Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Med School Lesson # 1

It's hard to drive in high heels.

I can press the brake just fine, but the gas pedal is going to be the end of me! After several seconds of wondering why I'm not going anywhere and cursing Toyota for making a defective gas pedal, I remember that it's just easier if I take off the high heel and drive barefoot (which is possibly illegal, don't turn me over to the cops).

What does this have to do with medical school?

Nothing really, except let's just take a moment to marvel over the fact that I actually wear high heels now. My mom is reading this and having heart palpitations over that last sentence because I do not dress up. Ever.

I think I aged my mother 10 years when we had to buy a suit for my med school interviews, because I hate shopping in general, and I'd rather drink battery acid than shop for suits. My mother is a saint for not murdering me and stashing my body in a changing room. So the fact that I voluntarily wear high heels when I "see patients" (which, by the way, are people that get paid to pretend to have something wrong with them; like Kramer did once on Seinfeld) is nothing short of a miracle.

A year ago I was wearing Old Navy flip flops with my work clothes and buying my work pants a size too big so they resembled pajama pants instead of actual slacks (slacks makes me sound like I'm 80. My grandma wears slacks and she was born in 1920.). Now I put on heels and dress pants that actually fit. Well, only on days when I have to actually dress up. You couldn't pay me money to wear dress pants if I didn't have to. I might have "grown up" but I'm not insane.
Someplace in my med school damaged brain, wearing heels equates with being a grown up.

But now I'm in medical school, and I'm pretending to be a real adult that knows something about medicine, so when I have to wear professional dress to see patients, I wear heels. And that makes me feel old (and about four hundred feet tall, but I'm getting used to that). I feel like I'm playing dress up because when did I get this old? I'm pretty sure I'm still 18 and skipping Classical Mythology because it was after lunch and who went to class right after lunch anyway?

Medical school is the weirdest combination of real life and high school (which is another post for another time) and half the time I don't feel old enough to be here, and HOLY CRAP, I'm learning how to save lives and I'm not old enough to have that type of responsibility. The reality of this blows my mind sometimes because most of the time I feel like I'm still in college. I go to class (and I skip class), and I study, and I turn in homework, and I take tests (and I sleep with my notes under my pillow the night before the test because osmosis totally works).

I have to remind myself that, unlike college, if I don't learn this information, my grade won't be the only thing that suffers. If I don't learn this stuff, my future patients will suffer. Which brings me right back to, "Who let me into medical school; I am not mature enough for this?"

I guess the only cure for this is the ole' fake-it-until-you-make-it. Pretend to know what you're doing until you actually do. So I'll keep wearing high heels and pretending to be grown-up. Well, that and saying a prayer of thanks that in medicine you don't make a decision unsupervised until you've been a doctor for almost a decade.


  1. Driving barefoot isn't illegal. I asked the examination man when I took my driving test at 16, which is way too close to 10 years ago.

    Also, I feel you on this. Except that instead of saving lives I am in charge of possibly ruining them by throwing people in prison. What did we sign up for?

  2. Thank God your mom has a strong heart! What she went through to keep you looking somewhat human out in public was a herculean effort!