ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: June 2004

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Gomers Galore And Some Racial Love

As part of the continually strong effort to expose us to loads of different clinical situations as first years (one part of this new curriculum business I actually appreciate), today I was assigned to do a geriatric visit at the local VA Hospital. Now, I already know that old people depress the hell out of me. I also know that sick old people REALLY depress the hell out of me. Little kids I can see sick and not be sad (if anything, I see that as a challenge to make them feel better - hence my growing realization that I should be doing stuff with kids and not adults, besides the fact that they are on a more similar maturity level to me). But old people? Bleh. So needless to say, this was not the best attitude to go into this visit.

We arrived and were given instructions on what to do. I was assigned to interview/assess a patient with my now 19 year old counterpart. We look for our patient in his room, but it turns out he is at the main level playing bingo. The views upon entering the bingo room were pretty pathetic. Many sad, sick, and lonely gomers trying to keep up with the guy announcing the numbers. Our patient sat at a table by himself, looking like a pro. We introduced ourselves and I began to ask some of the basic medical history questions.

Well. He was having none of that. He went off on this bizarro philosophical journey, going all over the place while he complained about a) how we were incompetent because he couldn't figure out what the point of what we were doing was (I'll give him that one), b) the service at the hospital, and c) the other inmat-urr...patients (he pointed to one elderly man, who was wandering around confused and holding up his pants - "Now you see that guy? He always holds on to his pants. No one knows why, but he won't let go. What's the deal?"). Literally 1.5 hours later, we had gotten some parts of a basic history and done a halfassed general depression questionairre (depressed? check.) and mini-mental status exam (not all there? check.). We held up the rest of the group by 30min, not on our own accord but more because this guy would not stop talking. It was unreal.

It turns out that the medical fellows knew that he was a very difficult patient, but they must have known it was us two doing the interview and thought "Ah fuck it. Let these bastards deal with this guy.". Somehow, I feel like all the bad karma I built up talking shit about people, both retarded and otherwise, is starting to rear its ugly head.

However, this was only a precusor to perhaps the greatest unintentional comedy event in the history of mankind (at least I think so). Walking out of the VA, I was accompanied by two Indian classmates and one African-American classmate (I, alas, am of the pasty white Jewish persuasion). We were chatting about something unrelated to anything and this African-American guy in a wheelchair rolls up to us and starts talking. Seems like a really interesting guy. Complemented us on our career choice, because he said he couldn't imagine doing all that studying in those difficult topics. Nice.

Then, while analyzing the medical profession, he turned to me and started at me for about 10 seconds before saying,

"It's really nice to see more people of color entering the medical field."

I froze.

Now, I can think of a couple of possibilites for what was going on here:
1. He hates whitey, and wanted to make sure I knew it. Not much I can do about that, but he said it so matter of factly and devoid of emotion that I'd have a hard time believing he wanted to make me feel really bad.
2. He's one confused soul with messed up vision. I'm really that white, folks.

Anyways, maybe this wasn't as amusing as it seemed at the time, but hey this is better than studying.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Quick Note

So I just set up a thing so that you can post comments on my idiotic ramblings. Click on the little comments thing at the bottom of the post you want to tear apart, and embarrass me to your heart's content.

Grasping At Straws

Let me begin by saying that I have absolutely no idea what the phrase "grasping at straws" means, other than that as far as I know, it is used in a literary to denote when someone is attempting to do something but is stuck in a futile cycle and cannot actually make any progress. I mean, was someone just sitting around one day, reaching for straws at a restaurant and not getting any, only to lower his head in shame and ponder on the great mystery of grasping for a straw? Who comes up with this shit? I have no idea. The important thing is that I stop rambling and make a point, because it's been about a month since I last made a point.

I have entered my 11th month of medical school, going on the longest school year I have ever experienced. But on the first week of the 11th month, an odd thing occurred to me. I was sitting in lecture and I discovered that I had absolutely no idea what day it was. Thursday? Friday? I have never felt so disoriented in my life, and you're reading something by a guy who said on his sister's bat mitzvah video "hey it's your sister here". From this initial moment of disorientation, I looked back on the last few months and realized the entire thing was a blur. I have been going through the motions for so long, but the added fatigue has clouded me up so much that I can't even keep track of basic things. Pretty soon I'm going to forget to put my pants on.

Anyways, maybe there really was no point to this at all, but I think that 11 months straight of school is a bit much for this guy, because I am pooped and I never even do any work in the first place so I can't imagine what other people in our class must be feeling like. Basically, I just feel like some schumck sitting at a restaurant trying to grasp at a straw but not being able to.

In other news, remember that average movie with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage called Face/Off? With that ridiculous premise about changing faces? Well. Enjoy.
Also, I would like to give a shout out to my fellow classmate David, who happened upon my blog and noticed that much of my writings concern him and his now 19 year old pursuits to get ass. He decided to start his own blog in my honor, and now I know what it must feel like to be a proud father. And yes ladies, he's still available. (As am I, but that's for another time)