cardiology · classes · MS-2

You know you’ve been studying too long when your first waking thought is “Elevated sed rate.”

Cardio’s been a generally good block.  Once you get the hang of it, the material is logical; rote memorization is limited to side effects of the gazillion drugs on the market.  But we’ve been doing NOTHING else for three weeks.  I suppose if you have a particular interest in cardiology, you’d like it, but I am ready for something completely different.

classes · exams · MS-2

Study buddy

L: i wonder if i knew med school was like this, whether i would be that enthusiastic in interviews.

We are gearing up for an exam double-header next week, and I’m finally confronting the fact that I have no clue what’s going on with the heart.  Especially pharmacologically.  Apparently all the antiarrhythmic drugs carry a significant risk of … arrhythmia.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather deal with a little sinus tachycardia than torsades de pointes.

Back in college, I used to be able to disappear into the library on my own, with just my notes and my iPod, and study for hours at a time.  Lately, though, I’ve noticed that I’ve become weirdly co-dependent when it comes to studying.  Unless my friends are there, I can’t concentrate.  It’s a little like my newfound difficulty studying at home.  I suppose all that means is that I should stay here for boards study instead of going back to my hometown.  (Mmm, boards.  I should register for those sometime soon….)

Actually, I’m really looking forward to when boards are done, and we move into the hospital full-time. After 19 and a half years of the same old, I’m just done with the classroom for a bit.

classes · MS-2

Back to the daily grind

The first few days back after a break are always the hardest, but things are finally settling down into some semblance of routine.  Lectures have been decent, although I’m shocked at how little I remember from last year.  Cardiac physiology was probably the most difficult block of first year for me, and the pathophysiology is more interesting but somewhat overwhelming.  I have to put in a lot more hours into going over lectures than I used to, but at least everything is logical.  After all, the heart is nothing more than a glorified pump and cardiologists well-paid mechanics.

I admit, it’s been difficult at times to stay focused.  I’m battling a head cold, and between the sinus pressure and first-generation antihistamines (oops!), I am just way too distracted.  For instance, I spent nearly an hour this afternoon with my textbook open but actually reading Anne of Green Gables online.  (Specifically, the section where Anne gets caught reading Ben-Hur in school.  Because I’m meta like that.)  Been drinking coffee after dinner to stay up and study, but I’m always asleep by midnight no matter what.  I think this means that I’m officially an old lady.

classes · exams · MS-2 · neuro

Nothin’ but neuro

I’ve gone underground for a while.  We finished our last exam block during the week after Thanksgiving, and since then, we’ve been doing all neuropathology, all the time.  Four hours of the SAME THING every day is intense; the exam is tomorrow; and then I’m on break for two glorious weeks.

Neuro’s been fun.  We finish every small group with a clinical case, which is easily the best part of the course.    The pathology stuff — staring at slides for hours at a time — is what I have trouble with.  What exactly is a perivascular pseudorosette, anyway, and how is it different from a whorl? It’s a little like making constellations out of all the little sparkles in the night sky. I have much respect for pathologists, who are charged with figuring this stuff out.  Perhaps I should do a Mary Poppins and turn the chore into a game.  Where’s Waldo?

Alright, back to work.  Go go gadget neuropathology atlas!

classes · exams · infectious disease · MS-2

Just a little bit crazy

I have spent entirely too long studying and I think I may be going out of my mind.  A friend of mine came by my table in the library to ask if I wanted to discuss practice questions.  I stared at him for about ten seconds and then started laughing so hard I began crying.

I don’t know anything about infectious diseases, but I’ll be very glad in twelve hours when this exam is over.

classes · MS-2

One of the great things about texting is that I don’t have to keep running outside the library to take calls.  And when you spend 13 to 15 hours a day between class and the library, that’s crucial.

So imagine my amusement when I began to respond to a friend’s text with “I am” and the predictive software inserted “in the library studying.”  And the best part is, that’s what I was going to say anyway!

Life is good, though.  I just spent 13 hours going through pharmacology and immunology at the undergrad campus.  It takes forever, but it’s (mostly) interesting enough that I don’t particularly mind it.  It’s kind of like whitewashing Aunt Polly’s fence, with that added benefit that the library can be a surprisingly fun place when you are there with the right people.

classes · MS-2


The past week was incredibly draining, intellectually and emotionally, and I spent the entire weekend indoors, studying.  I did accomplish a lot and mostly caught up on everything I’d ignored before, but about halfway through this morning’s second lecture, it all hit me at once and I crashed very hard.

The Jabberwock of the moment is pharmacology.  Too many drugs, too many mechanisms, way too many side effects.  The best way to attack it would probably be to understand it, but that seems too complicated.  I may just go for flashcards.

In happier news, my ophthalmoscope arrived!  I can’t wait to try it out on an unsuspecting classmate.