parking lot at the end of the episode? Now that’s entertainment.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tragedy Of The Common Foot

There is an epidemic sweeping across our great country, one so vile and malicious that none dare speak its name, but all know its horrific face. Worse than SARS, deadlier than the avian flu, and more mind-numbingly disturbing than the sight of Tom Cruise at a psychiatry convention or even a straight bar. Yes, I am speaking of that scourge that is filling up outpatient clinics as far as the eye can see…onychomycosis.

Huh?

Oh, sorry. For those non-medical types out there, onychomycosis is a big word for “nail fungal infection” (and just in case any attractive Jewish females are interested in learning more big medical words, let me know and we’ll set up a…uhh…private tutoring session – admit it, you missed these shameless attempts, didn’t you?). Much like the Macarena, any and every cast member in the history of The Real World, and Ryan Seacrest, nail fungus is contaminating every ounce of self-respect and/or nails of the Earth’s inhabitants, a horribly disfiguring sight to behold that simply refuses to die. People are coming from near and far to have their feet examined by doctors, hoping that the medical establishment can provide a lasting panacea for this ailment.

Actually, let me rephrase that last sentence: People are coming from near and far to have their feet examined by doctors, who themselves are so utterly bored and disinterested with looking at nail fungus that every case of nail fungus gets dumped onto the lap of a hapless medical student (that’s code for “me”) for inspection, palpation, smell, taste, and management. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, over the last few weeks spent working in various outpatient clinics, I have been blinded by hundreds of hygiene-oppressed nails, drowned in a sea of green nastiness, submerged in a swamp of crunchy fungal nail chips.

There is a bigger problem, however, with this disease and the people who keep bothering me about it. Before I explain, please understand that nail fungus has caused me more grief, anxiety, nightmares involving the Jolly Green Giant (who force-feeds me his jolly green infested toenails, in case you're curious), and flashbacks of losing to the most notorious fungus there is, Toad, time and time again (damn you, Patty, and your exquisite video game skills!). The fundamental problem, ladies and gentlemen, is this:

WE CAN’T DO A DAMN THING ABOUT YOUR NAIL FUNGUS, SO PLEASE JUST LEAVE US ALONE.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Seriously, if I see another chief complaint of "nail fungus" I'm going to lose whatever is left of my mind.

Surely, you’re thinking “But I have nail fungus and my doctor gave me stuff for it, so this moron must be lying and stupid and a poo-poo head, not to mention a total insensitive arrogant prick who-“. OK, I get it. Sure, maybe your doctor gave you a cream to apply to the fungus. Did he or she mention that you need to put the cream on every day for about six months for it to have the slightest chance of working? That most of the time it doesn’t work anyways? That the average patient can’t remain compliant on anything for more than a few weeks, so asking someone to apply cream to one’s hideously deformed toes for months at a time has about as much chance of happening as Natalie Portman expressing her passionate love for me via a fan e-mail?

“Wait, I thought there was some pill I could take?” Yes, there is. Except that pill might also do a really nasty number on your liver, and since there’s a pretty solid chance that you’re a raging drunk hepatitis-infected diabetic with assorted personal hygiene and aging issues only Anna Nicole Smith could love, we can’t give you this medication (which, I should add, you’d also have to take for a long time) without risking serious damage to your liver and our pocketbooks when your liver fails and you sue every last penny from our debt-ridden pockets.

In other words, please, I implore you, rethink your decision about going to your doctor for an evaluation of the majestic floral tapestry growing on your toenails. Think of the poor medical student, left to combat this raging epidemic, frightened, horrified, and sadly alone in his or her fight. Think of the nightmares, the stress, the tragedy of it all.

And, lastly, think of this guy*. OK, that has nothing to do with anything, but I saw his site and couldn’t resist plugging it.


*No, that’s not me. Asshole.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Medical Myth Busters

Myth #291: Being a doctor is unlike any other job.

After my freshman year of college, I took a job at a large aerospace firm because, well, it should be obvious to you by now that I am a slut for money, and this particular company offered to pay me ridiculous amounts of money to play Hollywood Stock Exchange and Snood with my cubicle-mate for an entire summer (in case you’re keeping score, that’s Effeminate Loser 2, Maintaining Any Sense of Dignity 0). However, while at this job I couldn’t help but notice that the hierarchy of this company reflected the ultimate stereotype of corporate life, such that the people at the top were inconsiderate fools and everyone else did their best jobs to smooch any open orifice these fools had in order to get ahead at the expense of their collegues, sheer incompetence not really playing into who did or did not get promoted. In essence, one summer at this job taught me that Office Space was far more realistic than I could have ever imagined.

Nuts to that, I declared triumphantly (to no one in particular, prompting the tragic "Oy our son is crazy!" fiasco of 2000...don't ask) at the conclusion of that summer. After speaking with enough doctors and medical students over the next few years, I started getting the impression that such hierarchical nonsense did not really happen in medicine, because everyone was equal, all colleagues singing songs and holding hands in a valiant display of mutual respect as they circled around a campfire burning with love (and maybe some fire).

Unfortunately, I have learned that this campfire does not exist, but instead is a mirage meant to disguise a disappointing reality. Case in point, last Thursday, when I was subjected to yet another afternoon with a certain attending at an endocrinology clinic who enjoys nothing more than embarrassing me in front of patients as much as possible. I have grown accustomed to such treatment, which usually goes something like this:

Attending: And what do you think is going on here?
Me: [Another brilliant explanation]
Attending: You couldn’t be further from the truth! [Laughs at me while patting patient on the back, who also begins laughing and pointing his or her finger at me]

Fine. I’m over it. However, last Thursday we were joined in clinic by an endocrinology fellow (meaning he had completed medical school and a residency, putting him at least five years ahead of me in training) there to help out. I introduced myself to him like so:

Me: Hi, I’m the third year with you in clinic today.
Fellow: OK. Third year resident?
Me: No, medical student.
Fellow (disgusted): Oh lord.

