I had coffee after dinner last night, and it was … a mistake. I was productive until about 2 AM, and then I lay in bed reading a novel until sunrise. (A snowy sunrise! Happy first day of spring!) Got through lectures this morning with the aid of more coffee, and my afternoon study break was a trip to Starbucks.
What’s the LD50 of caffeine, anyhow?
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.
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!
Patient HM died today. The NYT has a nice summary of his life and contribution to science. Sad story, but so fascinating. I think the best “Neuro is weird” tale is of Phineas Gage, the railway worker who ended up with a spike through his head — and lived.
In totally unrelated news, I am pretty sure that there is a poltergeist or goblin hanging out in the second-year lecture hall. Every day, the audiovisual equipment breaks down. The best was during our psychiatry exam: we were supposed to do a write-up on a videotaped patient interview, but the video was at first inaudible. The write-up would have been very short: “Patient mumbles for half an hour. Diagnosis: speech disorder not otherwise specified.” Sweet.
(But then they got the sound working, and we had to actually pay attention.)
After two weeks of relative freedom, we’re back to the exam grind: Wednesday, Thursday, and next Monday. I am trying to care, but really don’t. Though it was fun going through the personality disorders for psych and diagnosing classmates and fictional characters as mnemonics. Scarlett O’Hara, for instance? Totally histrionic. Do you think watching Gone with the Wind would count as studying?
In non-medical news, the New York Times published their list of the 100 most notable books of 2008. How many have I read? NONE. Thank you, medical school. I’ve actually been looking for a good bedtime read; maybe I’ll bug my publisher friend to get me a copy of the new Toni Morrison book. This is the lovely thing about living in New York, book capital of the world.
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.
Finding a good place to study has becoming more and more of an issue of late, as Krazy Konstruction Workers of NYC have led a largely successful coup d’état on the medical school library. So I’m sitting in the library of the education school at the undergrad campus; every time I come here, I am awed by the sheer luxury of the place. In addition to the usual long tables and ergonomic highback chairs, there are about a dozen armchairs with granite-inlaid occasional tables. Cherry wood bookcases. Twenty foot ceilings. One of the other floors has nothing BUT armchairs, each of which has a cupholder and moveable desk.
Whichever alum paid for all this: send me an email with your bank account information. I know a Nigerian prince in desperate need of some petty cash. You will be handsomely rewarded!!!111!
(And by Nigerian prince, I mean, of course, starving med student. Same thing, right?)
This envy-fest brought to you by utter boredom with pharmacology.