Friday, January 18, 2008

Sickly me

Well it is the end of another exciting week of med school here. Mostly this week has been marked by me blowing my nose incessantly and generally feeling like crap. Good times! It seems a lot of people are similarly afflicted in my class so it must be a bug that's going around. We had our first quiz on monday in microbiology. It was pretty easy. We just had a lot of questions where they said the patient had gram positive, catalase negative, optochin sensitive cocci in their blood. What bacteria is it??? It sounds complicated but they gave us a list with all these bacteria on it so we just had to memorize their characteristics. I did well on the quiz so no bad grades yet.

Also this week we had our first videotaped interviews with fake patients. The U has a bunch of exam rooms with cameras in them where we will be spending a lot of time for the next two years apparently. So this was our first time on our own with a patient for 20 minutes where we had to go through the whole interview process. We were assigned a second year "buddy" who will watch our videos and critique them. Also we have groups of 12 classmates plus two doctors who will watch them. All of this sounds a little scary to me. Mostly because I don't want to watch myself on video in front of my peers. But overall, I thought I did okay with the interview and wasn't as awkward as I could have been. I get to tape another one next week so that should be double the fun.

This weekend is going to be long and cold. We get Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day or something. Public school is great for getting days off. But mostly I need to catch up with my studies, since I spent most of this week resting and not studying. We have a neuro quiz in a week which should be fun and an extra credit thing due on wednesday that is worth a whole 4 points. They warned us though that in the past 4 points have made the difference between passing and failing so I suppose I should do it. One thing that was cool this week was we had a demonstration of an electrocardiogram. So one of my classmates we got to see his heart through an ultrasound type thing. I didn't think we would be able to see much but we could see the heart valves and the muscle and the aorta and everything. It was very cool. They could also add color so you could see which way the blood was flowing to make sure everything was normal. Sometimes it's nice to have a reminder of all the cool stuff we will get to do in the future. Gives me more motivation to study hard now. Anyway, I'm going to eat sushi and then watch a movie with my friends tonight so that should be fun. A break before the studying begins!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New year, New semester

Hello, all. I'm back finally. Since I last wrote I have been through my first finals week in med school which was predictably hellish and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing for the approximately three weeks of Christmas break. It was wonderful. Mostly it was nice to be home and see everyone including Toby.

School started again last week on Jan. 2 which is just cruel. Only a day to recover from New Year's Eve and then they expect us to be up at 8 and actually be awake. So what I've learned about this semester so far is that these folks are no longer messing around. Instead of a leisurely 4 hours of class a day and 1 lab twice a week, we get at least 3 days a week of class from 8-5:30. We have two labs twice a week which takes up the 1:30 to 5:30. Then we have a new class called physician and patient once a week for 4 hours. In this class we will learn how to conduct a patient interview and do a physical exam. So the second day of class this semester we were introduced to our first fake patient and asked to interview him in front of 12 people for 4 minutes. It was pretty awkward since none of us knew what we were doing. But I guess we better learn fast because we have an interviewing final in a month after 6 teaching sessions on it.

The fake patients that we interview are kind of amazing actually. They get a really in depth script of what their story is and you really have to dig to find it all out. We are starting with the patient-centered interview where we figure out the chief complaint and hear the patient's story and find out more about what their concerns are and how they might be feeling. This is pretty complicated usually because the stories often include a recent divorce or a child with cancer or a friend who died and had the same symptoms as the patient etc. So we have to find out all of these things and deal with them which is hard. This past time, our focus for the day was on dealing with emotions so our fake patient cried three times and got really angry and whatnot. It was kind of crazy but nice to practice because we know that those things are going to happen in real life. In the next couple weeks we have 2 or 3 taped interviews that we have to review with a second year buddy they assigned to us. It should be freaky to have to watch myself on tape and analyze my body language and everything. I can't say I'm looking forward to it.

Anyway, the other classes that we have started this semester are neuroscience, physiology, and microbiology. I think these classes will be much better than histology and biochemistry. (blah!) But of course it is much harder to keep on track with my studying when I don't get done with school until 5 and then am tired and don't feel like doing anything. Mom and Dad keep saying it is like a regular job but I believe that is unfair since I am expected to study like crazy in all of my time off and I don't get paid a dime.

In more positive news, we will be having the med school winter ball in february! It's like prom but with an open bar. The only problem is that last year supposedly they only had open bar for the first hour so everyone drank as much free booze as possible in that one hour and misbehaved from then on out. I feel like that is a bad idea but what can you do? It has been nice to be back here so far and hang out with all my phi rho friends and my body buddies. I'm sure school will get in the way soon enough considering I have a micro quiz on monday which of course I am supposed to study for like it is a test. But perhaps I will go shopping while I can and spend the rest of my christmas money. Hope everyone is doing well!