Categories
Medical School Medicine

Second Semester Classes

I’m a little over 2 months deep in my second semester of medical school. I have finished my cardiovascular block, and am now a week into neurology/neuroanatomy. Its a doozy, but it’s nothing compared to last semester.
I got an email to talk about the classes I have, and I wanted to do it before Neuro gets too crazy, so here it is!
The second semester of medical school:
My school is in its second year of switching to systems-based learning and we officially start the systems in our second semester with cardiovascular. That basically means we go through every system in the body and cover everything that entails in about 6 weeks per system. We learn physiology, normal function, and review some anatomy, then we dive right into everything that can go wrong with it, what the symptoms are, the diagnostic tests you run, how to diagnose, and then finally the drugs to treat it.
The only thing is that there are so many different things going on now that I get a little overwhelmed. In addition to our systems block (which is the heaviest part of our lecture hours each week), we have Clinical Problem Solving, Clinical Skills Class and Lab, OMM Class and Lab, Developing the Physician, and now a Neuroanatomy Lab each week.
Clinical Problem Solving gives us a clinical case each week and is incorporated strongly into our systems courses. We learn to write SOAP notes and discuss diagnosis and treatment in small groups with a practicing physician. Easily my favorite time in class each week!
Clinical Skills teaches us how to perform physical exams, take histories, systems checks, auscultation, and other “real doctor” things. The lab that goes along with it also puts us with a practicing doc in the Tulsa area and we practice our skills on each other. Standardized patients (paid actors) come occasionally and we practice on them as well.
In OMM we have a lecture and lab each week. We practice our techniques on each other. We have officially finished muscle energy techniques and are moving into counterstrain.
Developing the Physician is a class where we are exposed to various issues in medicine. They are especially focusing us in on Geriatrics this semester and handling all the special controversies and humanity issues that that entails. A few weeks ago they gave us goggles that simulated going blind. Take that as you will. Nothing in the class is particularly hard, but there are due dates for papers, shadowing to do and small groups that always seem to be inconveniently timed with everything else going on.
All of these classes have their own exams too, which also don’t always line up well with the systems courses. For example, we are responsible for the dermatologic exam in Clinical Skills when we haven’t learned anything about the skin! Two tests in one week doesn’t happen a lot, but it always freaks me out a little bit because every little facet in medicine has SO MUCH material.
Neuro is just a little ridiculous. We have some really good professors this block but nothing is more complex than the dang spinal cord to me. How anything gets transmitted correctly in the body is beyond me. Still, being out of basic sciences, and learning the real medicine is such a wonderful milestone to have finally made it to. After all, its been a long road with science after science. Finding out that medicine is everything I wanted it to be is extremely satisfying.
There’s a little glimpse into my classes and how I’m learning.
Those of you who are in medical school, how does your school do it? Comment or message me!
Thanks for reading!