Lovely. Clinic was moving along rather slowly, so I decided to join the fellow while he did a work-up on a new patient. There were not enough chairs in the room, so I was forced to stand in a poorly ventilated room for an hour and a half while this fellow fumbled through a history and physical, taking forever on a task that even a moronic third year medical student could have done in half the time (and me in less than an hour, tops). Yet, I kept my mouth shut and just suffered through it.

I saw the next patient on my own, finishing the workup in about 30 minutes. I presented to the attending and we saw the patient together for another 15 minutes, for a complete workup total of 45 minutes. While walking out of the room, the fellow approached me from across the hall and, under his breath, spewed out rather angrily “What the hell took you so long? You're still on that patient?” Excuse me?

Soon thereafter, we had seen all the patients in clinic. The attending began his “You can leave” speech, but the fellow interrupted him and asked a lengthy academic question that served no purpose other than to signify his fondness for the attending’s rectum, because this question directly resulted in the attending saying the magic(ally horrific) words, “Why, I have some slides on that! Let’s go to my office and I’ll give a little talk!”

Seriously, kill me now. I followed them into the office and sat through the talk, the bulk of which consisted of the attending spending almost 30 minutes trying to explain a relatively simple concept to the fellow, who was so dimwitted he simply could not get it. Again, recognizing my place in the world, I just kept my mouth shut while the attending and the fellow went back and forth trying to tease out what was clearly stated on a stupid powerpoint slide. When the fellow finally got it, the attending realized that I had been silent for a while now, which led to the following exchange:

Attending: OK, does that make sense now?
Fellow: Thank you so much for that talk, that was really great!
Attending: Well, it looks like our friend here [pointing at me] is not really interested in our intellectual conversation, how about we call it a day for him?
[Attending and fellow laugh at me]

Ladies and gentlemen, the medical world is not some fanciful place wholly different from the corporate world, the legal world, or any other economic or social construct. The same rules of success apply, whether that means sucking up, making other people look bad, or doing whatever it takes to get ahead. I was probably just a victim of being especially naïve, but I honestly believed that there was something fundamentally different to the medical hierarchy, that even though there was a totem pole, people did not have the same pressure to abuse that pole at the expense of their colleagues in real-life practical settings.

Even more so, I learned that currently I am not merely at the bottom of the totem pole. The totem pole is mercilessly beating me across the head, smashing my insides out and my outsides in, and smothering any shred of dignity that might remain after you account for those ridiculous short white coats they make us wear and the aforementioned Snood I used to play from time to time.

Being a doctor may be unlike any other job in the world, as we are privy to the private experiences, fears, and hopes people would not share with almost any other soul…but, paradoxically, being a doctor is also just like every other job in the world, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I did not appreciate this until now.


Next time, I shall ruthlessly debunk Myth #47: There is at least a minute shred of truth to the drama depicted on Grey’s Anatomy.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Close Encounters

When I received two separate emails from pre-meds asking for my advice on how to pick a medical school within a day of each other, I was flattered (albeit just a wee bit disappointed that they clearly had not been paying attention to anything I’ve been writing the last three [sigh] years about this whole doctor thing). When I found out that one of the schools they were both considering happened to be the school I am currently attending, I was motivated to give them whatever first-hand advice I could come up with. When I learned that both were going to be in town for my school’s revisit day, I figured I’d offer to meet up with them to discuss the situation in person rather than ramble on and on over the course of a five page email with a whole mess of confusing advice in a vast array of run-on sentences and misplaced paragraphs that they probably would find worthless, senseless, and utterly wasteful anyways (irony, that’s your cue). Besides, such a lengthy email would take me way away from my otherwise bustling social life.

Yet, right after agreeing to meet with them it occurred to me that I have absolutely no idea who these people are. I forgot for a moment that while I started writing this nonsense/blog as a means to vent and entertain both my mom and my imaginary friends, there are other (real) people out there who read it now, and some of them have what could only be described as a violent hatred for...well…me. Would they be normal? Would they reveal stalker tendencies previously developed on myspace and facebook? Would they forcefully strap me down and perform yet another circumcision on me as a means of teaching me some twisted and still pointless lesson?

With some trepidation, I met up with these two prospective medical students…and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, the fact that I’m still alive right now would have been good enough for me. They both seemed like great people, and after drowning them in a verbal ocean of my useless advice, I actually feel bad that I probably served no purpose for them whatsoever.

I was, however, troubled by one thing: one of the students told me that, in a mock PBL session done that morning, a different prospective medical student asked the facilitator/faculty member a question that went something like “So there’s this third year at your school who has a blog and he says [something about everything sucking].” OK, while I am amazingly flattered that I have that sort of influence and have reached this degree of C-level Internet quasi-celebrity, please, please, PLEASE do me a favor and do not bring up these sorts of things in front of those sorts of people. I don’t have a book deal to fall back on, people.

Regardless, I hope these two future medical students come to a peaceful decision about their medical school choice. I hope I didn’t scare them away from my school because this school could use a few decent people like them. Most importantly, I hope that future readers do not feel concerned about contacting me with whatever question they may have, and I’m over my fear about meeting random people through this blog should the situation present itself. Unless of course you want to talk about circumcision, in which case why don’t you talk to this guy instead?