Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The First Bender

Evening all!

Sorry again for not posting weekly, our fundamentals course is winding down and this past Monday we had our first double exam day. Both a written exam and our inaugural anatomy exam. So my life was a mess the week prior and that's my excuse, for the previous weeks, well I am very lazy in general.

First and foremost, I am ecstatic that people have left some feedback for me. More importantly, I am honored that you found this little slice of the world wide web and that you are actually asking questions of me. Marvelous! I only hope we gave our professors this much attention. Let me say my $0.02 and then I will address your questions.

The first post-anatomy exam party in medical school may be the single most bad ass and biggest bender of your life. Not going to lie, I was looking forward to last Monday at 2:30pm like the first Friday of freshman year back at college. All giddy and excited, I couldn't;t be happier leaving the anatomy lab that afternoon. What made it sweeter was the successful completion of the written exam earlier in the morning. I say successful as I finished it without my brain seizing up and me staring blankly at the clock for two hours. I do not know my grade yet and at this point could care less (I will care once I get my grade though!). At my school, in this fundamentals course, tests are usually administered every two weeks with a quiz in between. For this exam however, we had three weeks worth of material to cover. Just to give you some quick stats, the test was 100 questions representing 54 hours of lecture. That makes it about 1.2 questions/lecture. To give you a sampling of the topics covered: Anatomy-thorax and ventilation, mediastinum, heart, abdominal viscera of the foregut/midgut/hindgut with blood supply and innervation's, Histology- epithelium, connective tissue, bone and cartilage, bone formation, neural tissue (neurons and such), muscle, Molecular/Cell bio- organelles, bulk transport I and II, signal transduction I and II, clinical techniques (southern blot, PCR etc.), genetics (Dr. K would be proud of me there), Transcription/Translation, plus some radiology, 6 hours of epidemiology, doctor-patient relations and other goodies.

OK, I admit that wasn't a sampling. I'm not trying to scare anyone, just to illustrate a point about medical school. Medical school is a marathon, not a sprint. You are trying to drink from a fire hose, its important to know details, but in my opinion, much more important to understand the concepts.

After this fun exam, it was on to our first anatomy exam. Now supposedly, it's anatomy which separates the top 10% of the class from the rest, the men from the boys, the women from the girls. I find it extremely important because anatomy is the foundation of medicine. Remember, structure influences function, you must know how the body is put together to treat any malady. Our exam was forty (40) questions based on the back and thorax region. This incorporates the vertebrae, blood supply and innervation of all the muscles too. Again, a waterfall of information, but you can handle it, trust me. If I can do it, so can you. We spend exactly one minute on each question in the lab, then exit the lab and head straight to the bar.

I'm not advocating binge drinking here, it's true I have done some drinking, but never to the point of blacking out/vomiting, its just not fun when anyone gets to that point. I'd much rater drink maybe 4 beers amidst a company of friends and talk about anything beside school. Its much more fun that way. However, when you introduce alcohol to a bunch of med-students post test with no tolerance for alcohol, hilarity ensues. Details are a little fuzzy, but I've never laughed harder in my life. Good times had by mostly all. Proceed to facebook if you wish to see the photographic proof.

Reader Submitted questions:

With your OMM frustrations, are you happy to have gone to osteopathic school?
- I am very pleased with my choice of an Osteopathic medical school. I can't believe I am using this reference to explain it, but in one of the Harry Potter movies, the school advocates teaching theory behind magic instead of actually allowing the students to practice. I feel the same way. I've seen OMM done but qualified professionals and it looks like so much fun to lay your hands on someone (always in a professional manner) and treat a musculoskeletal problem without having to resort to the prescription pad. But these professionals have years of training underneath them, and I am starting out. You need to know the basics before you can practice. What's nice is that we are practicing along with learning the theory behind it. So we are developing or tactile senses. I guess I am just a little impatient.

