Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Deflated Like a Flan in a Cupboad*

*partial Eddie Izzard quote..

So my romance with the musician fizzled. All I wanted to do was talk about anything but school and all he wanted was to hear stories about medical school.  Besides, he wouldn't listen to any music but his own. Not cool.

The first block of classes has successfully ended. Starting off with material that was familiar and came easily had spoiled me. Now, I'm nervous to all git about this new block: DUM DA DUM... anatomy!...

I like concepts, pick them up pretty quickly and love figuring new ways to apply them. Going into exams for cellular bio, chemistry or the MCAT (I can't believe that I'm admitting this...), I would secretly get excited like I was starting a new trivia pursuit game. Woohoo! A challenge! It was easy to see the trees and not the forest. I would approach each question like I was playing Whac-A-Mole.  Long confusing question? BAM! Knock that varmint back in the hole. I would leave the test giddy for all the rodents I had smushed and unconcerned about the few that I knew I missed. We all miss some of the little buggers when they pop up. The significance of the test in the grand scheme never really occurred to me until long after the effect.  My nerves have always twisted in those spare seconds before opening the results.

Well.. I just can't seem to get excited about anatomy. No game, nothing to figure out, either I memorized the material or I didn't. I'm really a pretty lazy person and an easily distractible one. This is something of a nightmare: sitting down for four months of nothing but brute memorization on an epic scale.

It's going to be an amazing struggle to keep up with the material. Bah.

Oh.. and herb plant numera tres esta muerta. Descanse en paz, Aloysia Citrodora...

Friday, September 14, 2012

What a Wonderful Life

It's been so long since I've written and nothing very significant has happened.

I'm doing very well in my classes. They're not as challenging as I had feared and so I have unexpected free time. I've been reading quite a bit. In anticipation of gross anatomy starting next week, I've been reading Stiff by Mary Roach.  It's humorous and irreverent, yet somehow respectful.

I just finished a two hour conversation with my closest friend, an adventurer living on the other side of the world. I investigated and she's now exactly 173 degrees longitude away from me.  We hadn't spoken since I started school and it was wonderful to catch up.  She's so very different from me; she's amazingly spiritual, artistic and sensitive. She can float through a social event and engage anyone. People remember her laugh decades after meeting her. Somehow our opposites fit perfectly like Emil Fischer's Lock and Key enzymes.

One of our few similarities is our chronic singlehood. We'd rather be alone than in an unsatisfying relationship. Yet over the last few weeks, we've both met someone. Ironically, our new lovers are the ideal for the other!

She's dating a serious, bibliophilic pragmatist and I'm dating the sensitive musician, a bass player.

As I mentioned, school is going really well. I honored my first two courses and have been tapped into tutoring some of my classmates for our upcoming biochem final, a daunting endeavor.  Knowing the material enough to do well on a test is one thing; knowing it enough to explain to pedantic, obsessive medical students is something else entirely!

We met our cadavers last week. There was a ceremony. All of the students, the ministry and many of the faculty came. Several students spoke about how this lab defined the true transition into 'doctor training' unlike the distilled science that we were currently studying. During the service, I had stood next to one of our primary science lecturers and I saw hurt in his eyes. Though I felt similarly about the significance of this transition, I felt awful.

Later that week, during a lecture, the professor commented on the ceremony. It wasn't directed specifically toward the student who made the speech but we all understood who the professor meant. The student turned red and slunk into the seat. Facebook encouragement flooded his/her inbox.

Though I was only peripherally affected, the situation made me so uncomfortable. I can easily understand both perspectives and the vulnerabilities of both student and teacher. The professor put in so much work to organize meaningful and useful lectures for us. Facing the boards next year, I know I'll be thankful for the precise and detailed handouts my teacher created. Yet, the anatomy lab is the first diversion from what has essentially been an extension of our undergraduate education. It is symbolic of our transition into medical training.

I face my first standardized patient next week in the hopes of successfully completing a history. If you had asked me last year, I would have never predicted the anxiety I feel now!