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2 months already!?

Posted Oct 30 2008 3:22pm
Bad, bad med student. No blogging in two months!

Well, what can I say, life got in the way. I don't really like that, because I really try to do everything that I decide I'm going to do, and don't really appreciate failing in my goals for any reason. I prefer trying even harder.

But the last two months have really been a mess.

On the positive side, the mess is now over and I am better at what I intend to do with my life and I also have a better idea of what exactly it is I want to do with my life.

How so? Well, there's that pharmacology exam. Not that exams show how well I'll do as a doctor, so passing it doesn't mean I'll be any better. However, the system around here makes it absolutely impossible to keep up with the current happenings in classes, because what we're getting tested on, extensively, are past classes. So, whatever lectures and rotations I have now are the least relevant in my life at the moment, because I won't actually be tested on them until at least June and more probably September, or possibly in two-and-a-half years (and that's actually planned into the curriculum. A minimum of a 2,5 years break between lectures and the corresponding exam. Go figure.). Not a really responsible point of view, since I could learn so much more if I kept up with current classes but... excuse me for trying to make sure I get to choose my specialty instead of getting stuck in pathology. And unfortunately, around here, exam grades are everything and performance on rotations is nothing when it comes to getting into a specialty.

So, pharmacology. Yes, I failed to keep up. And yes, I only remembered the most common drugs used on any given rotation, and I haven't had many of them yet, and even when I knew the name of a drug, I had no idea what it did or how. However, with the pharm exam coming up, the whole thing finally shifted to the centre of my attention. To the exclusion of everything else. Final result? A very decent grade, and, more importantly, I finally know what drugs patients are getting and why. A nice feeling. Wish I found it before. However, I was to busy with weekly memorising of pathology facts, so I couldn't really find time to look up on diseases and treatments of patients I was seeing.

And I know better what I want to do with my life?

Yup. I volunteered... yes, volunteered... in our system... which meant I had to go through that pharm textbook a lot faster than the rest of the class... to go see what surgery looks like. More precisely, to go help out at our abdominal surgery department.

FUN

I got to assist more than the average final year student on his surgical rotation would, thanks to the fact I was volunteering, which equals enthusiasm, which is apparently well-appreciated by surgeons. I got a hell of a lot more attention from the surgeons than said hypothetical sixth-year student. Volunteering. And I learned a lot more than said sixth-year student. Volunteering, therefore present when I had time to be present, therefore present when I had time to look up on conditions and surgical techniques after I got out of the OR. Unlike said sixth-year student, who was present when it was time for him to be present, while at the same time studying his butt off for his internal medicine exam which tends to take all of your available time and more, thereby making it impossible to make any use of any other rotation you might be doing at that particular time.

Wow, I really don't like the system, huh. I wanted to write about fun and ended up ranting. Oh dear.

Anyway. Yes it was fun. And educational as hell. Even the upcoming tiny little abdominal surgery exam seems less scary. And the abdominal section of my surgery textbook suddenly seems a lot more interesting, what with all the patients I saw and can now relate to all this theory. Not to mention the fact it makes a lot more sense. And when I hear BillrothII in a lecture, I actually know what the guy is going on about. Unlike the other 150 people in my class who couldn't possibly care less what he's going on about, and have no idea what the possible complications of BII are. Oh, they'll know all right, next Friday, for the test. And forget right afterwards in preparation to memorise the next batch of completely unfamiliar data they can relate to nothing. I wonder what'll happen when they, as GP's, get a patient who needs a gastrectomy and wants to discuss what'll happen afterwards.

Anyway. I think I want to be a surgeon. I've said that before, but now, I think it's real. I actually know some of what happens there, and also know some of what happens in internal medicine, or neuro, or whatever, and, at the moment, I can't really imagine myself anywhere else but in some type of surgery. You see, I have this need to go and actually do something visible, with a very noticeable effect.
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