Monday, September 07, 2009

How it's going

About every other day I feel overwhelmed with excitement about the beauty and order of the human body, astonished at how it ever works correctly, feeling almost intoxicated with love about it.

Then the other days I feel overwhelmed with information, wondering if I'm ever going to know this all and having self-doubt about my abilities.

I just read back over my entry about the first week of medical school and I've come a long way!

It now really feels like it's my school, my subway, my home, my classmates, my teachers. The workload is a lot, but there hasn't been any concept I haven't been able to figure out. In addition to two weekly meetings (one in a clinical setting where we practice interviewing patients, and one with a clinician where we practice solving clinical problems), there are just three classes this term.

First, is of course, Gross Anatomy. I love it. It's horribly difficult and complicated and full of details, but I just love it. There is an inordinate amount of information to know, but it all goes together so beautifully, it doesn't feel like work to me to learn it. It feels like a privilege. Plus, it includes Embryology which I took a whole course on my senior year in college and that experience contributed significantly to my decision to go to med school. Embryology is so amazing. I'll tell you more than you ever want to hear about it if you ask =).

Then, there's Biochemistry and Cell Biology. This is basically understanding the chemistry that makes the body run. For instance we've recently been working through the details of hemoglobin...how it is synthesized, how it is broken down, how it works, what happens when it doesn't work and how we might try and fix that. I was particularly nervous about this one because I hadn't taken biochem before (many people have), but so far, so good. It is interesting and relevant and most dinner table conversations start with, "guess what diseases can be caused by protein misfolding?"

Thirdly, there's Human Behavior in Medicine. It's sort of a cross between intro to psychiatry and a best practices in medicine class. We are working through a whole variety of interesting topics in human behavior. The argument is that you are much more effective as a physician if you pay attention to the patient as a person with a family whose behaviors might be telling you more than first meets the eye. Plus, we need to understand our own biases and behaviors and how they might impact our treatment of the patient. We're also working through a number of topics that might be difficult, awkward or unnerving at first encounter in the clinic and talking about the best ways to handle them. Topics in the first section include medical student mental health, drug abuse, obesity, child abuse, human sexuality, etc. Then we move on to mid-life crises, depression, aging and dying. I'm glad to be talking about and thinking through these topics. Sometimes it is a little much to think that I'm going to really face these situations and be able to be a professional, caring, compassionate provider. It feels like I really don't know many answers right now. But, maybe that's ok. (Now and then).

All in all, very interesting ways to spend my days. I've figured out about six new ways I could commute and am slowly navigating when to use which.

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