Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kevin may have accidentally ruined someone's future

For everyday our school has applicant interviews, they invite 3 current medical students to come speak during the lunch session and answer any questions the applicants might have. This is a mutually beneficial setup: the applicants get to ask questions they might not otherwise ask, and medical students get some free food. Robby and I were coming out of one of these sessions when we noticed one of the applicants had apparently left his personalized packet of information (necessary for his interview) on the table. I argued that he would likely remember and come back for his stuff, Robby – citing a popular Abe Lincoln tale - insisted we return the materials to the admissions office lest it be stolen by less than scrupulous villains. Since I’m always ready to random conduct acts of charity, I acquiesced. When we finally made our way to the admissions office, we happened to run into the same gaggle of applicants and as well as the admissions tour guide. I immediately handed the packet to the guide only to hear “Oh this applicant should be interviewing right next door to where we ate lunch.” Oops.

So this then dawns on me: this applicant probably stepped out to use the restroom, prepping for a hour of good ol' ethical grillin, only to come back to find his stuff gone. I conjecture this is what most likely happened afterwards...

Finding his prized information stolen could have very well ruined his mental focus and mojo, causing him to give terrible answers at the interview. This would inevitably lead to his rejection at our school, undoubtedly his first choice institution. Distraught at this recent failure, he becomes so dejected he withdraws his other applications, sells his belongings and moves into the mountains to rough it as a grizzly man. Either that or he ends up in dental school, not sure which one is worse.

Clearly no good deed goes on unpunished.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Julia presents a landmark case of PMS

We here at IDDx are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our content (see: Beef Stew). A few months ago we experimented with guest authors by publishing an article written by the now infamous Jess. However, the reviews were less than favorable, featuring comments such as “Oh god my eyes,” “I think I just threw up a little in my mouth” and the much feared: “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.” One drawn out mental anguish lawsuit later, we have decided to venture into the realm of guest authorship once again, this time with a new, less Jess-y, author. Enjoy


Okay, so PMS in the general population may not be that remarkable, but when a landmark case - such as I am about to relate to you - is encountered… well, is there not an intellectual duty to report it?

I was in the hospital cafeteria trying to grab some lunch in the small window of time between my visit to the gym and class. I grab some veggie burrito and head over to the cashier. I get into a line behind a woman who is already checking out and thank my lucky stars that I managed to avoid what is normally a long line and crush of people at lunchtime. Things are working out today. Huzzah!


While this woman is seemingly gathering up her plate and soda, the cashier has already rung me up. As I am handing over my cash, this woman turns and tries to walk through me, presumably to get a napkin or utensil or something. Instead of then going AROUND me the way a normal person might, suddenly I hear her bark at me “Uh, could you not put your dirty hand over my food?!” I am so shocked by this I simply say sorry, take my change and go.

Come to think of it, I don’t even think my hand WAS over her food. Perhaps it was in the airspace adjacent to the plate in question. But, to be fair, there is no way to prove that the microbes on my hand WEREN’T propelling themselves into the air and free diving into her mashed potatoes, so we can probably overlook this. Aren’t we always hearing about what a problem iatrogenic infections are around hospitals?

So I walk out of the cafeteria, prized burrito in hand, and begin to head back to class. However, I quickly realized that someone was on my heels, tailgating me. I turn my head to look over my shoulder et voila! It is the nasty lady herself. Is she done with me yet? Oh no, dear reader, she still has a little something snotty left.

“Oh great and why don’t you get your hair everywhere too?”

Excuse me? Now, what we had here was a definite pot-and-kettle situation. I have long curly hair that I was wearing down at that moment. However, she ALSO had long, dark curly hair that was down.

Think, Julia, think! “Um, could you try and not ruin my day as well?” Ok, not the wittiest thing I could probably have come back with, but honestly I was so shocked by this behavior coming from a total stranger… I mean REALLY.

Well at this point she just ignored my existence and stalked back towards her office. Touche, cranky-professional woman. Until we meet again... one month from now.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Kevin falls, David watches

As many of you know, the second year of medical school is traditionally far harder than the first. We’re preparing for the USMLE Step 1, whose effect on our ultimate career opportunities makes the MCAT look like a third grade math quiz, juggling more clinical responsibilities, and incorporating significantly more pathological correlates into the basic science curriculum. To top it all off, the Candyland-like existence of Pass-Fail grading from first year has been replaced by the cruel Sorry-esque wasteland of the Honors-Pass-Fail system (stay tuned for more H/P/F musings from me soon).

