Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fun medical fact of the day: Hemochromatosis, the increased deposition of iron in the body, can cause levels of iron high enough to set off airport metal detectors. I bet those people have fun explaining to the TSA worker that they're not terrorists.

I've been on Christmas break for 4 days now. Thank goodness. Although, will the pathetic amount of studying I did for the last two weeks of school, this might as well be my third week of break. I finally bit the bullet and went to a coffee shop to study, knowing that bribing myself with hot chocolate would be the only way I could force myself to study for the boards.

Speaking of the Test That Shall Not Be Named, I am officially signed up to be tortured on June 13, 2011.
And it's only costing me my first born child. There's something inherently wrong with having to pay hundreds of dollars to take a 9 hour test. Not to mention, a week later I'll have to do it all over again when I take the MD boards.

If I don't pass these stupid tests, I'm quitting med school and joining the circus. Our school has an 80 something pass rate for the boards, so logic states that I'll pass, but that doesn't stop me from having the increasing certainty that I know absolutely nothing about medicine. Or that I'll forget everything I did know when I start the test.

I'm sitting in this coffee shop, trying to remember all this stuff I once knew about liver pathology, but I can't concentrate because these two guys next to me have never heard of volume control. They are in dentistry school and they're complaining about school and professors and patients and they're talking like dentistry is the most important profession on earth. Maybe the fact that any talk of teeth and dentists make me want to cry and then go floss is coloring my feelings, but I kind of want to punch these guys because teeth are not life and death like they make them out to be. Medicine is life and death, and if you can't use your inside voice, my future patient might die because I won't have learned that scorpion bites can cause acute pancreatitis.

The longer I listen to these guys, the more I'm starting to get the sinking feeling that my friends and I sound just like them, although I can be fairly certain that we're not nearly as arrogant as these two. I'm pretty sure dentistry is not God's gift to mankind (not that I'm saying medicine is). But we sit around and complain about how hard med school is, how much busy work we have to do, how many hoops we're being made to jump through. We talk about our futures with such certainty, like we have any idea what real medicine is like. We bitch about studying for the boards, like I'm doing in this post.

I don't think we take enough time to sit back and realize how lucky we are to be here, to be doing what we've worked years to do. We have the chance to join a profession that makes a difference, a profession that is respected. We've made it to a place where thousands of people never do. Last year 42,742 people applied to medical school. Only 18,665 matriculated. I forget how lucky I am amidst the tests and late night study sessions and crazy Deans and drama.

I need to remind myself more often that all of this will be worth it on the other side. Maybe that will get me to stop complaining so much... but then again probably not. Whining is, after all, the official sport of medical school, and if I stopped whining, then there would probably be more drinking. And I don't really want liver flap, because that's not so attractive.

Happy Holidays!