Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 1225: Making babies is tough work!

I am currently taking a course called Human Development. As the title states, we follow le bebe from fertilization (when it is a singular cell with genetic information from mom and dad (science word for this: zygote) all the way through birth. Let me tell you something. Human development is some crazy ass sh!t. (Pardon my French.) Seriously. I am currently watching a lecture on how the GI tract (esophagus, the tube that brings food down to your stomach; stomach; small intestine, where a majority of digestion occurs; large intestine, where most of your water reabsorption occurs; and your rectum, where you poop) forms and it is tricky business! There is a lot of rotation of the embryo and lots of folding that has to happen to make sure your intestines are twisty and that they stay in your abdominal cavity. Versus not (see image below).

Gastroschisis - Image from the CDC

Doesn't this baby look crazy? Luckily, this birth defect can be fixed surgically and this is why prenatal care is so important. But that's besides the point. I'm not an obstetrician.

What I am is a med student who is freaking out about a) learning all this absurd crap. It is INSANE what happens in nine months. A heart! Lungs! A skeleton! Toes! Fingers! Eyes! It never ends! b) I am freaked out about baby-making. I mean I won't be making babies any time soon. They grow into real people. Who are mean. And rude. And toddlers are messy. And selfish. And did I mention babies turn into real people? What I mean is, my cousin is having a baby. Soon. And an ex-colleague of mine from the Stanford lab is due to pop (or has popped!) any day now. And my best friend's sister just had baby number two. ...


All I heard about at the end of genetics and through every phase of human development is all the things that go wrong in baby-making. There are the "obvious" ones like Down Syndrome and things like gastroschisis (which is pretty hard to miss when your baby is born with it's intestines outside), but there are things like heart defects (some which can be heard while baby is still in mom (science word for this: in utero) but some you have to discover after the baby is born) and closures where there should be openings (science word for this: atresia) and other possible birth defects.

Don't you worry Mom and Dad. There is no need to worry about your precious medical student daughter getting pregnant any time soon. Genetics and human development have officially scared me away from any baby-making for a long, long time. The endless possibilities of things going wrong is just too much to bear.

You know how people say knowledge is power? They obviously knew very little about human development because now that I know roughly three-ish weeks worth of information, I often wish I had stayed blissfully ignorant.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 1221: I worry about getting SAD

The vague stirrings around the medical college suggest that seasonal affective disorder (also known as SAD) may be real. I always thought I had enough gumption and wherewithal and general good-body-vibes to withstand the oncoming of SADness. Well, I might be wrong.

The weather here in Milwaukee has been gloom central. For the past two weeks, it has been roughly 10 degrees colder than normal this year. It has been cloudy most of the week. Even the pockets of sunshine have not been enough to ward off the effects of becoming SAD. My biggest issue is that I sleep. All the time. I slept from about 2am to 9:30am last night/this morning. I came back from school around 1pm and promptly fell asleep while studying biochemistry. I didn't wake up until 4:40ish pm when my roommate came home for a brief moment. Then, while studying biochemistry again, I fell asleep in my desk/computer chair, feet propped on my desk, mouth agape, a slight puddle of drool forming on the cusp of my mouth, about to pour out.

I wonder if being SAD is contributing to my lack of focus this week. Hmm. Things to consider and eventually fall asleep to, I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 1218: Right and left, reversed.

It is official. Anatomy has completely screwed me over. FOR LIFE.

Courtesy of: The internet/Google search

On opening day of the 2011-2012 football season, my classmates and I were watching Sportscenter. They were talking about some player or other who had a dislocated shoulder. Well! We just so happened to be learning about the back/shoulder/arm/forearm at that point in time so the first thought that popped into my head was, "I wonder what kind of dislocation it was and which ligaments and bones were involved." The first words out of my mouth were, "I hate you anatomy." My classmates completely understood. We were all wondering the same thing. This is just the beginning.

