Nocebo

It just took me 15 minutes to outsmart a mosquito in my room. The bastard has been getting fat, happy, and maybe a little buzzed off me the last few nights. I lit a citronella candle in the room and discovered that the mosquito has a higher tolerance for that smog than I do. Mosquitos don’t wear belts nearly as well as I do, so it all balanced out.

It hasn’t been a productive day or week, so I might as well be the writing-kind of nonproductive. Some of my favorite lessons from the term:

If you ever take an oral estrogen pill, there’s a chance it contains equilin, which is obtained from a pregnant mare’s urine. Nocebo means ‘I will do harm’ and someone needs to name their next dog “nocebo”. Amaurosis Fugax is my new favorite term though I’ve forgotten what it means. Crazy people have hypomarble-emia (joke courtesy of roommate Kelly). The pharmacology course has taught me that a shot of expresso before a pot of coffee in an afternoon is properly termed a loading and maintenance dose of caffeine. It’s nice to have fancy words.

I wrote a while ago that having a girlfriend stops me from realizing my potential as a moron. True. This term, the only people on the island are in my term, which means some slim pickings and several months of being single. So what have I done with all of this free time?

The roof of our home is unfinished. Metal reinforcing bars (ReBar) stick up from the concrete, clumped like mole hairs. There are a few empty champagne bottles from the celebration of a job well-half-done (this is the Caribbean) and there are cinder blocks. Bored and single, I started doing pushups on the roof. Then I started lifting cinder blocks over my head. Then I bent pieces of rebar into circles and fed them through to create cinderbells. Then came seated rows, and a bench press, and a squat machine, all of this made from rebar, bamboo, and cinder blocks. It’s my prison gym. The roommates have split into two rival factions. I’m the leader of the Sharks. There’s a lot of snapping and choreography.

I’m supposed to metamorphose into a studentdoctor sometime soon, so I’m killing more time in the hospital with extra shifts. My favorite patient so far was a cop presenting with a madeup headache to get out of the station for a few days. I heard from the doctor that they’re having a rat problem over there and this was the third cop of the week to present with fakeache. Rx: courage.

While spotting a fake presentation is fun, the best student diagnosis goes to my roommate Kelly. A patient was making googly-eyes at him while he was trying to get a history. Once we were done examining her, we went into the side room to wait for the doctor to come back and grill us. While we waited, I turned to Kelly and asked what he thought was wrong with her. His answer:

Diagnosis: Kelly fever.
Prognosis: terminal.

Cheers from St Vincent’s, topher.

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