Thursday, April 19, 2007

Update on this Week

Monday - finished my application for the Dean's Summer Research Fellowship, did laundry.
Tuesday - watched as a classmate interviewed a patient with sarcoidosis in Foundations of Patient Care (FPC). the patient mentioned how she felt very isolated in the patient community by this rare disease, as though she were "in the chicken coop, and in the chicken family, but not exactly like every other chicken."
Wednesday - co-hosted a wednesday night dinner with 2 hosts and 12 guests (paella, banana cream pie from scratch, seared tuna/salmon with reduction sauce, virgin margaritas, apple spice cake from scratch, faux chicken, salad, mushrooms with avocado spread)
Thursday - completed a home visit for FPC with a wonderful elderly lady, took my first kickboxing class with my roommate at the UCSF gym
Studying has not yet begun for me, but Brain, Mind, and Behavior (BMB) started on Monday and it has been an intense ride ALREADY. My study habits are so ingrained in my behavior that I can't even bring myself to begin reading, I've become one of those ne'er-do-well kids in the back of the medical school bus. Actually, I think that I've always been in the back of the school bus.
However, someone joked to me that BMB is obviously coordinated by a group of men, because the competition is heating up. Now we have a daily "Case of the Day" at 8 a.m. sharp in the morning (we're technically not required to begin lecture until 8:10 a.m.) and we get to answer questions and email them to a special yahoo account until the 8 a.m. deadline the next day. Each case has a certain number of points assigned to it, and the student with the most points at the end of the course gets a T-shirt that says, "I am a HUGE NERD among nerds who likes to wake up early." Not really, the T-shirt says, "I won Case of the Day." But it means the same thing.
Another competition starting in BMB is to find typos or content errors in the BMB syllabus and have them posted on the online forum. The winner with the most corrections submitted will get a T-shirt that says, "I have OCD," and a dinner for two at a restaurant. If the class finds over 500 errors in the syllabus, the winner will receive a fancy dinner. If not, then the winner will get a meal at McDonald's, or something to that effect.
Even though I am not working too hard, I am getting anxious about being late in the morning, because D. Lo will stand at the door and give you disappointed/dirty looks and it makes me so scared! I respect D. Lo, and the incredible effort that he and his colleagues put into the course to make it phenomenal, so it's only fair that he ask for the same total dedication and fanaticism among his students. However, another part of me is also skeptical and wary of his mind games and unnecessarily complex competitions designed to whip us into an academic frenzy. That's just the paranoid conspiracy theorist in me.
Overall, however, BMB lectures have been AMAZING. On our first day of class, we witnessed an interview with a stroke patient and how he is physically was very powerful and moving. We have had TWO anatomy labs in TWO days. On the first day, we looked at brains in buckets. On the second day, we opened up the skull of our cadaver and removed the brain in sections. It was mind-blowing. Today, we had another patient interview with a psychiatric patient to described to us how her life unravelled when she began hearing voices and seeing faces and eyes. She described with perfect detail how this neutral voice would say "No" and hiss when she did something the voice did not approve of, and how it said "beautiful" on the rare occasions when she did something it did approve of. And she believed that her internal turmoil was responsible for external events in the real world, like tornados, and that if she moved the salt and pepper shakers a certain way, it would affect the state of the universe. This incredible insight into the experiences of this patient, who is now fairly recovered and living a normal life, was a precious opportunity. Everything in BMB leaves me speechless and astounded, because the human mind itself is so amazing.

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