Archive for August 2009

On Faith and Pharmacology

August 26, 2009

(Or, How I Survived Fourth Semester)

For most intents and purposes, to me, religion is a private topic. It has a place in my life but it’s not a banner that I wave everywhere I go. It’s something personal, something I’ll share if asked but otherwise, keep to myself. I’m not big on evangelism; I don’t like clubbing people over the head with my beliefs and I especially don’t like the stereotypes with which the people who practice my religion get painted, in broad, bigoted swaths. So it is with a measure of reluctance that I talk about the role my religion played in my triumph over the big bad final. When I began this chronicle, I made a promise to myself to make it primarily about my experience of med school and less about my personal life. Self (and readers), forgive me for my departure from that vow. (more…)

The Saddest Review Question Ever

August 15, 2009

Courtesy of LWW’s BRS Pathology:

7. A 78-year-old man is found in his closed room unresponsive in bed after the first cold day of winter. There is a kerosene heater still on from the previous night. On attempts to rouse him, officers note the cherry hue of his lips, cheeks and mucous membranes. The likely mechanism of his death was:*

a) accidental ingestion of ethylene glycol

b) binding of carbon moxoide to hemoglobin

c) hepatic necrosis with fatty change

d) inhibition of hemoglobin production

e) inhibition of incorporation of iron into hemoglobin (more…)

Chicken Soup for the Salybia Soul

August 7, 2009

The following is an article originally written for the Summer ’09 Salybia Mission Project Newsletter. Although I finished 9th out of 25 female runners, I unfortunately did not beat my best time (official time was 28:49). I wonder what that means for the rest of the semester…

road to cabrits

Four Semesters in 20 Kilometers

My shirt was plastered to my skin with a mixture of sweat and rain. Ahead lay the most treacherous stretch of the race: the winding, crumbling asphalt road that comes just a few hundred meters before the entrance to the Cabrits National Park. I knew I wasn’t last but I’d already seen several runners dash past me and now I was alone; wet, thirsty and tired.  It was seven-something on a Sunday morning and I should’ve been in bed sleeping. Why then, was I running in the rain? (more…)

Practical Magic

August 4, 2009

Today, I will be taking (what I fervently hope is) my last practical exam on the island of Dominica. It’s also the last practical of basic sciences, so you know they’re making it hardcore. Here’s the setup: 4 rooms – two task rooms, one scenario room and one ‘Harvey’ room. In the task rooms, I may be instructed to perform, for example, a pelvic exam (on a model) or test pupillary reflexes (there are about 29 ‘tasks’). In the scenario room, they’ll give me a little vignette (e.g., ‘Patient comes in with a headache. Please show how you would examine the patient.’) and I must choose which tasks to perform (and justify them during the question period). In the Harvey room, I must inspect, palpate and auscultate Harvey (the cardiac simulator), describe the type of heart problem he’s having and diagnose him. No matter what I’m asked to do, I must do it competently and confidently AND leave at least 30 seconds for the followup questions, which could be on practically anything (‘what drug would you use to treat this?’ ‘what syndrome presents with this symptom?’). Even though I’ve been practicing pretty regularly, I’m a bit nervous. Some tasks I feel fairly confident performing, but what if I get something like fundoscopy and can’t see the fundus?!** Or, what if I have to perform the entire respiratory exam* in 5 minutes and 30 seconds?! Eeeeee!

I guess I just need to keep my mnemonics in mind.

Inspection

Auscultation

Percussion

Palpation

For musculoskeletal tasks:

Tone

Power

Reflexes

Sensation

Let’s hope I can competently and confidently IAPP and TPRS my way to an A today.

*If I do get the respiratory exam, they won’t make us do diaphragmatic expansion and they probably won’t make us auscultate the anterior thorax. But still! 5 minutes and 30 seconds is not a lot of time…

**aaaaaand I got fundoscopy as a task. Still couldn’t see the fundus. But I described papilledema well, I think (I hope). I also had thyroid exam as a task, angina for my scenario and ventricular septal defect for the Harvey case. :::sigh::: One down, two exams to go. Wish me luck!