Thursday, March 29, 2007

Asked and answered

Cheryl asked a few questions after my last post. I will attempt to answer them here. If this is ridiculously boring, wander over to any one of the fabulous blogs on the right. Redneck Mommy has pierced nipples, and Maria from just eat your cupcake is wearing human pheromone that only works on lesbians--surely that's more interesting.

Still here? Okay, here goes (in the order in which Cheryl asked):

What kind of medicine do you want to do?

I'm not yet sure. I worked in a labor and delivery unit for a few years before med school, and when I came, I thought I wanted to be an obstetrician. I don't enjoy surgery, though, and Ob-Gyns do a fair amount of gynecological surgery. Now, I'm thinking that I may be able to find something that is an even better fit for me.

Right now, I spend one day a week working in a hematology clinic treating patients with blood disorders (people for whom the delicate balance of bleeding and clotting is out of whack). I'm not necessarily interested in hematology, but I am interested in that kind of work--work within a specialty.

In the end, I just want to be a great physician. I am not all that concerned with income or work hours. Many people (including medical students) say, "I don't live to work, I work to live." That is not true for me. I'm never as happy as when I am using my time and talents to do meaningful work. The hematologist I work with is an amazing older physician who feels the same way. In forty years of practice, she has maintained balance, rather than burn out, though. Balance is key, and she's a great mentor for me. (Wow, now this is boring and cheesy.)

How long have you been in medical school?

Almost two years.

The first two years of medical school are spent in lectures. It's like college on steroids. The second two years are spent in clerkships. These are the short white coats you see at the hospital--medical students in their 3rd and 4th years. Third year starts for me in July and is sort of about figuring out what I want to do when I grow up.

How hard is it (medical school)?

It's not hard--it's just lots. There is nothing I've learned over the past two years that anyone of average intelligence couldn't understand. It gets a little confusing because the knowledge builds on itself, and you have to keep up. The hard part is in the keeping up. This is not quantum physics, though. It's more like a pie eating contest. You have to be a disciplined and a little nuts, but not all that bright.

Cheryl didn't ask this, but the question I get most often is,
Is it anything like Grey's Anatomy?

Sadly, no. No one in my class of 150 students, none of the physicians who lecture us, none of the residents who the students date, none of our test proctors, none of our standardized patients, none of the real patients, no one is that good looking.

Also, the doctors on Grey's Anatomy know a lot more about certain parts of the anatomy than some of us seem to. Last year in anatomy lab, a student I call The Brain Cell (because he just uses the one) was dissecting the cadaver next to mine. We were working on the pelvis and perineum when a professor came over to answer some of his questions. The professor took one look at his dissection and said, "What on earth did you do here?"

"What do you mean?" asked The Brain Cell.

"Where is the clitoris?"

"Oh, uh, is that this flap of fascia?" he said, pulling it out from under the cadaver's right knee.

At this point, I could no longer hold in my laughter. The professor looked at me and said, "I'm not even sure where to go from here."

"It gets worse," I said. "He wants to be a surgeon. And he's newly married. I'm taking up a collection to buy his wife some batteries, would you like to contribute?"

See, that wouldn't happen on Grey's Anatomy. The guys on that show know the clitoris is not a flap of fascia stored behind the right knee.


Melanie said...

oh...dear. wow. flap of fascia? behind the KNEE?

i'm going to point my older daughter at this post, because she's been feeling like medicine is the direction she wants to take after high school, and it's always good to have any little glimpse you can get into the "living in it" aspects of things.

Maria said...

Oh, boy howdy....his poor wife!

And you hit the nail on the head with all of your answers. I ended up in psych. (Not literally, but specialized...although in retrospect, I came very close to being on the other end of the couch MANY times!)

And that is why I have a hard time watching Grey's Anatomy or ER or any of those hospital shows. I mean, where WERE those people when I was there? I don't recall anyone staying in ER rotation for years on end. And McDreamy and an intern? That never happened. Or I should say it was extremely rare.

Anonymous said...

I think I would probably be more into the Microbiology, pathology side of things. The way viruses mutate and evolve is scary and fascinating at the same time.

I was the only one excited about working with the E. coli in my Environmental Science class and to think I had lab group of guys all afraid to work with it. Hello? This is why we rigorous safety mesasures should be respected. I'm all about safety and if you don't have the courage to protect yourself appropriately then go stand over there and hold the wall up for me peaches. :>


ryan said...

i think you should be a proctologist
that sounds fun!

the interview went well
i am not sure if the job is right for me though
we will see

another day!


i love this post by the way, it made me giggle like a school girl.

Rich said...

I work in Health care and did a fun post about a rectum specialist I met at the hospital I work.

where do you go to school?

I enjoyed this interview/post very much.

Rich said...

oh and my favorite Bagel and cream chese combo at Penera Bread is Asiago cheese with sundired tomato cream cheese. I know it's yours. It's so delicious isn't it??

Susanlee said...

Justin is going to eventually go to med-school so I'm going to make him come read this post later. I laughed and laughed...thanks for the pick me up. And to answer your question from my blog, we have a five year plan, the baby comes at the end of it...

Teronni said...

Melanie - I thought medicine in high school too. In college, I changed my mind a few times before coming back to it. I would encourage your daughter to be patient with herself as she tries to figure it all out.

Maria- A psychiatrist, huh? I saw a psychologist once. (I know--it's not the same.) She told me I was passive aggressive and that my marriage could be saved if I was willing to work on it. I told her that if she really felt that way, she should try marrying him. I don't know where she got that passive aggressive shit. Quack.

Prox- I had to overcome my fear of germs in labor and delivery. They called me the Queen of Bodily Fluids because if someone had some to donate, they were going to do it on me. That reminds me of a charming story about a patient's amniotic fluid that ended up in my crotch. I'll tell ya, that's one way to lube it up. (Did I just write that!?!) Perhaps a future post.

Ryan- I love the idea of you giggling like a school girl. And I'm glad to hear the interview went well! Proctology is definately a no-go. (I hope you weren't interviewing for a career counseling position.)

Rich- I'm glad to hear we share the love of Panera bagels. Their coffee is shit, though! Too weak--like brown water.

Susanlee- Great to hear from you again! Plans are good. And five years sounds like a good amount of time to settle in to being married. (What am I saying? What the hell do I know? I have a divorce lawyer on retainer!)

dive said...

Hi, Terroni. Thanks for dropping in on my blog. Your deleted "typo" intrigued me so I followed it over here to find a totally brilliant blog.
May I ask - in my foppish British way - if I may link to it?

Esmerelda said...

WOW thanks for clearing all that up. There are guys that are that dumb!

Cheryl said...

Hey, thanks for answering my questions. I really did want to know. And, I didn't ask about Grey's Anatomy on purpose. I knew the real thing couldn't be anything like that.

I love my primary care physician. She looks me right in the eye and really listens. She's never in a rush. It seems like dermatology could be a great specialty. It takes forever to get an appointment with one of those doctors.

I know a great bunch of bloggers, huh? Including you!

Rich said...

I agree with you Penera Coffee. I"ve always sid it tasted watered down. What is it with that?

emmapeelDallas said...

Oh, The Brain Cell makes me think of that old joke: What's the difference between a golf ball and a clitoris?

Answer: Most guys are willing to spend 10 minutes looking for a golf ball...

Sadly, there are too many docs like The Brain Cell practicing medicine...

.j.william. said...

hahaha. T, I'm avoiding writing my preliminary examination by going through some of your old posts. Killer good, this one!

word verification: "goopi" -- how fitting!