2.5 months to go

Spring break was a complete success–my respite from the med school roller-coaster, however brief, was a welcome friend. Gone too soon of course.

I spent my week of no-responsibilities catching up on mundane adult life things–eye doctor, dentist, physical therapy and esthetician appointments. Picking up batteries for the garage door opener. Five loads of laundry. Napping in the middle of the afternoon. Starting and almost finishing a new book. Savoring the very rare opportunity to be ridiculously lazy.

Now we’re back and there are only 2.5 months of 1st year left. It feels like I was just getting ready for my first day of orientation, yet we are 9 months in and we’ve already covered:

  • biochemistry
  • immunology
  • medical statistics and biometrics
  • clinical foundations– including the art of the physical exam and the patient history
  • ultrasound of the major body systems
  • physiology of special senses (smell, sight, hearing),
  • cardiology,
  • respiratory,
  • endocrine,
  • renal,
  • reproductive,
  • GI and
  • hematology
  • histology covering all of the above
  • 1/2 of genetics
  • and anatomy and embryology touching on all of the above

I suppose I have a solid foundation, but mostly I just feel like I have a lot of random knowledge floating around my head that doesn’t quite fit together into actually helping out anyone who’s sick. For example, I know that tetrodotoxin is produced by puffer fish and inhibits action potentials by blocking voltage gated sodium channels—or that pre-term babies should be given cortisol to help produce surfactant–diarrhea causes non-anion gap metabolic acidosis, while diabetic keto acidosis will have an anion gap–or that opioid induced respiratory drive depression is managed by administering narcan. Yes, these are the random odds and ends that come to mind. I have amassed what comes to thousands of pages of preliminary knowledge. It will take the next several years to fill in the details and connect the thousands of small dots, until one day, in my mind will be a beautiful sight–an intricate, complex portrait of the human body and its delicate inner workings.

Sitting here today, I am far from seeing the big picture. I can hardly diagnose a cold. I have however gained a deeper obsession with medicine, the more I learn the more I want to know.

Tomorrow we start neuroscience– the last frontier in our introduction to the basic sciences which will form the basis for everything else we learn in our careers.

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