Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Final Countdown

The minutes are ticking away... the 11th hour approaches, a time for fear (shelf test!) and celebration (vacation!!).

Today I had my oral/written exam portion of the peds rotation, and tomorrow morning is the shelf test. Therefore, this entry will be short so I can get back to alternately freaking out and succumbing to complete apathy.

First, my take. Peds: I liked it. I actually liked it a whole lot. I can't see myself as a general outpatient pediatrician, but that doesn't surprise me, because I think that general outpatient anything would bore me beyond tears and into the realm of automatic weaponry. However, I could see loving inpatient peds or specialty peds (depending on the specialty). I'm not sure that I'll end up doing it, but it gets a big thumbs up in by book. The oral and written exam were not too bad, although I am somewhat (between a little and gosh-darn) irked that I missed a question about immunizations and I'm still not sure why; they even provided the immunization chart, I'm sure with the thought "Now even severely handicapped students can get this question right!". So really it's a mix of feeling like an idiot and feeling like a major idiot since I still don't understand why I got it wrong. But whatever.

As for the shelf, I am in the same place I always seem to be the night before these things. I want to care; I try to care; there are fleeting moments where I actually do mange to care; but mostly, no. I am tired, and tired, and oh yeah, tired, and I don't want to study this stuff any more. I want to take the test now and be done. (Or--better idea--not take the test at all.)

Sadly, as is so often the case with the MD/PhD program, there is no rest for the weary. I must trudge ahead and try to study... at least pretend to study... maybe pretend to try to study. I'm still trying to work that out. Okay... here I go... books out... where's my pen... okay...

Oh, hey! A Christmas Story is on!!

Happy Holidays everyone, and try to enjoy your vacation as much as I plan to, which is a lot.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Sludging is something I was just reading about, and it struck me that this is the perfect term to describe what is going on with the information I am currently attempting to cram into my brain.

In medicine, sludging refers to what happens when you have hyperviscosity syndrome--that is, your blood gets thick (usually from too many red blood cells) and forms "sludge" in vessels which supply your most vital organs: for some of us, the brain; for others, not so much. But it is essentially like what happens in sewer pipes when goo causes a back-up of unfathomable grossness right into your bathroom, only this happens inside your body.

Ew, indeed.

But, I was trying to find the words to describe my current knowledge of pediatrics, and sludging is the absolute perfect term. I read, and read, and read, and if I still have the ability to retain saliva in my mouth, I read some more. I listen to residents and attending as they hurl information at me like jai alai players on speed, and I try to pack it all into my poor brain, but what I have now is simply sludge.

Brain sludge is very dangerous, because not only is it useless, but it precludes adding new, non-sludge knowledge. It gums up the works. It's driving me mad.

And just to accentuate the horror, I must update my previous post and say that I was wrong about the FIVE cases. The actual required number--REQUIRED--is t-e-n. TEN. 10. X.

I have manged to finish ten, and I can promise you one thing: I am much dumber for it. On the bright side, I have even less pride. But not to worry: the sludge is slowly spreading through my brain and I have it on good authority that it will soon reach the part which retains the memories of the cases that I... hmm. I'm sorry. What was I saying?