Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The salvation army, complete psychotic episodes, cadavers, and other aspects of med school finals

Once again i should probably be either sleeping or studying, but I've studied practically until my face is turning purple, and going to sleep isn't as easy as it sounds. Once this ordeal is completely finished, I'll have a nice long pseudo-hibernation, much like that of a bear. (Bears don't experience technical hibernation, you probably know. Their core temperatures don't drop,and they wake from time to time during the winter months.)

This isn't exactly my first round of finals. Some of my classes last only half the quarter. I took the final exams for three of my classes weeks ago. I've completed "Cells to Tissues" (more interesting than it sounds,and more complex than one would expect an introductory course to be), "Molecular Foundations," and "Biochemistry."   Since biochem was one of my majors, it came the most easily to me, although medical school biochemistry doesn't begin to compare even to the graduate level biochemistry course, which I took.  Still, a really solid foundation is an asset when the real thing comes along.

Even though we've theoretically had "finals" earlier, and they were the last exams of those courses, they actually seemed more like midterms compared to now. The finals I'm now experiencing seem very much like the real thing.

Last week I took my independent practicum-like final on the "Standardized Patient" portion of my "Practice of Medicine" course. Because I feel that I nailed it, after the fact it seems almost as though it was fun, although I probably was sweating blood from every pore throughout the exam. The school brings in actors to simulate patients,and you have to deal with them. There's a limit to how far we need to go in diagnosing them, as we haven't gotten that heavily into the curriculum to be expected to know whether or not it's lupus. What we're graded on is our interpretation of the patient's vital stats, our ordering of the right initial tests, and our overall treatment of the patient. 

If nothing else, I learned that I could portray a patient reasonably convincingly and pick up a few quick bucks that way if med school ceased to be an option for me. With my medical history, I'd be a natural as a portrayer of a patient. Becca, you, too, would be great at this. Mrs. Ferrer, wife of Judge alex, would also probably be quite good at this, not that she's in dire need of earning whatever pittance itis that the university pays.  i suspect that most of the patients we treated were starving actors from either ACT or Berkeley Rep.

i've completed my :developmental biology" final as well as my "Practice of Medicine" final. Tomorrow is"Genetics."  I'm almost (but not quite) looking forward to that one because i found the course fascinating. Then there's one more on Thursday, and it's a wrap.

The more intelligent of my two semi-tormentors (I use the term "semi" because I never really let them get to me all that much0 cried during and after one final,and the less bright knockout of the two hasn't made it through any final yet without breaking down.  in the case of the former, I don't really know what it means. in the case of the latter, with my not particularly charitable nature, i'd love to think it could meanI'll soon be seeing the very last of her. I'm not lighting candles or rubbing the bellies of Buddha statues with the hope that she'll flunk out, but neither will I shed any tears if she does not make the cut.

Once this whole fiasco of a quarter is kaput, I'm going to take a nice long nap. Then "Rafael" and I are going out for a movie. On Friday, assuming it's not raining,  I'm traveling to SF and taking my violin and going either to Union Square or maybe to the SF side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I'll play Christmas songs and Irish jigs. I have not been able to play my violin nearly enough this quarter. If there's a Salvation Army bell ringer, I'll position myself near him or her. If not, I'll open my violin case and accept donations, and drop them into the nearest Salvation Army kettle I can find. Chances are that either people will contribute because of my music or will pay me to stop playing. 

Perhaps I'll even find the time to organize a flash mob of some sort.


  1. Hmmm... an Alexis style flash mob...

  2. Why can't you go to a movie if it's raining? If you put a flash mob together get it on video.
    P.S. Way to go on your finals!