May 30, 2005
So it starts in an hour when I walk into the lab and have to look at bodies that my class members have dissected and identify tagged structures. This wouldn’t be too bad if we were better anatomists. But we aren’t. If that creep from CSI were to “deduce” our methods, it would go something like this:
“You can tell here that they used a ten blade. Notice the lilt of the incision. And the separation of soft tissues speakes to me. It whispers, ‘grenade’.”
Then it’s off to the lecture hall at 1:00 to look at SLIDES of dissections and Identify those without the benefit of a 3D plane. I’m not kidding when I say that it helps to get your bearings in the neck by making sure you can see the feet.
What’s it like identifying structures in the neck? Imagine a Jenga tower with every block having a special name and function, only they aren’t written on the blocks. Now imagine someone bumping the table and those blocks falling everywhere without ryhme, reason. Now imagine that those blocks are instead rubber bands and tied around each other. Good luck with that.
Afterwards is the written exam which is scheduled to end around 3:30. If I’m lucky, I won’t know half of the material for which I’m responsible and will get to finish early, take a nap, and start studying for Histology.
P.S. Paradoxically, I spent the first half of the term feverently studying Embryology only to score lower than I would’ve liked on the midterm. Since then, I’ve been pulling a George Castanza: doing the exact opposite and getting better results. Cheers to you fetus; you really don’t care if I understand you.
May 27, 2005
So I’m off to face the fetus. I have ignored the little guy for 2 months, but spent some quality time with him these last two days. Let’s see if it pays off.
It’s official: last night, bored of Emrbyo, I took out a piece of paper and wrote the names of all 208 bones in the human body, for fun. Possibly the greatest moment in my life.
May 23, 2005
I should be studying histology, but I’m in danger of forgetting everything if I don’t start writing. So here are some things that you’ve missed:
1) I wrote a “Student’s Guide to SGU” which will be available online from the SGU website in a few weeks (after exams). It’s modest aim is to answer every conceivable question that any prospective or matriculating student could have and to weave that information into a cohesive narrative as we follow our hero through a day at SGU. It falls short of that aim.
2) I lost reelection to Student Government. Apparently, never going to class and burying yourself in the library cuts down on “face time” which is important when people are randomly picking names and yours fails to ring that bell. Kissing babies is also important.
3) I now spell color colour and flavor flavour. Nothing you can do about it. My British professors also say “skel eeee tull”. See if you can figure what THAT is in english.
4) The responses from my last email where halarious. Thanks to everyone that took the time. To those that couldn’t tell if I was serious about everything that I wrote, my answer is yes? Special thanks to my sister Honora who offered to FedEx me some Adderol. Halarious.
5) We have a front runner in the “Find a movie that scores a perfect 6 on Topher’s Scale inspired by Starship Troopers” contest. Her name is Jen Suydnam, and she has found a tentative 5/6. Such fabulous prizes await. For those looking to still submit, the criteria are as follows:
4) Absence of Nicolas Cage
6) and Candy
6) I lost a disgusting bet to my roomate. He contends that they discovered that Diabetes was a sugar disorder by drinking the urine of diabetics and noting its sweet taste. Wow was he right. After the Biochem final, all his drinks are on me for the first hour. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to be pee in one of them.
Red Bull gives you wings! Topher.
May 16, 2005
So school has hit this amazing new level. So before all of this started, I was told that I would be given more information (that I am responsible for) than I could possibly learn with any understanding. So for those keeping score at home, I have decided to know nothing about cobalamin or the cutaneous innervation of the leg. I have completely abandoned Embryology. Sorry, little fetus.
My body is ruled by caffeine and my mind doesn’t care if my body is awake or not. For example: I looked at slides of something today.
Members of my class have PICKED UP smoking. A small black market for adderol and ritalin has emerged. I just spaced out for a couple minutes there. Just now.
I have notes written all over my hands. Some of them are smeared against my cheek. Now wait, Zygomatic bone. See, you see?! I have to squeeze that sort of crap in every chance I get for retention’s sake.
That caffeine from before? interferes with phosphodiesterase which would normally help degrade cAMP and halt the action of PKA, which may or may not be stimulated by the epinephrine and glucagon in my system. Now if I had sugar in my coffee, that would change everything, because that would trigger insulin release which is the evil twin of glucagon, and they would fight over the soul that governs whether or not my body is making or breaking things. What are those things? Ask me when you see me and I’ll lecture on them.
At least once a day now, I sit there and realize that I could quit at any time. All the stress, all the work and knowing and not knowing would all just float away. I could be free. Freedom tastes like strawberries, I have decided.
Ok, so things are not nearly as bleak as all of that nonsense above would suggest, but it is a real part of everyone’s experience of medical school and pressure in general. It is also the first time I’ve been in the vice-grip of pressure for more than a few minutes and has taken a lot of used-to-getting. Everyone wish me luck, it’s all over in three weeks and I get to come home.