Friday, May 05, 2006

Medical School

I love teaching.
I did a year of this while waiting to start work in the US years ago, teaching starry-eyed young medical students.
This month, I'm on a special attachment. Besides seeing my own patients at my clinics, I spend half-days at the medical school, teaching 1st year medical students basic endocrine physiology.
Interesting for a few reasons:
First year students are usually so idealistic that it's refreshing. And funny. They're still in the "Oh, I want to be a doctor to save all my patients, and still be home in time to take my wife out for a nice dinner."
You can almost see their feet levitate an inch above the ground when they speak like that. So energetic. So keen. So humanitarian. And so utterly foolish.
You almost hate to destroy that glimmer of enthusiasm in their eyes. You know that's going to happen, when you've been awake and on your feet for 30 hours straight, and are about to do a lumbar puncture with your trembling hands, while you patients curse or poop on you. If one doesn't get jaded from medical school, internship's bound to do it. That's usually when they start hating their moms/dads/grandaunts/girlfriends/Santa Claus for making them go into medicine.
It's also unnerving. They expect you to have all the answers, but they don't realize that you were there 10 years ago (at least for me; I started medschool April 1996). And now, when you're a bigshot fellow, a PGY-4, in a famous hospital, they look at you funny when you don't remember the mechanism for G protein-mediated signal transduction, or something clinically irrelevant like that. I get the feeling they think I'm retarded, or bought my medical degree for 5 bucks from Chow Kit or something like that. Like all that information would ever help a patient in the hospital.
"Quick, begin CPR. You, 1 mg of epinephrine stat. And you, the short guy, recite the f*cking Krebs cycle, NOW! Hurry up, the patient's dying!"
Strangely enough, I don't remember much from my first year. Just bits and pieces. It's almost like I have selective amnesia from a steamroller running over my brain, trying to force out whatever torture I had to endure back then.
Seeing them brings back all manners of memories.
I love teaching.


Blogger Greenapple said...

i have to agree with you. i hv seen all that in the eyes of tomato.

it indeed is a long journey, yet again, I believe everyone has no regrets, as it is also a fruitful journey.

2:07 PM  
Blogger A Fellow Traveler said...

hehehehe crap cycle, u mean....

enjoy ur classes... and good luck :)

4:31 AM  
Anonymous bilvo said...

hahaha...a truly inspiring post for me, especially that now i'm in my 1st year of med school. :)

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah! Big shot Fellow????

12:11 PM  
Blogger vagus said...

obviously, you couldn't tell my statement had a wee tinge of sarcarsm in it.

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