Friday, November 28, 2008

Cool med words

Some cool words I have come across thus far. I like the sound of them, or the imagery they bring up when you imagine the word. A disclaimer: the meaning of some of these words are conditions or treatments that are not very cool at all, particularly if you have them.

In no particular order:

  • Radiation ablation therapy
  • Caput medusa (literally, the Head of Medusa)
  • Plethora
  • Blastocystis hominis... and all other words that have "blast" in it, like blastoma, blastocyst
  • Klebsiella (sounds like a nice name for a girl. Moraxella is not as cool-sounding, but reminds me of mozzarella cheese.)
  • All words that start with oo: oocyte, oophorectomy, oophorohysterectomy... and the most awesome of all: oosome. Oosome is just so awesome.
  • Succusian splash
  • Murphy's Kidney Punch (the name of a diagnostic physical examination technique... for some reason makes me think of some Irish pub brawl.)
  • Praecordial thump
  • Thyroid storm
  • Toxic megacolon

There were more on my mind when I was revising for my exams, but which has now left me.

Finally, I think the formidable Robbin's Textbook of Pathology deserves a special mention for its short but effective definition of dysentery: "Painful, explosive diarrhoea." The use of the word "explosive" cracks me up every time. Medicine is a production line of intellectuals with sarcastic (perhaps even cynical) dry wit, and this strange sense of humour often shows through in certain textbooks. One day I may create a small collection of some examples.

It's funny, I went shopping with some med friends the other day... and driving on the way to her house, I saw a big sign: Parkinson Learning Centre. Immediately I thought: "Parkinsonism..." At the shops, we were making comments like: "I really don't like this colour, reminds me of stearrhoea."

I guess you can take the person out of medicine but not medicine out of the person.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So you got into medicine...

Today, a good friend of mine told me he just received great news - he got into medicine! This kid, at the tender age of 17, already knows what he wants to do with his life. Since my exam finished last week, I've been reflecting on the Year that Was, and on my experiences in medicine thus far. Having received the news from my friend, I now have an excuse to blog about it.

At the end of last year, I looked back in reflection with rose-tinted glasses and thought it wasn't that bad. This year, I reflect on the year it's been... and there is no rose-tinting. How do I begin to describe the second year of the UQ MBBS degree? It has been a labour of love, but a labour nonetheless. I could compare it to one of the tasks of Hercules - or one of those fairytales where the hero has to pass through obstacles and behead many monsters. (It was like: it can't get any worse than this, right? And then it gets worse. Repeat repeatedly through two years.) The psychological torture that is the end of the year would make any Nazi (or horror movie film maker) proud. The end of year exam was a cruel gruel of irony, cooked up in the river Styx itself, a final insult to what sanity you may have left. You enter, armed with your notes from first year, and you come out the other side, battered and bruised and bleeding, encumbered with enough notes to endanger a rare rainforest, and having lost all memory of all that passed in between (except for the pain... oh the pain!)...

In spite of all that I said about the year that was, on reflection, I still find it hard to believe how blessed I am that I am here at all. What profession is there like medicine? Few other professions offer the same rewards, but require the same sacrifices. You may have to walk through mud and slime to get there, but it is a journey I wouldn't exchange for anything else short of rock stardom. (I mean, what other profession is like medicine? It is intellectually challenging, mentally fulfilling, financially rewarding, and socially exulted. You can find those things elsewhere, but not usually all of them in one job.) So, to the young adventuring soul braving the harsh extremes that is medicine, you made a good choice. Really.

Oh yeah, by the way, it's my 22nd birthday today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

What I am going to do soon

Today is Monday. 2nd year med exams finish next Wednesday. There is... about... 9 days left before I have total freedom (unless of course I fail the exam, but I'm not even regarding that right now). I've already thought of some of the things I will do when the holidays come around...

  • Sleep and sleep and sleep
  • Spend an entire day seated in front of the piano. I've wanted to do that for such a long time, but I can only last about 2 hours before guilt sets in and I go to study.
  • Fix up the spelling mistakes in the powerpoint slides with the lyrics of hymns for church. There are quite a few typos, and it's been bugging me for ages.
  • Buy a new pair of sunglasses. Go shopping and contribute to the betterment of our economy by burning some plastic.
  • Exercise the leftover caffeine out of my system. (Well... I don't really like exercise so that's probably not going to happen. But it's a nice thought.)
  • Watch the entire series of 三国演义 (Romance of the Three Kingdoms) again for possibly the 10th time. Cry like I always do when 子龙 crosses the enemy lines with the baby. Stop watching when 诸葛亮 dies cos after that it's just not worth watching anymore.
  • Get my hair cut.
  • Go check out Woop-woop, where I have been allocated to next year.
  • Work and try to save some money for Woop-woop. I'll probably spend most of my time doing this actually... sigh...
  • Blog.

Coming soon to this blog:

  • Some humorous (or just cool) words in medicine
  • Some thoughts on worship
  • Our School Of Medicine's spectacular mess of a clinical-schools-allocation-scheme... the result of which is that I've been sent to Woop-woop next year. More on this later.