Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm doing the right thing, right?

[Warning: there are some dissection pics in this post which may be unpleasant / revolting for some of you to look at. Or they may pique your interest at what lies beneath our largest organ...]

Exam week was probably the most mentally exhausting 4 days I've lived through, to date.

I'll just break it down. 

Day one, morning--2h long answer section. Questions ranging from anterograde and retrograde amnesia and why they occur following head injuries, to different types and causes of pleural effusions, to describing the association between tissue transglutaminase and celiac disease. Good times, oh, good times.

That afternoon--100 extended matching questions. I've already ranted about that so I'll just say, wow it felt like an anatomy spotter without the pictures. Weird. 

Day two: off. Which meant 'studying ass off for remaining two exams'. 

Day three: take 2 years of clinical sessions ranging from skills like 'taking an alcohol history' to 'abdominal examinations' to 'suturing' to 'IV cannulation' to 'breaking bad news' and create an OSCE of HELL involving 19 six minute stations complete with actor patients and physician examiners. You have one minute to prepare before each station where you are given a one-liner like, "Mrs. McDowell is here with her 20 month old to discuss developmental milestones" or "you are at the GP surgery and suddenly a man in the waiting room collapses".  

Overall I'd say the OSCE went well, aside from some major forgetting to take the respiratory rate in the respiratory exam, saying the phrase, 'do you have any more questions for me?' about 25 times during the double (12 minute) motivational interview for smoking cessation station!!!

Day four: Take 900 histology slides and approx 4000 anatomy slides and choose 50 spotter questions. 

Some examples:

If "A" was damaged during a surgical procedure which of the following  might occur?

a) Horner's Syndrome
b) paralysis of cricothyroid
c) paralysis of cricoaretynoid
d) paralysis of pharyngeal constrictor muscles
e) inability to adduct glottis
f) inability to abduct glottis
g) chylothorax

 [Buzz!!!! Next STATION!!!]

And so get the picture! 

By the time the spotter was over all I wanted to do was crawl into a sensory deprivation chamber and stay there for about a week. 

Instead, Tobie and I went and had Ayurvedic head and foot massages in this beautiful clinic outside of town. It was lovely, though I wish I could have afforded a head-to-toe treatment. While I was sitting there sipping dandelion tea in the dimly lit and beautifully scented room, listening to classical Indian music, I couldn't help but wonder why I chose to throw myself into a career where I will most likely be under the glare of bright lights, with the clamor of overhead pages and monitor alarms as my soundtrack.

My prayer for the day: please God, let all of this be worth it.


Answers (to anatomy related questions, not existential life ones) can be found in comments. 


Dr. G said...

Worst part is - you won't need 2/3 of this once you start clerkships :S

Hang in there, it'll be over before you know it.

NPO said...

Wow, I give you credit that is a lot to go through.
Curious, what are the right answers to the ones you showed?

Albinoblackbear said...

DrG: I know, the lack of applicable knowledge drives me crazy. I noticed that as well when I was in nursing school.

NPO: Sorry! Meant to do that!

The neck dissection answer is
g) chylothorax because the arrow is pointing to the thorasic duct.

In question 7, "A" is the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh which innervates the sensation to the lateral aspect of the upper thigh. So the answer is D.

Question 8, answer is A.

Question 22, 'A' is pointing to the thin descending loop of Henle so the answer is "E".

Question 23, 'B' is the vasa recta. Descending part water enters, ascending part salt enters. So answer is "E".

Anonymous said...

@ Dr. G - There might be an advantage to learning loads of stupid details, at least you feel like you *know* something. In the Netherlands we probably study only the useful 1/3 so reading this post makes me feel rather stupid...

Guesses for the questions:
Neck: It's probably not the n. laryngeus recurrens, is it?
7: I never knew there was a nerve there.
22/23: it looks like kidney tissue.

Should I be worried? :P

Anonymous said...

Jesus H Christ.

It's times like this that makes me glad I don't go to a real school, where they demand this sort of thing from me.

I echo Dr G above. When the clerking starts, you'll soon distill the BS from the useful stuff. Of course, then you realize how little of the useful stuff you know too :P

Congrats on finishing!

Anonymous said...

at least i got the anatomy ones right, pheee-ewww

and the loop of henle's in the kidney right?? (joke.. honestly...)

OMDG said...

Woohoo! I figured out the slide was of the kidney. Ok, it was from the answer choices you provided, but still, I was proud.

Aren't you glad it's over?

Heather said...

My prayer is your prayer and I'm not even at your education level, yet. Heh, after reading your post, though, I'm all "ooh! that's what that looks like - oh, that's a cadaver pic, too, neat! Gotta click back because - oh, look at that pharynx, cool! Oh, on this next one I think that over there might be a blood vessel, maybe? What is that ovaloid collection of cells?" I'm pretty sure I'm doomed.

Absentbabinski said...

ABB, yet again I am in awe of you. I'm not looking forward to my exams but I am safe in the knowledge that they are nothing as dramatic as yours!

Good choice on the massage to finish with, it sounds a lot more wholesome than the med student tradition of PRN EtOH until you can't feel feelings anymore!

PGYx said...

Your description of your final exams suggests you're better prepared for Step 1 than you think!

I'm extra-impressed that you did not immediately block out all exam content after what must have been a moderately traumatic experience.

Congratulations for making it through!