Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Break

Well, I made to to a break. The past week of class has been a bit brutal. My program is such that separate professors create their own curricula without too much attention to what is going on in other classes. Occasionally this leads to classes assigning way too much work at the same time without seeming to recognized that we have multiple classes. Now, this appears to be a simple fix to me. Have a meeting between the profs before the semester starts and iron out the schedules to make sure things make sense. Maybe I'm just a simpleton who doesn't understand that these are important people who can't be bothered to take time. Or maybe they just don't give a fuck.

Either way, last week was a bombardment of case reports, problems sets, and tests. I've made it out, may have bombed a test, but whatever. P = MD (pass gets you your MD).

Now on to spring break. I'm not going anywhere exciting, but the decompressing is very well appreciated right now. I'm going to spend some time seriously considering how I want the next few years to play out academically. I have a couple opportunities to take time and do some cool stuff, but I'm not sure it would be the best thing for my future or the most productive use of my time. I'm not terribly concerned with timing, but I am hoping to get to the heart of my career before I'm 40. There is not enough time to do everything, but there are routes to doing so many different things within medicine. So I'm going to think.

Otherwise, socially life it a bit dull. I think our first year class has settled into a rythm. We know who is who. To me, this is dreadfully boring. I'm excited to welcome the next batch. My school is sending out acceptences this upcoming week and I'll be hosting a couple of kids. The huge difference in my perspectives from last year to this year is startling. It will be fun seeing things from this side of the fence.

Monday, February 16, 2009


My brilliant cardio pathophysiology professor is big on words. Cor is a word derived from Hebrew and Phoenecian languages that refers to a measurement of capacity in seeds. Cor then is a seed. Most romance languages derive their word for heart from this (el Corazon, cuore). The complete mastery of a subject is fantastic to observe-my cardio professor surely has it with the heart.

This mastery must have a starting place. Physiology has made obvious to me how ignorant I have been in these subjects. Medical school presents many of these moments. Basic concepts of preload, afterload, contractility, what it means to be in congestive heart failure, the balance of the vascular systemt between cardiac function/organ perfusion/renal filtration are all such basic parameters of human life. Yet they remain so completely ambiguous until confronted by peers further along in their understanding of materials who force feed concepts and knowledge.

The heart is also associated with something else this time of year. Valentine's Day is certainly not a holiday I am keen to celebrate. Mutations in culture have presented us with a stink bomb, in my opinion. I'm convinced that a nationwide vote would lead us to dismissing this holiday. Regardless, perhaps it is needed to give people something to do. For those of us who are single, it is simply an awkward affair. Am I supposed to get dinner with other single friends? Am I supposed to go out and look for love? Am I at least supposed to try to get laid? It's all fucking annoying. For me, the awkwardness of telling others my plans consisted of eating $10 worth of McDonalds and watching a movie in my room was easier than making plans simply b/c of the holiday. Everyone one else feel free to enjoy the VD...I mean Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Working in the lab right now, looking out at a blizzard. I don't mind days when it is snowing, it is the days after that bother me. It tends to get really cold the day or two after a snow storm. Then as it warms up, slushy puddles of snow and nastiness form. You can't walk from place to place without looking like an army commando. Finally, at night the slush freezes to make an icy death trap. Needless to say, I'm a bigger fan of spring and summer than I am of winter.

I'm going to be happy when January classes are over. Many of my classmates have enjoyed much free time. I'm not sure if that has been a factor in my feeling a bit off lately. There are more complex reasons, but no need to go into those now. I think most people go through times of loneliness when they are not in relationships. I have spent most of the past few years hitched up, but haven't seriously seen anyone in a while now. I'm convinced there are evolutionary pushes for both males and females to be constantly seeing someone once they pass the age of around 20.

