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    Monday, April 21, 2008

    I am a Mole

    There's a lot people don't know about medical school. I once tried to blog specifically about it, but two blogs and school took way to much time, and it had to go. I've determined I should post more about my experiences here.

    Medical students are moles. Yes, many of us are hairy and most of us have four appendages.

    Moles live below the surface of the earth. They have full lairs and networks of tunnels connecting one hole to another. They can pop their head up in one yard, only to dive down again and surface far away in another yard.

    Medical school forces even the most intelligent student to study. People tell you medical school is hard, but you never really get it until you're in the fire. Here at my school, we have exams every six to eight weeks. This produces a predictable pattern.

    The first week after an exam you can see medical students all over town. They go clubbing, out to movies, and date. They may even spend time with family. If married, a spouse may remember that he/she is married when the medical student walks in all of a sudden.

    "Oh you. Yeah, a couple years back, we did that thingie with the tuxedo and the white dress and church...you remember don't you?"

    The second week medical students get back to the grind. They start attending classes again, catch up on lectures missed by streaming them online, and go out only during the evenings or on weekends (and usually to do planned activities). This routine extends through weeks three and four, if you're on the six-week schedule, or three through five if you have the eight week version (I'm the latter).

    On the eight week course, things start to get serious in week six. Exams are coming up, and the medical student spends most of the day studying. You can find him or her at school or the library late into the evening. If lucky, you might pull him/her away for a couple hours on the weekend for a big event.

    The seventh week is when the mole fully enters his chambers. The exams are palpable, and stress is everywhere. Men lose hair and women go gray just standing near medical students. If you ask how they're doing, you're liable to get a stare saying "what do you think?" and a verbal "you know ... surviving..." Medical students this week don't exist. They move like wraiths through the house; you notice they're around only because books and piles of papers are moved and food is conspicuously missing from the fridge.

    The eighth week is exam week at my school. One exam a day. Medical students are ineligible to give blood during this week, as they have no blood -- pure coffee courses through their veins. For those whom caffeinated beverages aren't enough, there's caffeinated gum and amphetamines. This week medical students are nowhere to be found -- they get home long after you've gone to bed and arise before you wake up. You notice the sheets are rumpled, but that's about it. If you do run into one during the day, they'll probably mumble something about Tinel's sign, metacarpophalangeal joints, or lupus (the answer's always lupus).

    Friday night, after the last test, the mole pokes his head out of his hole again, and realizes there is life outside of medical school. Time to party; we've got more exams in eight weeks.

    1 comment:

    Sara said...

    The mole picture REALLY made me laugh :)

    Our ward is made up of about 70% medical students/residents/fellows and their families...needless to say, we have lots of moles, too.

    Oh! Was the lupus comment a "House" reference? Or maybe it's sarcoidosis? :P