Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Fear

It's really starting to set in.

Since we get our curriculum delivered via case-studies (PBL) and our exams are cumulative for years 1 and 2 that means I have to memorize/learn/understand/regurgitate 48 cases from the last year and a half for my exams. Which start in 8 days.

Each case has an anatomy component (these weekly mini-case studies we have to know around all the differentials, embryology, etc--usually about 20 slides), a histology component (usually about 30 slides), pharmacology, physiology, pathology, stats, and of course all the psycho-social stuff (which has yet to ever show up on an exam).

So I thought I'd get through all the cardiac cases today (as a treat to myself, since I like cardiac).

Yeah, I got through 2 cases. TWO. And I have cranked out a solid 10-11h of focused study. This is not good. I think I will have to abandon all plans for actually going through cases properly and go into a take-no-prisoners mode. I don't know what that last statement means but...first, I will have to start flying through the anatomy sheets...basically ignoring most of the details and skimming though the cases.

I really never thought I'd have to
know so much about the larynx...
next slide! 
Then I'll throw my eyes over each diagnosis in Medicine at a Glance (the book that every patient hopes their doctor never used in medical school). Burn through about 1300 histology slides. (Thank goodness that pink stain never starts to blur into one image after a while...)

Next I'll somehow read through the learning objectives from all a handful of the cases and hope to hell it's those ones that show up on the long answer. Not like last year where 10% of the written marks came from if you knew what a P-value was or not. Really glad I spent all that time memorizing, oh, everything but stats.

Wow. There were a lot of numbers in the preceding paragraphs. Am I perseverating on irrelevant details? Trying to somehow strategize how I can cram all of those numbers into the number "7" which is how many days I have left to study?

In other, more interesting, non-medical-school-meltdown news, I think I'm going to abandon my attempt to read 100 Years of Solitude unless someone from the blogoland can convince me that it's worth sticking with it. I am about 100 pages in now, and it just hasn't grabbed me. I thought I'd give Gabriel García Márquez another shot after Love in the Time of Cholera became an anvil in my backpack two years ago on my Himalayan trip (one of the few books I brought with me so I felt I had to keep reading it). 

The other reason I am feeling tempted is Freedom by Johnathan Franzen is sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read. Well, it was supposed to be for my Christmas break (but then, so was Into the Wild which I accidentally started reading and finished last week). I remember loving The Corrections so I have been wanting to get into Freedom ever since I saw it at the bookstore.

I just like staring at the cover and thinking "December 15th, late afternoon...sigh" I'll get my own little taste of freedom for a few sweet weeks.

Breaks over! Back to it...


Cartoon Characters said...

well....I'm exhaused just reading the above....

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! It can seem quite daunting, but (at the risk of sounding horribly cliche) you just have to push through it.

As for 100 Years of Solitude, I really liked it, but it's definitely not for everyone. I think it gets better as it goes on, but it definitely keeps the same style throughout. It's more of a slice of (fictional) history than a true story, so if that's not your thing, I'd just ballast it now.

doctorcalm said...

I tried to read 100 Years of Solitude four times. The first three times, I got to about page 100 and just couldn't push past. The fourth time, I read the whole book in like 2 weeks (I think this was during my 2nd or 3rd year of medical school) and I LOVED IT. So my vote is that if you want to put it down, put it down. It will always be there for you. You can always go back to it. And when you're ready for it, it will blow you away.

Whatever you do, don't start a new book in the next 7 days; I've made the mistake of picking up a totally engrossing book too close to a test...things didn't go so well. Good luck these next 7 days...stay strong!

Miss you, friend...

Phathead said...

I will never bitch about my classes again.


Grumpy, M.D. said...

I always found that, when you looked at the pile of shit you had to do/read/study, there was absolutely NO FUCKING WAY you were EVER going to get it all done.

And yet, when the dust settled after the test, somehow you had.

To this day I have no idea how.

OMDG said...

What Grumpy said. You'll be fine.

Albinoblackbear said...

CC-Thanks! =)

IANT--I know you're right, just feels good to complain sometimes! =) Yes..I'm still debating. I may shelve it and come back to it over Christmas break...I actually *love* historical fiction usually so...

CALM--Good to know, I feel like I am not giving it what it deserves. Reading at midnight, by headlamp, when I am exhausted probably is the reason I am not loving it.

Too late though on Freedom!! ahhhh!! Started it last night (slaps hand). Miss you too!! Can't WAIT to see you this spring (and to finally meet that hubby of yours!)

PH--It's all relative--bitch away! hahaha I would fail miserably in pharm so...

Grump/OMDG--Or at some point you accept that you won't (can't) know everything, but you will know enough to pass and become a good doctor someday. I know I am not the laziest or the hardest working person in my class, I won't get the best mark or the worst mark. So be it.

ertwro said...

Please, hundred years of solitude it's one of the best books I've read. I've even been in Aracataca (Macondo’s real name) here in Colombia...

Many people even Gabriel Garcia Marquez say it’s magic realism (fiction) but This is my argument: My grandmother’s parents were a couple of Belgium immigrants. By the time she was 16 she was pregnant. The parent of his child didn't take the responsibility and ran away. Being their Parents Catholics they found her a husband and forced her to marry him. A pawn. They thought it was the lesser of two evils.

My grandfather was extremely poor. An illegitimate child he worked for his and her mother's food since he was 5 years old. But even in extreme poverty my grandfather had two dreams in his life: the first was to own a farm he knew as a kid. So he did save milk from his dairy deliveries, grains, pennies, everything he could save and not starve. He bought it by the time he was 26. The second was to marry a beautiful woman, the daughter of his master. He was that pawn.

He was outstanding, being he an illiterate he was able to multiply by 6 digits mentally and being an illiterate he bought that farm not knowing it was mortgaged. He did resisted ruin and worked even harder but he lost everything he worked for all his life and was sentenced to jail. He ran away with his wife and kids to the capital city.

Here in this town my father worked like his father did since he was. One of my teachers at medschool recognized him, 40 years ago being 8 years old he did sold chicken cakes at the entrance of my university while he dreamed of one day when he could send his own children to that school where doctors saved him once when he was ran over by a car and almost lost his legs. As a medstudent my teacher always bought from him.

Every time my uncles and dad meet at a party they drink till they are drunk and tell stories about the hardships they went through as kids, while they laugh and cry at the same time.

I'm just 23 but I've seen so many things that I feel like I'm 73

This is a magic and violent land with unbelievable stories and hundred years of solitude is a pretty one.

Albinoblackbear said...

Ertwro--Wow, what an amazing family history you have (and an amazing family for that matter). You're lucky to get to know and hear those stories from your uncles and father. They must be unbelievably proud of you.

I am sure that 100 years is a very meaningful and beautiful story for some people....I've had those reactions to books in the past--some that just struck a chord in my being. I remember reading this book called "Consumption" and being completely swept back to my time working in the Arctic. It was almost unsettling how well the different characters and the land were portrayed.

There was a scene where a teacher from the south gets a food package sent to her of things you can't get in the Arctic. She's crying as she's going through the items (these sorts of things are such a huge treat when you're living up there). Initially I didn't even realise I was crying too, with remembering. I knew EXACTLY what was going on in that characters mind. I was there, right there.

To many people that scene would be weird or have little meaning but for me it kind of summed up a huge aspect of my Arctic experience in one paragraph. I am sure there are scenes in 100 years that are the same for you. I will definitely give it another go soon!