Enough of that babble. I am doing fine, just a bit of longing for something more lately. For now I will brave the snow and keep moving forward. I don't have a lot to complain about and there are always a lot of positives to keep in mind.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


The last month has been a bit of a blur. Post finals, I sat on the couch for days on end swallowing any bit of food in sight. While relaxing, I am happy to be back into the world of the productive. I was fortunate to enjoy New Years in New York City and the inauguration of our new president in DC. The weather on this coast has been brutal lately, but the ability to take part in such events is a big benefit to being on this coast. I could use this to go on a rant about how fucking amazing it is to have a new president, but I won't. We still need to hold him accountable and push for the best possible policies, but I really feel like the people have an ally in the office.

January classes are a bit blah. Biochem and Biostats/Epi. Not exactly quintessential med school classes in my opinion. I'm looking forward to getting to February when the physiology starts in. But for now, I will pound the inborn errors of metabolism into my skull.

The only other task going on now is the lab. I have been putting in about 4 hours a day in the lab. The group is working on finding the genes/signalling pathways involved in development and especially with a certain congenital defect. I like the people in the group and I really like the fact that we are using some very sophisticated/cutting edge tools to find things out. For me, science and medicine go hand in hand in every respect. Augmenting the class/clinic work with science is something I hope to do at every stage in my career. That's it for now, back to some lonely book work.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


So I have been abusing myself lately. With finals, get your minds out of the gutter. I'm not a high stress person. I don't let tests or worrying about whether some tiny detail on the coagulation pathway will determine my success in life. I think a lot of that is bull shit. On the other hand, I am a person who enjoys knowing things. I like being able to spout of pathways or the pathophysiology of a disease. My finals studying becomes a combination of learning what I want to learn and learning what will be on the test. People who try to "game" tests by figuring out what is on them and asking excessive questions to that motivation drive me crazy. We should be interested enough in the material to learn it and learn it well. We should want to be the most competent people we can be in order to help patients. I know this is idealistic and many will argue this mode of learning just doesn't work. I'll just have to disagree with those people.

I am looking forward to escaping the medicine/science world for a while after finals. I'm trying to make plans for NYC over New Years. We'll see how that works out. I won't know what to do with myself without having material to learn. I am a freak. We all are.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Day

I am tying up the last few strings for this semester as the holidays are coming around. I have issues with holidays. There some cruelty to them. Everyone is expected to act certain ways and have certain components in their life: family, friends, wealth enough for a banquet. Many don't enjoy these things. Many people are products of broken families, either by choice or by difficult circumstances. Holidays provide an impetus for many to believe their lives are wrecked. After all, if you don't enjoy the common, American rituals there must be something wrong with you, right?

I'm a big fan of constantly enjoying the people around you and the people who are important to you. We shouldn't need holidays for that. So as the holidays come, I would like to encourage those struggling. We are all one community. I hope everyone has a happy holiday that doesn't revolve around rituals that contain little meaning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I've developed a bit of a rythm to my Sunday mornings. I wake up around 9, check email, watch something online (most likely daily show), work out, clean my room, listen to some NPR. It is the only rythm to my life. I find comfort in it for whatever reasons.

Reflecting on this, it is odd to me that I have chosen a profession in which I hope to have no rythm. As an academic physician, I hope to be pushing boundries, treating new patients, and progressing my field. This course is not at all regular among physicians. There seem to be so many routes and such disparate lifestyles to be had within medicine. Some specialties I feel to be so adverse to the things I want to do and be, all under the umbrella of medicine. I could just as easily see myself being a fisherman as being a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist.

The rythm of being a physician is an important factor to me. I don't want to spend too much time fighting insurance companies or filing for payments. Our depleted, ruined system has taken so much of the life out of working in medicine. I wonder how much more dedicated and excited caregivers would be if this was not the case. Would quality of care go up? Would costs go down?

I have a month now to get into finals rythm. Pathology last week was quite an exciting test. The time given for the test was not enough. Classmates were running from room to room to look at slides and think about what exactly leads to subendocardial infarcts. I will be using the month to study and write papers, hopefully with some coherent rythm.