Are you finding it hard to adjust to the rigors of school and the study schedule?
-Initially I was wary of my study habits. They were more fine tuned towards collegiate learning and not professional learning. The best way to gauge your studying skills is to see how you test on the subject material. If you can recall the information then you are doing just fine. Turns out my study habits are fine. If you want to look at my typical day:
Wake- 700am
Class/Lab- 8 or 9am till 5 pm
Home to eat/relax - 5-7pm
Library to study - 7-1030 or 11
Bed around midnight

My study habits are pretty run of the mill. Our school streams all the lectures for us. Every night I re stream that days lectures and copy what I deem important into that particular class's notebook. I don't know why I re-write everything, its time consuming but it helps me retain the information so I'll stick with it. Then I study my version of the notes for exams/quizzes and memorize what I see fit.

Did you interview at any other Doctor of Osteopathic schools? Can you comment on them? Do you like your school?
-I interviewed at both UNECOM and PCOM. I was accepted to UNECOM and waitlisted at PCOM. My first choice as PCOM overall but things just didn't work out as I had hoped. But I do feel I made a good decision to come to NYCOM. The students here are top notch, the faculty are amazing and I haven't heard anything bad about the clinical sites. I also was told by many doctors that NYCOM students are very well trained and really know their stuff. So I really have no regrets about my choice. UNECOM was very nice. It's setting is surreal and the cost of living in that area is minuscule compared to Nassau county on Long Island. The facilities are top of the line and although I couldn't see the anatomy lab, I can only speculate at its beauty. My main reason for not attending were the clinical rotations. I am currently interested in emergency medicine and I felt I could get a much better exposure in NYC than Maine. PCOM, in my opinion, is the best DO school in the country. The faculty are amazing there and their rotations are also spectacular. I pretty much judged every other DO school against PCOM. But I didn't get in, so how good could it possibly be! (i kid).

Keep the questions coming! I hope to tackle 1st year living in the near future. I hope this helped you who asked.

'til next time

Whoop Whoop


Monday, September 8, 2008

Dimming the Limelight

3 weeks in and life is tough...No shit right?

Its amazing the amount of material that can be crammed into one's head in three weeks. I know the heart like the posterior side of my hand and am not too back in the thorax either. Regardless, this place has a way of making the most mundane and ill-prepared students jump right into line with the rest of the medical community. I am one of those students. Sure I made my way to this place but I am no means an excellent student. Case and point, I'm writing this post in lecture right now. Before you judge, its an epidemiology lecture for 2 hours and 248 ppt slides. Why would I pay attention?

Now I must apologize to you, oh faithful readers, for I promised a new post each week. Well, three weeks in and I'm still trying to find a groove. I can lay out my study schedule for you but you may run for your lives as to how little of a life I lead. Its okay, I signed up for this after all.

My school is unique, for the first 8 weeks we undergo a class called Introduction to Osteopathic medicine. It's called fundamentals by us and its the worst 8 weeks of your life. You bounce around from biochem to global health not to mention stopping off at transcription and translation, anatomy/embryology and physiology. It's the most convoluted train of information one can undertake. But I am learning.

Anatomy lab is no picnic either, but the system here works and I have been blessed with a great group who in amongst ourselves are not gunners and just wish to learn, not sabotage others in hopes for a higher class rank. The coolest thing is that our cadaver has a tramp stamp, yes a tattoo on the lower back on the midline, and she is quite young. Its nice from a learning perspective as we can see the musculature very easily and there is little fat to strip away. The anatomy prof's are really low key and will go head over heels to help you if you ask.

OMM is kind of a toss up right now. I understand the theory behind it and really do not need it to be drilled in my head over and over again. I mean, seriously, we choose this curriculum in part due to OMM, why wouldn't we read up on that? One professor I'm sure is a pimp on weekends. The practicality and learning the techniques are of great interest to me and I really enjoy learning about them.

Lecture is lecture. Monday's we either have a quiz or a written exam. Then we go to lecture from 9-5. Very interesting indeed. I try to stay interested but some topics/presenters are so drole I cannot stay awake for the life of me. Lecture usually ends at 5 at which time I head home for dinner, then rush back to the library and study for about 4 more hours before hitting the sack and repeating the process all over again. Like I said, Paris Hilton has got nothing on me.

If you are looking a this blog as sort of a guide, that's great. I can only hope this helps to influence one opinion. Just for the record fella's, there are much more attractive girls in D.O. schools an M.D's.

Till Next time

Whoop Whoop Whoop