Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Operation: Survive Block 1 - Success

Hehe, that title's way more dramatic than reality. Oh well. I'm back! Miss me?

This morning I finished the last of 3 exams (a genetics final, an anatomy lab practical exam, and an anatomy written exam). I believe they call these "block" exams because all our exams are crammed into a single week, so we learn in "blocks" and take all our exams at the end of each block.

Honestly, it wasn't that bad. I don't know who keeps saying it's so horrible - oh yeah, the "gunners" - the people who HAVE to get nigh-100% on everything (and in that light, everything's difficult). In some respects, these exams were somewhat easier and less stressful than some of my undergrad exams. It's interesting to see half my class freak out and yet I wasn't, strangely.

Honestly, I think my mentality has changed from undergrad/grad school to now. In undergrad/grad school grades mattered a lot and everyone strove for that "A." Here, where's it's more or less pass/fail (but with gradations of pass from Honors, High Pass, Pass, and Low Pass), it feels less stressful. I know I'll pass, and anything above that is just gravy. Of course I want to do as well as possible, after all I'll need (at least some of) this knowledge later when I see patients. And I actually did really well - Honors in genetics (92.12%), and High Pass so far in anatomy (88.75%). The year's off to a good start grade-wise. :-)
After the exam this morning, 5 of us went out for sushi for lunch. It was relatively good and inexpensive sushi, I was impressed. More interesting was a good portion of our conversation.

We're med students. So of course we discuss topics relating to our classes and medicine. And I thought it rather odd and amusing how we kept returning to anatomy and dissecting cadavers (our next block is on the head and neck - definitely NOT looking forward to that). Anyway, as we wait for our meal we comment on the dreadful smell of the lab and how we have to wash our hands multiple times to neutralize the smell on our hands (though now we don't notice it as much, not sure if that's a good thing or not). I commented how if I cut up garlic for cooking, the smell of garlic on my fingers overpowers the smell of death so all you smell is the garlic. Hmmm, maybe that's why garlic is used against vampires . . . Garlic trumps death, good to know.

When I came home for the afternoon I didn't know what to do with myself and all this free time. o_O So I read this blog that someone emailed me: A Sailor Boy's Blog. Wow, some hot and steamy stuff in there! It's an interesting read, so go check it out!!

Then I went out with my roommate and a friend to a bar/restaurant that I kept hearing other med students talk about. It was pretty good and I finally tried this one appetizer that my friend from grad school (who's originally from the state I'm currently in) told me about. It was good, I liked it. And we tried the $0.99 drink of the month - peach sangria. That was good too (maybe because it was only $0.99).

I watched the Obama speech on health care when we got back. It was good . . . but there wasn't anything substantive in there for me. No real details of how things might work, no ideas how to implement things, no mention how this will help doctors with our myriad issues - ridiculous med school debt, the primary care vs. specialty imbalance, nationalized electronic medical records, malpractice caps, etc. Maybe in time, maybe never. The public ethos is against doctors anyway and people tend to think all doctors are really well off. Not necessarily true (especially primary care docs with $200K in med school loans + interest) but whatever, that discussion is for another day.

Alright fellow bloggers who don't update much, if I can do it while being busy with med school, I'm sure you can do so as well. I'm talking to you, authors of:

Amazing Corey
A Popular Dude's Secret Life
A story of a boy and the universe
Gentleman's Romance
I Gotta Story To Tell
Where I Stand

If you're reading this, please say something to let us know you're alive and doing well! Thanks!!


Anonymous said...

Med students do finish med school with $200K in debts, unfortunately, and equally unfortunate, Obamacare will reduce physician income--look at what's going on with oncologists and cardiologists. It is going to happen. The irony is that Medicare is already 55-60% of health care in the US, so we're really talking only about 40-45% of the system.

OK, onto other stuff. The formaldehyde smell does take some getting used to. However, don't expect to get it out of whatever clothes you wear to gross lab. Once gross is done, you'll throw them out the way the rest of us did. That smell in ingrained in clothing after the second gross lab. Suggestion: wear the cheapest blue jeans you have.

Head and neck is actually a lot of fun, though the dissection is exacting. There's a lot of medicine in the head and neck, so learn it well. Those cranial nerves are a good starting point. They're not everything though. And don't forget to enjoy it. Sounds like you already understand the fundamental equation of med school: P = MD.

Don't forget to go out to a movie or some other social interaction. Believe it or not, the lessons do get learned, even if you do take an occassional night off.

Dave83201 said...

As someone who, as a patient, has passed through the medical system, I watched the President;s speech with some interest. I honestly sat and thought... "I wonder if Aek is going to blog about this tonight."

Also, I don't drink, but damn you made that peach sangria sound tasty!

Mike said...

Good job on the exams!!!

Shane said...

Good to hear you are doing well at school.

You mentioned vampire, so my ears perked. I've read that garlic is known in folklore to have healing properties, and vampirism is seen as a disease, so that is one theory.

The other theory is that garlic wards off mosquitoes, who are also blood suckers, so that is where the parallel is drawn.

Aek said...

Anonymous: I'm not sure what's going on with oncologists and cardiologists, but the reduction in physician income wouldn't be such a bad thing if it weren't for all the costs of being a practicing physician (in addition to repaying ridiculous loan debt). With regards to anatomy, I actually bought a set of scrubs specifically for lab. But I do wash it and surprisingly the smell DOES come out. ^_^

Dave83201: The peach sangria was totally worth the $0.99! :D Btw, when're you going to IM me?

Mike: Thanks!!

Shane: Lol, vampires. Garlic trumps death. XD