On The Subject of Being A Man
Being a man is not about how you can tear people down and force your will upon them, but about conducting yourself with class, manners and an open mind. That is all.
he knows what’s up, follow him.
…Not just being a man, but being a person in the world.
Lesson 9 : The Faculty is on YOUR Side…most of the time.
Your whole life teachers have been the antagonists to your protagonist - assigning you homework, giving you a 71 on your quiz, asking you to learn things. They told you when you could talk, they made you sign out to go to the bathroom, and they admonished you when you came to class a few minutes late and your uniform shirt was untucked. They have always been out to get you and holding you down. Yes, your teacher was The Man and a dictator to boot.
Hopefully, looking back, you can see your childish angst over being put in time out once or twice was not because your teacher was hiding a pointed tail in the back of her high-waisted maxi skirt. In fact, she probably smiled a lot and brought celery and peanut butter logs for snack time every once in a while. Or, he told lame jokes that nobody laughed at so he had a constant sheen of nervous sweat on his brow because he couldn’t escape the judging eyes of his students.
Said baseless attitudes towards faculty members carry over to medical school. They are the enemy to the legion of students. They don’t understand our need for good grades at all times. They don’t understand the individual differences of the students. They can’t understand! Otherwise…we would all have A’s!
False. In actuality, these people want you to do well…actually, better than well - they want everyone to be stellar. Besides ensuring their own job security by having a high student pass rate, they really do care how you do on your exams, boards, interviews, and life. They already know you’re the best, but they want to push you ever further because you are going to have someone’s LIFE in your hands soon. They refuse to accept your mediocrity because your patients wont accept mediocrity. A mediocre doctor isn’t a doctor at all. In fact, he’s probably (inexplicably) wandering about the campus, acting as if you should bow before him because he’s the best physician in the world… but he doesn’t have any patients.
The professors don’t want you to be that guy. They taught that guy years ago, and obviously, he was a fail on their part. And, they hate that guy because he’s always around and no one really understands why.
Of course, the professors are often brusque, at best, about pushing you to be your best. I have been told by my professor, in all honesty and crudeness, that he was going to “jump up my ass” if I didn’t get myself together (I was not the only one who heard this during a particularly rough week). I have heard faculty members all but call their students idiots to get them to study harder. The abuse is out of love… I swear. The same professor who threatened me with jumping up my butt stops me often in the hallways to make sure my grades are okay. He once asked me if I wanted a snack because I had missed lunch. His facade of meanness was too thin and too weak to make him a real bad guy.
They aren’t monsters. They probably have children, too, and they see said children in you. You sit and sulk and beg. Sometimes you need a kind ear or a kick in the pants. They smile, shake your hand, or embrace you tightly when you walk into their office just to talk. Sometimes they just want you out of their sight. Immediately. But they give bonus points and extra credit. They hold extra review sessions. They give you a heads up on “extremely possible” questions on your upcoming exam.
These people control your destiny almost as much as you do. The sooner you realize you’re both on the same team, the better. They will one day write your recommendations for research internships and, more importantly, residency programs. Grades that a borderline can be tipped in your favor if you make yourself known (respectfully, of course). And, really, some of them soon become like old friends with a jibe about that time you bombed your exam (yes, one day you will be able to laugh at your fails).
So friend them early on. But don’t cross the line of sucking up - they abhor it, and they usually can’t hide their disdain. Don’t disrespect them. Don’t cry like a baby over a bad grade they gave you. Don’t talk like you’re at a coffee shop in their class. Most importantly, don’t end up like that guy wandering the campus in his white coat with no patients. He never figured out that the faculty were his friends, not his foes. He still blames them for his fail when, really, he never bothered to learn anything. Ever.
Lesson 8 : Hypochondria - You Have It.
The endless numbers of syndromes, diseases and conditions written about in medical textbooks is enough to scare the pants off of anyone. What they teach you in med school is that if you have ever breathed, blinked, or had a random thought in your head, you already have one foot in the grave. Your eyes might fall out, your stomach will turn upside down, and you just might spontaneously combust.
Imagine hearing these things every. single. day. For hours. Then you go home and study it. For hours.
Yes, you are convinced you are dying. Of a Pseudomonas infection. Or the Baghdad boil. Or flail chest. Even though you haven’t been exposed to any of these things - not even close. But you have read about them, and you have been feeling kind of malaise-y, and you think you might have contracted Pseudomonas while fighting off the insect that would give you a Baghdad boil and you fell to the floor in the process, giving yourself flail chest. You are a walking dead woman/man.
Believe me, this will happen. Here is an example of a recent conversation between fellow medical students:
Student 1: My second toe hurts.
Student 2: Arthritis?
Student 1: Ouch… I think it’s swollen.