Categories
Life Medical School Running

How A Random Run Reminded Me How to Med School

Its been a pretty hellish week. Last week, I think I was operating on the fumes of a month long exhaustion situation and just got flat out sick. I was nauseous, my back hurt, I had a headache, I couldn’t eat, I had no energy and no amount of coffee was helping. I was falling asleep anytime I sat still. I went home early one evening for a dentist appointment. And oh goodie, I have TMJ! Guess what causes it? STRESS! I told my dentist my situation with medical school and all got the “bless your heart” look. He knows what it’s like.
Anyway, I had a huge Friday test in Histo and then another one on Monday in Anatomy that I didn’t do well on at all. I could blame it on many things: Not feeling good, having too much material, the awful Friday/Monday test situation, etc. But, I’ll take the blame for it and just say that I was not ready for that test. Still, I know myself well enough to know that I won’t get them all. So I took the good with the bad. I did pretty well on Biomed, I just didn’t get the anatomy one this time.
I stepped outside on one of the first truly chilly nights we’ve had this October. Some generic Pandora hiphop station starts up in my earbuds and I start to feel freedom in my very first steps off the porch. I didn’t bring a watch. Didn’t need one. This run isn’t for time. Its for clarity. By 16 seconds in- I guarantee you- its not school on my mind anymore. Sometimes its nothing on my mind at all. 7 minutes in and I might as well be flying. The wind is just cold enough to bite at my throat and ears a little, but I don’t care. Chilly fall weather that you can still wear shorts in- is prime running time. Especially at night when the street lights make the wet roads look like black glass reflecting it to twice the city lights.  I blow through cross walks and stretches of street without sidewalk. Up and down curbs, around bends, and mud holes. I cross the street but am sure to run straight down the double yellow line in the middle of the road a few steps because its where I feel the most free; like nothing can stop me- not even city ordinances and 2-ton hunks of metal.
In running, it’s never mattered to me whether I’m puttering and sputtering and choking and hurting just to keep putting one foot in front of the other, or if I’m in cruise mode, just chilling at a smooth pace, enjoying the view. I could even be gutting it out, leaving it all on the line grimacing with the speed of my own legs’ muscle memory out running my own lungs. None of that matters. I’ve always just been chasing that feeling. Maybe its runner’s high. I don’t know. At a certain point, though, the body takes over- if my mind will let it.
Its a place where my leg turnover carries me further than I thought I could go after not running for 9 days 16 hours and 21 minutes. Like pedaling a bike upside down. If you crank the pedals a few times,  the wheels won’t quit spinning for quite some time. Its just residual motion and it doesn’t require any thought whatsoever. It’ll just stop whenever it stops. That’s what my legs feel like.
Or that feeling I get when I give a little extra power in my hamstring to leap an extra-long stride’s length off a curb and head downhill, busting out the bass drum tempo to my song with my feet. It’s a feeling I would imagine getting when you go up a ramp and land on the other side of ten buses all in a row and land safely on the other side.
It’s a feeling when I don’t feel like my legs or lungs want me to keep going because they’re hurting, but I keep going somehow as if the act of running were involuntary. Like it comes naturally.
Its going so fast I feel my heart up in my throat. I know I can’t hold the pace for long, its just nice to amp up and feel my body working with me not against me for once. Its slowing down and feeling the tension come out, the adrenaline ebbs and flows and I get comfortable again.
It’s feeling comfortable on a run at all. Ever.
Who ever thought running would be my biggest comfort during medical school?
Running makes me powerful, joyous, competent, and aggressive, but yet, graceful. I feel loose and free and fierce and accomplished. I feel feminine and strong and not anything near weakness. I feel confident and beautiful and happy. I never feel like I don’t measure up, because its just me there and I am running and that is all I am doing. I feel like I’m doing something, because I am.
Every step is quantifiable, definite, appreciable, and proven. Every step proves something to myself- that I can go one more step. I look back at all the steps I’ve taken and can’t even trace the path I ran 8 minutes ago with my eyes. Do you know how few times that happens in life? Where you can work- and work hard- and then look at where you came from and where you are now and SEE- actually SEE- a quantifiable difference that can’t be argued with. Its an incredible feeling. When I study and study for 14 hours a day, I go home with nothing. I have no proof I can see. I have nothing to show for it. Only time and tests will tell whether that time was worth something- if I gained anything from that work.
On a run though, I come home with work I can see. The sweat on my face and shirt. The five miles of pavement I left behind me. Chewed up, spit out, burnt up asphalt that I conquered with my own two feet. Even the pain in my left foot tells me I’ve done work.
Running gives me things I don’t get to experience a whole lot anymore. It gives me a good dose of accomplishment, stands me back up, builds confidence, and makes me happy.
It’s the whole theme of steps that gets me and keeps me going in school. The runs carry me through in more ways than I can count. That even if its baby steps, slow steps, big steps, or steps where I flat out stumble and fall and get back up again, I’m still getting somewhere. I try not to forget that when I’m endlessly studying. Each powerpoint, lecture, sentence, note, drawing, and test is a step and I’m getting somewhere whether I see it or not. My steps aren’t always the best or fastest or more graceful, but they mean I’m working. And whatever else anyone around me is doing, I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing I’m out on the road taking laborious, painful, glorious, work-for-every-last-one-of-them steps, and everyone is driving by fast in a car acting like they’re getting somewhere.