As the body wears on (meaning, as I learn more about it), I have discovered that everything is backwards. When they refer to things on the right side of your body (such as your liver), the image they show you has it on the left side.

Courtesy of Netter Images; the liver in this case is
the big brown thing on the LEFT (with the
green thing (the gallbladder) in the middle)

And while watching my most recent anatomy lecture, my professor was talking about bile ducts and pointing at left and right branches and in my head, all of this jumbled right-left stuff is actually becoming second nature to me. It's when I actually think, "wait, is that regular-people-everyday-life-left or anatomy/doctor-left?" am I actually confused. It's official. After only five weeks of medical school, they are changing me. Help! Before I no longer think like a normal person anymore and actually start treating people! Helppppp!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 1214: Spellling isseus

Let me tell you what I have discovered about medical school. No one, and I mean, no one knows how to spell. From my genetics lectures, to classmates, to my biochemistry lectures, spelling seems to be a whim for these people.

My genetics final had the word "sight" (as in vision) in place of "site" (as in location). Hello. That is a huge difference. There is a little overachiever of a classmate who makes flashcards online and shared them with us and she literally could not spell for her life. She misspells words like "the" to "teh." How the hell am I supposed to respect you as a doctor, much less a person, if you can't spell "the"? It has three frickin' letters. Lastly, my biochem professor misspelled emphysema as "emphasema." I sincerely don't understand. There is a spellcheck on all of these machines! Even Firefox has spellcheck! Okay, rant over.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 1209: In commemoration

I had the great pleasure of seeing Lupe Fiasco on Friday night and he paid tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11. Having gone to college in New York City and having missed the opportunity to view the World Trade Center when my family visited before the towers were hit, it really makes me grateful for life and reminds me to take advantage of all that life has to offer.

I went to the Lupe Fiasco concert with a classmate (from New York) and we were both talking about how much we wanted to be back in New York for the ten-year commemoration. It's just crazy to think that it was TEN years ago. An entire decade. An entire life away really.

(via The New York Times)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 1205: I am so out of it.

Courtesy of the International Journal of Morphology

Welcome to my life. This is the brachial plexus. (My gosh, I already sound like such a douchey science/doctor-like person. I apologize.) The brachial plexus is a compilation of nerves, arteries and veins right beside your armpit (running down your arm). I can actually name every number and initial in the picture, as well as tell you their functions. Insanity, I know.

The genetics final was fine. The anatomy lab practical (we go into the cadaver lab where the professors have tagged structures (nerves, arteries, veins, muscles, etc; like above) and then the students have one minute per station to identify said structures) wasn't too bad. There were a couple of curveballs but I felt pretty okay-to-good about it.

Today's anatomy written exam (where they throw us clinical questions) was, pardon my French, a bit of a b!tch. I forgot to look over some muscle functions this morning on my way to class (I fell asleep studying last night) and there were definitely a few "what-the-hell" questions on there. I did fine, but I know I could have done better, which is really frustrating me at the moment.

I'm in such a weird place about medical school right now. I feel like I can't quite get a hold on it, so I'm stressing out because I haven't figured it out yet, and then I stress about the amount of information I need to be learning and it's a bit of a vicious cycle. The stress isn't palpable, but it's starting to build and I feel like either crying, sleeping or curling into a ball and trying to roll into the street to die (melodramatic much?).

I just need to find my footing and I'll be fine. I just wonder how long it will take to find some stable ground instead of this quicksand I seem to find myself in.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 1201: School is hard.

Genetics final on Tuesday. First anatomy block exams (lab portion on Tuesday, written portion on Wednesday) next week. Lots of eating delicious food post-exams (I have never been a big drinker.)

In other news, my best friend Jess is coming out to Chicago the week after my second round of exams and we're trying to convince our other best friend to meet us there. I might die of joy if that happens.

I wish I had more fun things going on this holiday weekend. I mean not really. I need to study. A lot.

Ok, we'll talk later.