Wednesday, September 13, 2006

SHOUT*!

Every once in a while, I write home to my family.



My landlady just popped and brought the baby over. While my roommates are cooing over how cute he is, I ask if I can hold him. Want to know a cool trick about babies?

If you let a healthy baby's head drop suddenly, it's arms will reflexively extend and grasp. I think this is a defense against falling from the mother's arms. Instead, I like to use it in the following context where "*" means dropping the baby's head.

"Now waiiiit a minute. You know you make me want to SHOUT*! Come on now, SHOUT*! Come on now, SHOUT*! Come on now, SHOUT*!"

By the way, this never gets old.

Greetings from St. Vincent.

Medical school is much different now. The material is coming like a flood, and every second you spend marveling at how much work you have to do you're ending up farther and farther behind. Procrastination, I'm learning, is a luxury I don't have.

Instead of teaching me how the body breaks, they're teaching me how to fix it. I know this is the point of medicine, but I swear to you that over the last 18 months I completely forgot about it. I'm also learning that the body, while split into the parts of heart, lung, liver, etc., is still connected. Say goodbye to the days of easy questions that dealt with just one of these systems and say hello to the ricocheting questions that begin in the stomach, enter the heart and leave the spine. It's all much harder, but in the way that it should be. I'd be disappointed if this ever got any easier.

Alice is ten feet tall and drugs are fascinating. Learning all of their names, side effects, contraindications and uses is like getting the keys to the car when you're sixteen. That you'll crash the car is a given, but dammit if it isn't exciting! What's worse, while I'm getting excited over a few names and a basic understanding, I still have no concept about delivery method, dosing, chronic v acute management, which drugs are more expensive and which drugs have conflicting benefits in the literature. I'm going to be stupid for a long time yet.

The school is REALLY trying to help us look the part for clinicals in New York. To get that newbie shine off of us, we're getting soiled in the local hospital. Everyone goes twice a week to round with physicians and answer questions incorrectly. It's great.

Embarrassed to ask a 60-year-old about her sex life? Newbie shine.
Hesitant to lift a woman's breast to listen to her heart? Hope you don't get any blood on your scrubs? Can't tell a collapsed lung on an xray? Newbie shine.

It's slowly coming off.

Anyway, the work is killing me and I have to disappear for a month. I'll write again when some funny things happen. Oh, other things that happened since I last wrote:

Went to Milwaukee to give a speech. It went well. Went to Michigan for vacation with the family and became more tan than I ever was in the Caribbean. Went to Alabama for research. I got to dissect a fresh cadaver, which was incredible. The 70-foot stained glass window I made was finally installed in my patron's home. I'm very proud of it. My youngest sister took off for College in Colorado. I'm very proud of her.

SHOUT*!

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