Categories
Life Medical School

Medical school paradox

Everything is so fast. Full speed ahead barreling down a never-ending hill of unimportant, yet necessary, mind-boggling yet mindless knowledge. Speedily tracking down who-knows-what going somewhere none of us knows anything about, at such a dizzying pace that I really have no idea if I’m so exhausted I’m invigorated or the other way around. I look at my watch at 3:46 PM wondering how it got that late without me learning anything. All I know is that I look at my watch at the end of the day and wonder if I did anything at all as the hours flew by and I’m another day behind. I feel like December could have already come and gone and I wouldn’t know.
Yet, it’s so freaking, painstakingly slow that I’m not sure if I’ve been here my whole life or if I’ve forgotten my life previous to this. The hours drag on so slow, you’d think I was listening to lectures on quantum theory while someone was literally picking me apart cell by cell. So slow I can’t keep my eyes open and I can’t fall asleep. I feel the seconds tick by like hours reminding me that as slow as it’s going, I still don’t possibly have enough time to get everything done. Every second slinking by as sleepily as me, groaning “Study, always study!” as they wither and die, breathing their last breath for an eternity. I sit in lecture wondering how it could possibly be only 8:23, knowing I have at least 40x the amount I’ve been sitting here before I get to go home and study more. Oh, when will it be December?

Categories
Life Lists Medical School

10 Things Vol. 2

1. Test tomorrow. So yeah, I should be studying.
2. This week should be a little lighter in terms of Biomedical foundations material. Its a short week and anatomy is starting, so we only have 5 BMF lectures.
3. ANATOMY IS STARTING. I loved anatomy in undergrad so I hope my love stays strong and doesn’t turn to resentment. Humans are so neat, guys.
4. I get to have lunch with my senior (as in old people) mentor. This will be our first time meeting them. We will have a couple of assignments with them throughout this semester. We get to take a personal history and a medical history. I hope mine is precious and not gross.
5. Running is going great. I didn’t expect to rely on it as much I do. Mostly because when I was in undergrad, running sort of fell by the wayside. Now, after a solid two months of 5-7 days a week, I can feel at the end of the day when I’m all amped and ready to run. The rule is, if I have time to think about getting a run in, I run.
6. My study buddy has been gone for labor day weekend and I really feel the struggle without her. Not being able to talk things out has me tweaking so I don’t think this test will be as good as the first two.
7. There’s a lot of life in medical school. If any of my posts have deterred you from pursuing a future in medicine, that’s not what I’m trying to do here. Its fun and ultimately its going to be great and worth it, if its what you want to do.
8. I think what has helped me the most with anxiety (test anxiety and otherwise) is the amount of “busy” I’m taking on. I didn’t know what busy was. Like I said, I’m either studying, or about to study. I don’t have time to think about what I’m not doing because I’m always doing something or making progress towards being able to do something.
9. I drink a lot of water. At least two liters a day. I feel better when I do. Plus, filling up my water bottle and peeing in between lectures and as mini study breaks keep me from getting too comfortable and falling asleep.
10. Study, study, school’s your buddy!

Categories
Medical School

Mondays are for MMMMMlleeeeggggggghhhhh

The good thing about tests being on Mondays is that you have the whole weekend to attempt to prepare.
The rest of the issue of Monday exams involves the fact that its on Monday, and the whole week starts out with me being exhausted.
I’ve never had a favorite day of the week and I try to make everyday the best it can be.
But being up late last night meant my eyes were still stinging with sleep when I pryed them open at 6 this morning.
The kind of morning where you can’t even get your eyes open wide enough to get eyeliner and mascara on without poking yourself in the eye. Guys, you know that feeling right? 🙂
I choked down a muffin and drove to school (an hour and a half early) with my many bags of food and clothing and binders full of handouts.
After the exam, we all kill some time in the lounge. It all starts over again with a new unit of 16 weeks of material packed in in, oh, about an hour.
This routine will be what my Mondays are like for the foreseeable future.
Thankfully, its an exciting time with some of the nicest, funniest people I have ever met.

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studying with my pup