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?

1 comment:

scaramouche said...

sludge and paediatrics... why that's my very own experience too, only 10 years ago, when I was a medical student in India. I'm a grad student now and empathize...being a medical student was easier in a way, as everything was structured and goals were pretty clear - pass or fail! I'm close to graduating too (hopefully May 2008). I'm enjoying your blog thoroughly! Best of luck!