Student 2: Staph infection!
Student 1: OMG! I can’t put on my shoe!
Student 2: It needs to be drained! Before it spreads and kills you!
Epilogue : After two doses of aspirin (and a panicked call to Student 1’s physician parent who wondered why this “problem” warranted a phone call), the swelling subsided and the pain went away. Said toe had probably been squeezed in too-tight shoes during clinicals.
Medical students are hypersensitive and overeager to use their newly-acquired knowledge. The vocabulary of medical jargon expands by the hour, and you can’t help it from falling out of your mouth. While it is important that you be able to recognize the serious, you quickly lose the ability to ignore the trivial. A headache is not necessarily a tumor. Stomach cramps is not always a GI infection. And chest pains are not definitely indicative of a myocardial infarct.
You are wary of eating in restaurants for fear the chef has a Staph-infected lesion on his hand. You can’t sit on the toilet seat because the woman before you probably has cooties (yes, you now know cooties are real). You won’t get in the pool because M marinum microorganisms might be lurking in the water. You can’t go dancing at the club because you have a case of foot drop. And sex? You have seen far too many pictures of heinous nether regions to keep you celibate for decades. It’s a miserable life - that is definitely about to be shorter because you are about to die from something that is never seen in human civilization…and actually rarely seen on Planet Earth. Someone call 911.
This hypochondria is inevitable. You can’t help it. You can’t fight it. When you learn about it in Neuro, you scoff with your friends, but secretly know you fit the description of the “Hypochondriac Patient” to a tee. You can’t fight the feeling a microbe is out to get you, stopping you short of your lofty dreams. Your own mortality frightens you. The journey to immortality is fraught with pulled muscles leading to tragic embolisms.
OMG - and you just sneezed. Great. Now we all have SARS.
You Want Me to What?!
Brain donation- it’s not as strange as you might think…
Most drugs already developed for brain-related diseases have relied on research using human brains. Future efforts put forth towards cures for neurological disorders will require research on human brains. Unfortunately, animal models will not suffice.
Concerns regarding Brain Donation
1.“I donʼt want to look disfigured at my funeral”
No worries! The pathologist makes an incision at the back of the head at the hairline, and the brain is removed. The skull remains, so the person is not disfigured in any way, and you canʼt tell the brain has been removed.
2.“A donor status will affect my medical care”
False. Registering as a brain donor does not change a personʼs medical treatment in any way.
3.“Researchers donʼt need my brain if itʼs healthy”
The brains of both healthy individuals and those diagnosed with brain diseases are necessary for scientific comparison.
4.“Iʼm already an organ donor”
Brain tissue donation is not the same as other organ donation. When someone dies, the brain tissue needs to be donated within 12 hours for it to be useful to researchers. The brain canʼt be kept alive with machines the way the heart can for donation. And brain tissue isnʼt used for a transplant like the heart or kidney—its tissue is for research only.
5.“Iʼll be stuck if I change my mind”
For all of you indecisive folks, you are free to withdraw your consent to donation at any time. Your decision will be fully respected and no questions will be asked.
6.“It is against my religion”
Most religions accept and support brain and organ donation. It is a fact that none of the major religions absolutely prohibit an autopsy.If you are concerned about donation and your religious faith, please discuss this issue with your spiritual leader.
5 Reasons to Donate Your Brain:
1. Itʼs Easy.
Donating your brain is simple. It varies slightly between research institutions, but overall it involves filling out and submitting a donor registration form. Next of kin and your doctor should be kept in the loop so that they can make sure your brain is donated. Brain donation does not interfere with any traditional or religious funeral arrangements and will not delay or complicate your family’s plans for a funeral.
2. Itʼs Free!
Most, if not all programs will cover the cost of all procedures related to collecting or transporting the brain and its neuropathological analysis.
3. It Could Benefit Your Family and Friends.
Prior to use in research, all donated brains receive a comprehensive autopsy. If you have a neurological disease, your diagnosis is important for people with a hereditary association, like a child or grandchild at risk of developing the disorder. Even if you donʼt, relatives of afflicted individuals can serve a very important role for comparative studies by donating their brain tissue. All healthy subjects make an equally large contribution to anyone they may or may not know who is suffering from a neurological/psychiatric disorder.
4. You Certainly Donʼt Need It Anymore…
The contribution of a single brain can be used in as many as 50 different research studies on conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Schizophrenia, Autism, Parkinsonʼs Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, neurodevelopmental disorders and so many others.
5. Everybodyʼs Doing It!
This past February, 20 NFL Stars announced their plans to donate their brains to research in an effort to better understand the detrimental effects of head trauma in athletes. In Britain, a 2009 campaign to increase awareness about the desperate need for brain donation caused donations to double in quantity!
So, think about it….