This added pressure forces most people to adjust their study habits. Many students work harder, longer, or find methods to increase their academic efficiency. I’ve adapted by preparing myself for the inevitable career switch to some sort of trade school. Kevin, unfortunately, has fallen prey to a far more sinister path…

Recently during lecture, one of our professors relayed a humorous anecdote about his freshman year of college. In preparation for an exam, he had taken an ill-advised number of caffeine pills to gear up for an all-night learning extravaganza. Tears, as is often the case when anyone labels anything an “extravaganza,” were around the immediate corner; he was jittery, unable to study, and couldn’t even hold a pen in his hand when he entered the test completely sleep-deprived the next morning. Most people would react to such a story by learning a valuable lesson about using caffeine in moderation. Kevin? Not so much.

I’ll let him describe his thought process:

"Hmm...the professor is saying something, maybe I should listen. I like words! Caffeine pills to study for a test? That sounds like a good idea. Let me do a cost-benefit analysis. I'm already spending quite a few dollars buying coffee day in and day out. Why not switch to the pill form? After all, it’s considerably cheaper and more convenient, with the only difference being the stigma attached to taking a pill. I'll pick up a small bottle of No Doz over the weekend and use it as necessary. And, in other news relevant to this particular internal monologue, I’ve reached the obvious conclusion that David is far superior to me in many ways. I’ve come to view him as something of a demigod amongst the mere mortals that populate this particular institution. Self, let me enumerate the ways in which he brightens the world. Number one…"

Ok, so I may have fabricated some, or all, of the preceding stream of consciousness. Yet after Kevin brain-birthed the severe preemie that was this particular idea, I bore witness to the ebbs and flows of his No Doz-fueled journey. Here’s a running timeline of my observations:


1pm: Kevin is visibly tired. He’s nodding off a bit in class and mentions that he had to wake up extremely early to prepare for a lab meeting. His week is off to a good start.

2pm: Kevin puts his plan into action, taking one No Doz and washing it down with a Coke.

3pm: Kevin is taking notes like a madman. Holy crap, he’s a learning machine. How much knowledge can one man accumulate? Maybe he’ll remember me when he’s President of Medicine…

11pm: Kevin is online, working on an abstract he needs to submit for his research project. He indicates that it’s going to be a really long night. Good thing he had that No Doz earlier.


1pm: Kevin was up all night working on the abstract and only got a few hours of sleep. The solution? You guessed it - No Doz II: Son of No Doz. And he’s off to that rarified air of godly productivity most people can hardly fathom…

Midnight: Kevin is online. He has to get up early tomorrow yet again, but hasn’t been able to fall asleep.

Kevin: Ohhh noooo…I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.


12:30pm: Kevin, apparently unaware of the causal relationship between No Doz and his deteriorating QoL, stumbles into class on the strength of sheer willpower and an early-morning No Doz.

Kevin: I think I should’ve paid attention when they talked to us about D.A.R.E. in 5th grade.
David: I’m pretty sure we saw your story on a PSA. Except your name was Johnny…and then you died.
Kevin: …
Kevin: …
Kevin: …
David: If you develop an arrhythmia, can I listen?

2pm: Kevin is struggling. His head is on the desk. Hm…what should I do? Send him my notes? Try to wake him up? Or I could just poke him. Yeah, I’ll just poke him.

Julia: Uh, is Kevin OK? Maybe you should po-

David: Already on it.


David: Are you OK?
Kevin: I need to leave class to go take a nap.
David: So this is how it ends, huh?
Kevin: It’s been a good run.
David: RIP, good sir.


Kevin: I'm going home to sleep. Sooo tirrred.
David: Why is your eye twitching?
Kevin: Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.


Luckily, after a few nights of rest, Kevin was back to normal by the following week. His No Doz days are now behind him. He’s a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and ultimately not much worse for the wear. Plus, I’ve inherited some No Doz…

Friday, October 3, 2008

Comic: Ideal vs. Reality - Anesthesiology

Perhaps I have these two cases flipped.