Little Monsters

So, I’ve been on vacation.  Away from all things med school. Now I’m back, and it’s time for the 3rd year clerkship lottery.

Me (whining about clerkship lottery) – “I hate med school”

4th year friend – “I hate all the drama, it makes us into little monsters.”

It really, really does. “Choosing” our 3rd year rotations really is a cruel joke. They tell us to rank everything we want most, in our ideal world; location of each rotation and the order in which we want them. So we do, we research, read what students have said in the past, talk to our upper year friends, talk to each other, try to figure out what would be best for us, our goals, our situations. Some people really want to do surgery at our BigCityHospital, some people don’t have cars and can’t drive to affiliated hospitals, some people have kids, etc, etc.

Then they tell us, “well, you probably won’t get what you really want since we re-randomize the class for each choice and there’s no way to tell us the one or two things you really want for next year.”  Lots of whining ensues.  I’d much rather just be given my schedule and not have this illusion of control over it. I’d much rather tell them the one thing I really want (Family Med at a certain location, Medicine first), and get whatever for the rest of it. Don’t make me rank every. single. option.  And they wonder why empathy decreases in medical school. Apparently it will get worse next year.  Actually 2nd and 4th years are the best for empathy.  There has got to be a better way to do this.


Review Sessions

Sometimes upper years throw us reviews. It's like throwing us a post-exam party, but a lot less fun. Except that I usually get a lot out of it - they're sometimes better teachers than our professors.  Except when things like this happen:

Classmate interrupts upper year – “oh we haven’t had the cancer info yet, we have that next block”

Upper year, “Oh really? MOST EVIL LAUGH EVER*"

Terror. I am now filled with it. 
(ok, reality check SR - which is worse: learning about cancer or having cancer? Seriously? At this moment I am not sure...)**

*I don't even know how to make this an onamonapia.  Speaking of onamonapias, enjoy this:

**This moment passed quickly and I am sure I would much rather learn about cancer... sometime I have vastly inappropriate thoughts.  I plan on sharing them with you. I usually realize and acknowledge they're inappropriate, but I think it's a good thing to document the little crazy moments I have in medical school 


Some random goodies

All from professors:

"So, ladies, if you have a boyfriend that won't commit, it's not because he's a jerk - he's a MUTANT! (vasopressin AVPR1 mutant)" 

"Nodular by nature" (on the thyroid)

"As everyone knows, when you remove the pineal gland from a patient, they become soulless, flesh-eating zombies. It's very dangerous."

"I love giving lectures on guts and butts - so put your seatbelts on." 

“daily bowel action” 

"through some variety of transvaginal route, she thought she had acquired medical knowledge*” 

My moment of Zen**: 
"I'm not saying that in order to be a physician, you have to have a dirty mind...but it helps."

*wow, this would make med school so much more FUN
**if you don't know that this references The Daily Show, you need to get on that.


Thanks for the reminder

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget what I’m doing here. Four hours of class. Another 3-6 hours going over those lectures, mandatory clinical sessions, hospital visits, and sometimes managing to cook a meal, there’s not much time in the day for reflection.

So it’s really great to have an amazing significant other (SO) to help remind me why I came to medical school in the first place.  SO is a bit younger than I, and thus a little less jaded, although still plenty angry at the state of affairs in the world. My anger at such things has faded into, “well that’s just how it is.”  I still get angry when people are shocked when they hear about homeless kids or drug addicts who are the victims of domestic violence, or a college graduate becoming homeless.  My reaction is, “really? You’re shocked and appalled? Where have you been? These things happen on your doorstep, in your city, on your block, everyday!”  But that anger has faded, and the momentum to do something about these things has slowed. 

Hello? SR? This is why you came to medical school! Social justice! You’re a science nerd who loves the world a little too much, did you forget? Everyone deserves healthcare, because without health, one can’t pursue the life of one’s choosing, and everyone deserves those choices. That’s what I believe, that’s what I want to help provide and fight for in my career.

Thank you, SO, for waking me up.  The boards are looming, scheduling third year, and the prospect of life after med school seems feasible and scary now. Thank you for pulling me back down and reminding me why I came here in the first place. I know you didn’t even mean to. You were simply venting your frustrations about your own efforts to make social change. But I saw myself in your words. I don’t know what the answers are or how we can make meaningful change, but I have to believe our efforts will help someone.  I don’t know how to fix all the systematic problems that lead to poverty, lack of healthcare, discrimination and all the unfair things in life. All we can do is try. I’m so happy you’re someone who tries. Thank you for reminding me that I am too.